Friday, 19 December 2008

Ubetoo - Revenue share platform for unsigned artists.

I'm not sure I can keep up with all these great Swedish music startups. First Spotify, then Soundcloud (technically based in Berlin but populated with lots of Swedish expats), and now Ubetoo.

Ubetoo is a platform which allows unsigned artists to upload music and audio and receive up to 90% of ad revenue from commercials run alongside the content. Whilst YouTube does have a scheme similar to this, it is only open to a smattering of loyal and attention worthy content producers.

This also gets over the criticism of social networking sites exploiting artists for attention but not sharing their enormous ad revenue. At the EconMusic Digital Music Conference back in September, Billy Bragg singled out MySpace and Bebo as two of the most guilty parties.

In order to qualify for the 90% ad revenue share, content producers have to sign up to Stagepool, which is an audition and casting service based in Stockholm and Cologne. Last month the artist with the highest pay out was The Vetter Factory with 158, 23 euros. Not too shabby.

The site also includes a number of widgets to embed channels and content on other social networking sites. However, I'm not too sure these sites would be too happy at Ubetoo piggybacking them to derive significant significant ad revenue.

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Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Open Education

There was a great supplement in The Guardian yesterday, entitled Digital Student.

One article which particularly stood out was on Apple's Itunes U service, allowing for universities to upload lectures for free for users to download. This is something the likes of Stanford and Harvard have been down with for a while now but it was only a couple of months ago that Oxford and Cambridge got on the case too.

Services like Itunes U allow a unique marketing opportunity for globally recognized institutions to build brand equity by spreading their content to every corner of the globe.

Personally, I am a huge fan The Open University's OpenLearn facility. Over the last couple of months I've enrolled in a few maths modules to bring my numeracy skills up to scratch. The platform provides a plethora of subjects and modules for users to sign up to, totally free. It's fascinating to look at the other members enrolled in each module and see how their membership is made up from people mostly outside of the UK. I've also dipped my toe into an Introduction To Computer Science course at Harvard, which can be accessed here.

The future of education is clicks and mortar.

In the current financial climate it is logical to assume that tech investments will be made in startups that have some kind of social benefit. Channel 4's stake in School Of Everything is just one example of this.

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Habitat - The First Virtual World?

Great link forwarded to me from Ben Atkins. It seems futurism was alive and well in 1986.

For more information on Habitat point your browser

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Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Spotify Applications

As Spotify are doling out more and more invitations to people in my personal network I thought I'd write a little piece of the different applications that are currently available for the music service.

If any readers know of anymore please comment.

Spotify DJ
Brodcast Spotify DJ sets from your computer. Not sure how this one compares to

Scrobble the tracks you play on Spotify via Last.FM/Audioscrobbler

Share and search Spotify playlists.

Spotify Plugins
A work in progress API to create third party Spotify applications.

Playlist widget for Facebook, blogs etc. This appears to be down at the moment.

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Monday, 17 November 2008

Tack!Tack!Tack! in Sweden this Week

Three new club nights in Sweden and keynotes. The dates will encompass a series of lectures and concerts.

Tack!Tack!Tack! London UK's filter for Swedish music are celebrating their third anniversary by embarking on a tour of Sweden.


20 Nov 2008

T!T!T! DJs @ Rockcity, Hultsfred (SWE)

21 Nov 2008

Lacrosse + Hari and Aino) @ V-Dala Nation, Uppsala (SWE)

22 Nov 2008

HouseClap @ Debaser, Stockholm

DJ Sets at co-promoted club nights with a selection of T!T!T! booked live acts happen each night.


20 Nov 2008

Lecture 1 @ GYRO, Hultsfred

20 Nov 2008

T!T!T! Lecture 2 @ University, Hultsfred

21 Nov 2008

T!T!T! Lecture 3 @ Boomtown, Borlange

Lectures at Music Management Institutes GYRO in Hultsfred and BoomTown in Borlange happen by day

The keynote lectures will present a roadmap of the Swedish music ecosystem, alongside takeaways for how to leverage social media tools to reach an international audience of tastemakers and superfans.

In London? Come along to Christmas party in December when T!T!T! play...

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Monday, 20 October 2008

Does Fan Labour Exploit or Empower Internet Users?

Nancy Baym, author of Online Fandom and Communications Professor at the University of Kansas has published a new paper, entitled Fan Labor: Exploitation or Empowerment?, researching whether Web 2.0 exploits or empower fans.

The paper uses the Swedish independent music scene as a case study. I was priviliged, as one half of Tack!Tack!Tack!, to be one of those interviewed.

The paper can be read here

The article was picked up by Techdirt here last week, and by Nic Brisbourne's The Equity Kicker, amongst other online news sources.

