Monthly Archives: July 2005
Chris Anderson has amended his list of long tail business ideas. To his original categories of ‘producers’, ‘aggregators’ and ‘filters’, he has now added