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Tuesday, 7 October 2008

A big week for music based internet startups

This week both Spotify and Soundcloud come out of beta mode, and open up to the the public at large.

Spotify announced their launch last night with the following video.

Spotify – the story from Spotify on Vimeo.

SoundCloud is due to launch on friday. I may as well chuck in their video for good measure too

SoundCloud: The Tour from SoundCloud on Vimeo.

Without beating around the bush, both of these are killer applications (both serving very different needs) and point to the future of music websites acting as utilities, with a plethora of content stored centrally as opposed to being on a user's computer.

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Monday, 29 September 2008

Brent Hoberman And The Future Of Online Retail

Fantastic interview with Brent Hoberman in The Times today on the future of online retail.

Hoberman predicts the rise of APML (in everything but name), mass customisation and GPS based marketing promotions via SMS.

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Sunday, 28 September 2008

EconMusic - The Economics Of Digital Music 2008

The different panels during this conference were inadvertently but subtly tied together by “the long tail.” Whilst this wasn’t always referred to explicitly it is impossible to ignore this paradigm of the new economy. This is especially true of the music industry, in which the entire traditional value chain has been brought into question.

Whilst tools like MySpace can be a fantastic way to promote your music to a global audience with very little effort, the artists are not compensated fairly. This point was put across succinctly by Billy Bragg on the Social Media panel in which he berated MySpace for not sharing any of their £800 million per annum advertising revenue with the artists providing content on the site. There is the possibility that until recently MySpace individually viewed the collective content provided by artists as nothing more than fodder in order to attract eyeballs and ultimately provide audiences to advertisers. However, the recent launch of the MySpace Music point of sale platform should align the interests of MySpace and the artists to derive revenue from music sales. The service should prove to be mutually beneficial to labels and MySpace as all of the major labels hold equity in the new venture.

On the same panel Steve Purdham,(CEO,We7 voiced the difficulties between the royalty rates demanded by labels and the reality of revenues derived by his advertising supported streaming audio model. At present Purdham is paying out royalty rates to artists in excess of the revenues which the site is generating. He believes that regulatory changes and label demands will change in the near future to allow We7 to operate as a commercial going concern. Danny Rimer (Partner, Index Ventures) picked up on Purdham’s vision by comparing it to the forward thinking Spencer Hyman (COO, Last.FM), who was able to action a pioneering advertising supported model which has benefited other music related internet startups.

Whether the mobile phone companies are artist friendly is a bit sketchy. On the Mobile Music panel Tom Erskine (Head of Go-to-Market, Nokia Music) sang the praises of the much hyped, and soon to be launched, Nokia Comes With Music. Erskine was insistent that the service is going to be marketed as “premium not freemium.” However, if the service allows subscribers to download as much music as they want then surely this promotes the message of music being a commodity. With Sony Ericsson making noises about launching a similar service, it seems like that that this is one trend that is going to be around for sometime yet. Whilst such services will make music feel like free to consumers it is important to educate consumers through marketing that this isn’t the case.

The Direct-To-Fans panel revealed perhaps the most creative and artist friendly digital music business models. Services like Slicethepie and Sellaband harness the collective intelligence of their userbases to discover and fund unsigned artists. The interests of the artists, consumers and service providers are mutually aligned. Both services are essentially financing models but at the same time can help as being part of an online marketing campaign. The main pros for the artists is that they retain greater control over their recordings and are offered much more favourable terms than by going with a label. David Courtier-Dutton (CEO, Slicethepie) pointed out that the only reason to go with a major over such services would be to have access to their marketing muscle and huge advances.

In summary, the Econmusic Conference provided some lively and lucid debate but very much presented as industry still in transition. At present there appears to be a huge shift in power from the labels and artists into the hands of technology and media companies. The challenge is for artists and labels to monetise content from the plethora of services on offer, and to work in harmony with technology and media companies to create a pioneering new ecosystem where all stakeholders are fairly compensated.

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Thursday, 25 September 2008


After around six months of waiting, I've finally been sent an invitation to beta test Spotify

Numerous people within my network have been evangelizing about this for a while.

The service has only been in my life for just over twelve hours but I'm already convinced that at present it is the best consumer serving on demand streaming music service around.

Whilst similar products, like Songza, Seeqpod and Mixturtle, have been around for a while they sweep the internet for illegal content. Notably Seeqpod had a huge lawsuit brought against them by Warner earlier in the year. However, Spotify are trying to build a legitimate scaleable business so all of the content is licensed. On top of this the interface and execution of the site is clean and seamless, thus providing a superior service.

Providing they can steer clear of lawsuits and backwards thinking labels refusing to cooperate I'm pretty confident Spotify will become the market leader in on demand
streaming audio services.

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Thursday, 18 September 2008

Channel 4 and ITV could learn a thing or two from Joost

This month Joost announced that they will be launching a web based player to replace their download software client.

I'm amazed that Channel 4 and ITV still haven't got round to doing this. At present ITV's Catch Up service requires the user to download Microsoft Silverlight, whilst Channel 4's 4OD requires users to make a similar installation on their device.

As quite frankly I can't be bothered to do this I watch Channel 4 and ITV content on third-party streaming sites like OV Guide. The upshot of this is that Channel 4 and ITV are losing out on advertising revenue.

All these channels have to do is make it easy for the user. It's not rocket science.

You have to really give it up to the BBC for providing such a fantastic product in the IPlayer. They've set the bar high.

Time will tell whether the launch of Project Kangaroo will reveal whether the other terrestrial channels learn from their mistakes.

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Friday, 12 September 2008


Earlier in the year I was blown away by Martin Thornkivst from Digital Renaissance showing me the Flickr app for Nokia. The software lets you instantly upload photos taken on your phone to your Flickr account.

Lately I've been playing around with Qik. The software lets you stream live video to the internet. It's quite ingenious really, and takes citizen journalism to a whole new level. With this in mind, I'm not surprised that Reuters have stationed all of their journalists with Nokia N95s.

One of the things which is great about Qik is that at present there don't appear to be too many users of the software. The upshot of this is that there are a lot more viewers than content producers who use the site.

My latest footage is of London band Rogues playing their first gig, at Cross Kings in London. The gig was notable for quite a heavy A&R presence turning up, and with very little promotion the main video has garnered close to 500 views in less than 48 hours.

A shame the sound came out really badly but you can't have it all.

If you are on Qik and want to add me/view my channel it's based over at

Nokia's announcement of BBC I-Player functionality and its Comes With Music range suggest that Iphone may not reach critical mass for some time yet.

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Sunday, 7 September 2008

Ideas For Marketing eReaders (Iliad, Amazon Kindle, Sony eReader etc).

1. Bundle with classic content which has had its copyright expired, and is now in the public domain. I.e. The complete works of Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Aesop's Fables etc.

2. Bundle with credit to the same value of the cost of the eReader, and make this redeemable against content/catalogue.

3. Give away content for free, which is advertising supported. The classic media model.

4. Give away the eReader for free as part of a set price monthly contract. The monthly fee is used to purchase catalogue each month.

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Friday, 29 August 2008

Digital TV: 2012 The Big Switch Off?

When digital television launched in the UK in 1998, it was announced that the analogue signal would be switched off in 2012. Does anyone really care about the impending switch over other than those keen to make us of the available bandwith?

Time for a quick rant on the current state of television.

Right now the television industry is facing a number of woes. This is partly due to the impending recession effecting advertising revenue, and also down to Google increasingly cutting into the advertising budgets of media planners.

A few initiatives have been proposed to overcome this. One is that the BBC should extend their commercial assets. Armando Ianucci suggests that one way the Beeb can do this is through having an optional subscription channel to compete with the likes of HBO. On the other hand, it's being suggested that Channel 4 should get a slice of revenues raised from the licence fee to fund programming.

Then again you have to look at some of the backwards Hollywood Studios, and see how badly they are attempting to break online. If people can’t access content legally online, of course this is going to make them obtain it from illegal sources. Only time will tell if the likes of Hulu and Project Kangaroo will rectify this.

Comedy is one of the hardest genres of programming to launch due to new programmes not traditionally picking up ratings until near the end of the series. One way in which this is being combated is by comedies initially being launched online.

A very good example of this happens to be my cousin Hayden Black. He's received significant media coverage both online and offline for his Abigail's X Rated Teenage Diary and Goodnight Burbank.

To monetise content online you need to get creative. Whether that be sponsorship, product placement or innovative forms of advertising.

There have been a number of success stories of comedies originally being launched online and then being picked up upon by mainstream television. Off the top of my head I believe John Battelle cites an example of this in his excellent Search book.

Anyway, what I'm proposing with this post is that most television is utter tripe and that I'm really excited to see the continued relationship of television and internet develop, and watch the power being wrangled away from the traditional gatekeepers and into the hands of the masses.

The introduction of digital television in the late nineties was the start of traditional audiences becoming increasingly segmented across the media. I wouldn't be surprised if the advent of digital television was the start of what we now call long tail.

So the upshot is we don't have to be victim to watching utter tosh on only four channels. This tripe has rotted the brains of the masses for nigh on eighty years and we don't have to put up with it anymore. And yes, whilst the majority is user generated content out there isn’t great at least it’s democratic. If you dig deep enough sure there’s quality content th ere just waiting to be discovered.

With new tools like Seesmic and Qik, it seems we are only touching the tip of the iceberg.

Ironically enough, the BBC is actually very well placed to capitalise in a post digital age. They are perhaps the most trusted impartial content provider, and have huge resources to develop new products online. This didn't escape the attention of James Murdoch earlier in the year, when he criticised the BBC Iplayer for using up an astonishing amount of bandwith. Surely that's more of a concern for the ISP's?

On the other hand, the question of whether television in it's traditional format has become outdated is another concern. It's just so passive. Clay Shirky puts this point across very well in this blog posting. Ultimately television is passive and is that what people in a post internet age really want?

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Saturday, 23 August 2008

Google and China

This is a fascinating lecture from Kai-Fu Lee, president of Google Greater China.

The footage presents a fascinating insight why even in the digital age, China will continue to stand out as the token example of a country which is a particularly hard nut to crack for western media conglomerates.

Thanks to Gerd Leonhard, for digging the link.

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Friday, 22 August 2008

Hitting The Mainstream Media

The Purpose Of All Media managed to get two insertions today into Elisa Bray's Caught In The Net column, in The Independent. The column is a weekly roundup of internet and music tidbits.

The TPOAM alumini featured are Better Than The Van and Songkick

See article below.

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Tuesday, 19 August 2008

How Not To Write A Corporate Blog Part 2

It's been a while since I checked in to see how Columbia Records' blogging initiative is going.

When I last checked in March, Mike Columbia's blog had been updated for the first time in six months.

The most recent post displayed is from April so is starting to nudge towards that magical six month mark too.

However, somewhat bizarrely around fifty posts were simultaneously uploaded on March 23. Blimey. Are these people unaware that some of us have RSS readers and that we know exactly what's going on?

And whilst we're on the subject of failed IT projects if you'd care to wander on over to Scoutr, Angel Records' (subsiduary of EMI)demo/blog submission type page you'll be able to see that the artist garnering the most votes currently holds a mighty 18 votes. Not so much wisdom of the crowds, more wisdom of the few and far between.

Who makes the decisions on actioning these projects? I'm not pointing the finger of blame at the bloggers. Ultimately, you can't force someone to blog but companies should make sure staff are fully committed before agreeing to do so.

Thank G-d for the likes of Hype Machine and SoundCloud.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Interview With Tweet Tweet

I chased up Kevin O'Neill, one of the founders of Twitter powered club night Tweet Tweet, with some questions. Here's what he had to say

How long have you been on Twitter?

Since October last year, but the other Tweet in Tweet Tweet, Alex, has been on there since it's inception pretty much.

Explain the concept of Tweet Tweet in no more than 20 words.

Live requesting, live archiving, the potential for a fully documented club experience.

What gave you the idea to start Tweet Tweet?

Me and Alex had wanted to put on a night for a while, and while we knew what music we'd play (heavily focused on making people dance), we didn't have an identity for the club. We were playing around with some ideas for names, and were having conversations across Twitter about our plans one day. Because we were communicating with tweets, the name Tweet Tweet suddenly emerged, and it started opening up possibilities like making requests via Twitter, and archiving the playlists. Twitter basically gave us the framework, and it's been fun to play around with it, and see how people might engage with it. One of our geekiest ideas was to give every night (we want to run monthly) a subtitle that was 140 characters exactly, i.e. a twoosh. We moderated that impulse!

What technology will you be using to tweet the playlist on the night?

If I get my Twitter SMS service fixed in time, simply my mobile phone! If not, we'll be using Alex's iPhone.

How will users be able to Tweet requests on the night? Are you confident that the venue you use will enable a network signal to clubbers?

Twitter killing the UK SMS updates has been a bit frustrating, as I won't be able to receive requests on my phone now. If club-goers Twitter @tweettweetclub on the night, we'll get the request from Alex's iPhone, but having the dedicated SMSs coming straight to my phone was a nice idea. People can make requests before the night too, but obviously it'd be more fun if we got it going on the night. In terms of reception, the venue is called The Bunker, a bit worryingly, but I've had phone reception in there before, so we should be fine. We've not planned it amazingly well, to be honest, but it should all work out!

Would you be prepared to surrender the entire playlist to your audience?

This is our intention, yes! Partly because we're addicted to documentation, but also it makes an excellent way for people to gauge what our music is like. So many club night flyers (ours included!) have endless lists of bands and you can never be sure until you get to the night what the music will be like, how the DJs create the texture of the night by the combinations they put together, if you're always going to have a half-hour dubstep or Northern Soul sequence, that kind of thing. With the Tweet Tweet Twitter feed, people can check out what we *actually* play, and that kind of complete upfront honesty seems really neat.

Where do you see Tweet Tweet one year from now?

Ha, if we're still running a year from now hopefully I'll have got a free iPhone out of it somehow!

At present Twitter is yet to break out from the tech community and reach a wider audience. How do you plan on engaging with music fans who are not on Twitter or unaware of what it is?

Maybe Tweet Tweet will break down these walls! The feedback we've got so far has mostly been about our music policy, and the bands we want to play. A handful of people have got interested because of the Twitter theme, and that's been awesome, satisfies our inner geeks. Everyone else either hasn't heard of Twitter, or doesn't understand why Facebook status updates aren't enough for us. We've no idea how the club will go, but Twitter is a great service and we want to play with it, test what it can do, what it's possible to use it for. It's exciting, isn't it?!

What do you think about Twitter stopping UK SMS updates?

It's a bit sad, as I mentioned earlier! It means anyone wanting to check how the club is going on the night has to be using web-based services on their phone. There was a beautiful simplicity about the SMS service, but maybe it'll come back in a different form for a future Tweet Tweet. I completely understand why Twitter have had to pull the service, and hope they find a way to get their revenue sorted. Maybe satellite Tweet Tweet clubs worldwide could contribute to a Twitter Emergency Fund!

Friday, 15 August 2008

Tim Ferris and Terry Sivers interview

Excellent interview between Tim Ferris (author of Four Hour Workweek) and Terry Sivers (founder of outsourcing, micro-testing, and PR from the point of view of creatives.

This was first published on Tim's lifestyle blog

EconMusic Conference (London)

I'm pleased to have been invited to blog at the forthcoming EconMusic Conference in London on 23 September.

The event is a half day conference focusing on the key strategic issues around the economics of digital music.

Speakers at the event are as follows:

Billy Bragg

David Courtier-Dutton
CEO, Slicethepie

Ben Drury
CEO, 7Digital

Tom Erskine
Head of Go To Market, Nokia Music

Ian Henderson
VP Digital Business EMEA, Sony BMG

David Hyman
CEO, Mog

Mark Mulligan
VP & Research Director, JupiterResearch

Erik Nielsen
Managing Director, Intact Records / Racket Records

Will Page
Executive Research Director, MCPS-PRS

Martin Stiksel

Johan Vosmeijer
Managing Director, SellaBand

Full details on the event can be found here

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Tweet Tweet - The World's First Twitter-Driven Club

How's this for the long tail?

Tweet Tweet is a new club night based in Deptford, London, which is priding itself on being the first Twitter driven club night.

The playlist is tweet-ed in real time. Their first ever night takes place August 29. Full details here

I suppose a similar Last.FM scrobbling type club night could also exist. The BBC incorporated scrobbling on all of their radio shows earlier in the year. In fact I believe some clubs may already scrobble all of their content? Can someone enlighten me on this?

Anyway to sum up, props to Tweet Tweet for coming up with the concept behind the night. This is a great example of serving a niche, and what Seth Godin would refer to as a Purple Cow.

Whether or not the night will prove to be anything more than a novelty proves to be seen but I expect them to receive a fair amount of media/blog coverage off the back of the unique concept.

Back in 2004 I briefly put on a night called OurSpace to tap into the MySpace phenomenon, at the Luminaire in London. However, I cancelled the night in fear of Murdoch's lawyers moving in.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

The end of control and lifehacking.

Apologies for the lack of updates.

Very busy at this end doing some training in digital marketing with E-Consultancy and applying for jobs.

Here are a couple of highly recommended lectures, both filmed at Google HQ.

The first is from Gerd Leonhard, author of Media Futurist one of my favourite blogs on the fragmentation of the media. This lecture is informed by his forthcoming book, The End Of Control.

This lecture is by David Allen, on his Getting Things Done principle. This is one of the most influential productivity frameworks around at the moment. If you care to cast your eye on any of the numerous lifehacking sites and blogs you'll see Allen's name constantly cropping up. Since taking on a few of the GTD principles and related web apps I feel a lot more productive, even with an increasing amount of tasks to action and complete.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Media Literacy

Fantastic lecture by Michael Wetsch on how education should incorporate learning through Web 2.0 tools

Thursday, 24 July 2008

More on the Cloud.

Following up on my last post here are some more links to Cloud Computing in the news.

It seems that the view on whether this is the next big thing is a bit of a mixed bag.

Rough Type: Nicholas Carr's Blog: The cloud's not-so-silver lining

Cloud Computing: Hype vs. Reality - Network World

Rough Microsoft after Gates | After Bill | Network World

Cloud Computing Promise & Reality | AlwaysOn

Also, if you have a spare few minutes take part in this survey for MixcloudThe survey is basically for anyone who listens to music online. And if you're a DJ or create podcasts you can fill out this one too

From what I can work out the service is a bit similar to SoundCloud but is more based around DJ mixes. The site is founded by Nikhil Shah, who previously was part of the Songkick gang.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008


SoundCloud is a platform for music professionals enabling them to send and receive music.

Where it differs from the likes of more established players like Rapidshare, Zshare, Sharebee etc. is that rather than acting as an FTP it allows users to have a music inbox, from which they can stream or download directly.

One of the pretty nifty collbaroation features is the option to leave a "timed comment" at a specific point in a track to give feedback to the creator. This creates enormous potential for people to make music together globally or to just get some handy A&R feedback.

One of my favourite music blogs Discobelle is currently accepting submissions with their SoundCloud drop box. Again, this brings to mind that SoundCloud is also a great way for music bloggers to accept submissions and manage content before posting.

The site is currently in private beta mode but I have ten invites to give away. Leave a comment or drop me an email ( ) to get one.

Friday, 11 July 2008 The Movie

Over the last few months I've been doing quite a lot of reading up on the .com bust. Probably the most high profile victim of the fallout was fashion retailer, which got through something ridiculous like $150 million in six months. That's some burn rate.

Can you really blame the founders for living it up like rockstars when artless VC's were throwing silly money around?

Watch this commerorative video of the the company prior to launch. They had no idea of the rollercoaster set of events which was to occur subsequently.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Better Than The Van

I just got an email from Todd of Drummer Hunter

The site, which enables drummers to find bands and vice versa made a bit of a splash earlier in the year getting in the likes of Wired, The Independent, NME etc.

Todd's just launched another new site which helps touring bands find somewhere to stay by putting them in touch with people who will put them up on tour.

Check out Better Than The Van here

Monday, 7 July 2008

Perspectives On New Media And Health

It is with some excitement (and trepidation) that I can announce I have been asked to speak at the Perspectives On New Media And Health workshop.

The event takes place at The Internet Center at Imperial College William Penney Laboratory, South Kensington Campus.

Some peeps from Disney (who recently launched Bernt Weisman (R&D Director from Vodafone, and my good friend Paul Nelsom ( will be speaking amonst others.

Monday, 30 June 2008

Free Yourself From Your Inbox

I was inspired to link this entry from the NY Times due to taking the lead from Tim Ferris (author of Four Hour Workweek) to make an attempt to rely a lot less on email.

Email as a communication tool is broken. Whilst services like Xobni help make Outlook more userable and interactive it is inevitable that we are now communicating and retrieving more and more information with social networks, wikis, RSS feeds, and emerging technologies like Twitter and Haiku.

I think these tools will really help leverage the potential of cloud computing, empower the mobile worker and the future of the workplace, as physical location becomes more and more irrelevant

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Shameless self promotion...

is what the blogosphere is all about right?! Tack!Tack!Tack! will be djing at this year's Lovebox Weekender festival on the Last.FM stage.

Friday, 13 June 2008

Surveillance Society

In the 21st Century, the more actions we do which are logged and digitized as data, the greater the potential for our behaviour to be tracked.

My belief is that it is fine for companies to do this to consumers if we are getting something equal or of value back in return. However, quite how you quantify a fair exchange is somewhat harder to muster. Increasingly it seems the way of Web 2.0 is to offer data in return for a service. At this rate we're going back to the bartering system.

Read the Home Affair's latest Surveillance report here

Shoutouts for Tesco and Phorm.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Subscription based music services

This is an interesting model. Currently two such based services areSrvice Records Co-Op and Marit Bergman's direct subscription service.

This is a great way to hook in micro tastemakers. I.e. long tail djs and bloggers who want to get their hands on the freshest content.

Whilst a shade unethical, there is potential for music bloggers to post exclusive subscription only tracks and generate enough money from advertising to cover the cost of the subscription.

The subscription based model in all likelihood will be hard to scale but is a good way of monetising attention from a small but fervent fanbase.

In other (sort of related) news, this weekend I was lucky enough to be shown a demonstration of Spotify Spotify is an on-demand streaming audio service and right now is just about the slickest thing out there. Cloud computing is the way ahead. Currently its only in beta mode and limited to just 1000 testers. It was first brought to my attention by Martin Thornkvist of Digital Renaissance and Nic Brisbourne of The Equity Kicker Props to Henrik from Physical Interaction Lab for the demo.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Feedburner to incorporate ads into RSS feeds

This was always going to happen. It's just a bit frustarting that the powers that be haven't waited to introduced this until RSS reaches a critical mass. Hitting the consumer with yet more advertising, is hardly going to entice non Generation Y users (basically anyone over 30)to adopt the technology.

Feedburner have just announced they will be inserting ads into feeds. In the main these will be incorporated through Adwords and AdSense. Kind of nifty no doubt, but as an RSS user it's gonna make the experience a bit more cumbersome as the process of keeping on top of feeds is time consuming enough as it is. (click)

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Lifestreaming / Data Portability

Following on from my last post, here's a posting from The Financial Times today on lifestreaming There are shoutouts to Twitter and FriendFeed.

Following on from what Gerd Leonhard said at the Chinwag meet, this really opens questions up to who owns user generated data. Data portability seems to be a pretty hot topic write now. The best way to keep control of this at present seems to be control the data flow across a number of networks. It's just a shame Google's FriendConnect doesn't support Facebook's data.

Monday, 26 May 2008

Micro Media

This weekend I decided to pull my finger out and have another go at setting up my Friend Feed account. I initially tried this a couple of months ago but somehow my Twitter account got hacked in the process, and I had to start over.

So after having another bash today I synched my Last.FM, Twitter, and (newly opened) Flickr account. My new mobile phone is setup, so that as soon as I take a photo it gets published to Flickr. I've now got a feed comprising of all of these different sources coming through on my Facebook feed.

In turn, I've also synched my Twitter application on Facebook to integrate my Tweets as Facebook status updates.

All in all, I've now got my very own micro media channel, narrowcasting to around 500 people per day. Hell, at this rate I may even start taking advertising space, and make every tenth Tweet an advert for Reebok.

I decided to take these drastic steps after attending Chinwag's Micro Media debate in London last week. It was a bit pricey but there was complimentary finger good and a free bar, which did provide some sort of salvation. Read about it here (click)

Monday, 19 May 2008

How To Crack Hype Machine Part 2

I've been in Brighton for a few days at The Great Escape. I was hoping to upload an interview with Anthony Volodkin, founder of Hype Machine. However, my sound recorder died.

Anyway here's the spiel on how to crack Hype Machine.

This is ideally suited to artists within the "dance" genre.

1. Research the most blogged tracks on Hype Machine.
-Do this by click on the "Popular" tag, or ideally subscribing to the RSS feed directly. Some scant information on the most blogged artists is also featured on the front page.
Find a buzz track by a buzz band that hasn't been remixed yet.

2. Manipulate/remix the track by using music software like Garage Band.
-It doesn't matter if you have no musical ability whatsoever. Just play around. Supply and demand will ensure your remix gains traction through its scarcity.

3. Retitle your remix to make sure it has the name of you or the artist you are representing. Do this with the meta data too. This will help the track gain some "Google juice," and become more visible overall on search engines.

4. Use the Hype Machine to search for bloggers who posted the original version of the track.
-Email them directly with your new mix.

5. Sit back and wait for your "masterpiece" to race into the Hype Machine chart.

I tried this a couple of weeks ago with the "Nikolai Levey's Floating In Space Remix" of the new Coldplay song. Around three bloggers posted the track, it got a lot of comments and peaked in the Hype Machine chart at number 37.

It would have got a lot higher had it been any good but my friend John (who has no musical ability whatsoever) knocked it together in around three minutes. Props to my man over in NYC, David Rothblatt, for helping spread the word too.

This isn't rock science. I predict that in a very short period of time Hype Machine will be filled with a lot of unofficial remixes of varying quality.

Monday, 12 May 2008

How to crack Hype Machine

No time to write about this in depth right now so I will give a full account later.

I'm gonna show the world how to do what every music PR, marketeer and musician wants to do. How to crack the Hype Machine chart in 5 easy steps..

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Online Stealth Marketing

This will be impossible to enforce. (click)

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Advertising vs. Content: It's all getting a bit blurry

In the digital age, when everyone wants a free lunch it is inevitable that people are looking at advertising-supported business models to create revenue. In turn, it is common sense to assume that information we put out about ourselves online will result in more targetted advertising, and thus provide a better return on investment for the advertiser.

What is now hapenning is that the lines between advertising and content are increasingly becoming blurred.

Bacardi is in the process of signing up a number of artists to promote and market their music, but giving them full control over their recordings. Notable signings include Groove Armada and Beardyman. Read Cliff Jone's article about it in the Sunday Times here

In turn, Sir Martin Sorrell is pushing WPP to work more closely with television and movie production companies. click

In all likelihood all this is likely to cause outcry due to confusion over what is content and what is advertising. However, in a fast growing peer-production society this is one way for "professional" content producers to get one over on the "amateurs," and retain a competitive advantage.

The concept of "advertorial" isn't new at all. The term soap opera derived from an advertising campaign for washing powder presented in the form of a narrative. And this is what all advertisers aspire to do, to place their product in the context of their target audience's everyday life.

It's all about the narrative. If you want to win be a storyteller.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

RIP The Shared Experience. Long Live The Shared Conversation.

One thing which the fragmentation of the media has done is kill the shared experience.

I'll cite the example of television. How often do you watch television with your entire family? Exactly.

Due to audience segmentation, watercooler moments in society still exist but they are in decline. The only time the viewing figures for television in the UK will hit 20 million plus is if there is a tragedy a la Princess Diana dying or a huge national sporting triumph like England reaching the world cup final.

Instead the notion of sharing continues to exist through conversations. This struck me today on Facebook with the number of friends updating their status updates with comments about the London mayoral elections. But what I just don't get is something like this would transfer so much better on Twitter, where it is possible to follow conversations with a common theme. One of the best applications for doing this is with Quotably That's just one to get you started with. As Twitter has opened up their API there are oodles of other amazing apps.

If you're watching next month's European Cup Final between Chelsea and Manchester United you can now have some friendly banter from your couch with
supportser of both your team and opposition.

Sunday, 27 April 2008

World Internet Stats

I've been a bit cheeky by nicking this from Gerd Leonhard on the brilliant

What is fascinating about these stats is how much of the pie is taken up by Asia. I guess this isn't surprising if you consider countries like South Korea and Japan are the most technologically advanced in the world, and have the greatest broadband penetration and concentration of fibre optics. These countries also love accessing their web on their mobile, and I believe they use this device to get online more than their mainframe PCs and laptops.

I have a great book called Digital Korea (by Tom T Ahonen & Jim O'Reilly) which is about how the convergence of broadband itnernet, digital TV, 3G Cell Phones etc etc results in South Korea being the most technologically advanced country in the world. But like the rest of the ever increasing pile on my windowsill, it is just going to have get read once I finish my impending Masters degree.

Saturday, 26 April 2008

When will the man in the street use RSS feeds?

Interesting post on Mashable about Microsoft incorpoarting new feeds into Microsoft Live News Search, but of more interest is Adam Ostrow's comments on how there still seems to be a huge mental barrier stopping the man in the street from using RSS feeds.

Personally, I just can't get over this as they are so easy to use, with most web browsers already having an easy to use tab incorporated into the menu.

So what is going be the tipping point for this technology reaching a critical mass? It's not a matter of if but more when.

When this does eventually happen it will be of benefit to both consumer and marketer, saving the former a lot of time and enabling the latter to reach target audiences more effectively.


Wednesday, 23 April 2008

The Facebook Insiders Guide To Viral Marketing

Last week Facebook sent out a message to the 5000 or so members of the "Facebook Pages" Page on the site, offering them a 30 page guide to creating successful viral campaigns by utilising Facebook's Pages facility.

Whilst it's a genius (and postmodern viral in itself, aiming to generate more money from Facebooks Ads its a handy document if you incorporate the Page facility to promote something on Facebook.


Monday, 21 April 2008

Record labels: jump on the Muxtape bandwagon

Muxtape has been gainging some serious traction of late on the likes of Delicious and Digg.

The site allows you to create a page and upload an MP3 compilation which other users can then stream in realtime. And if the future is to believed, shared playlists are apparently the next big thing.

A tip for record labels is to incorporate a Muxtape compilation into online their marketing strategy. At present I've only seen one record label do this with an out of print album so its currently quite a novel thing to do AND allows you to get down with the kids.



just made a Muxtape. Will be using to showcase some lost gems and stuff from up and coming and unsigned bands

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Monday, 14 April 2008

Lack Of RSS Feeds

From doing a bit of web browsing its amazing to find how many businesses incorporate blogging software into updating the news section of their website but don't have any RSS feeds. If you are reading this and are one of the guilty parties, sort it out in order to extend your potential online market reach.

This post is sort of a follow up to a posting earlier in the year about how The Times website is not RSS enabled.

Interview with Sheryl Sandberg - Facebook's Chief Operating Officer


Thursday, 10 April 2008

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Digital Renaissance

This new blog is run by the heads of two of the best independent labels in Sweden (Songs I Wish and Hybris) alongside Daniel Johansson of Musiclink.

Anyone interested in how digital media will effect the future of music consumption should click here

Sunday, 6 April 2008

A new marketing strategy for the publishing industry

Narrate your entire book as a podcast and offer as a free download.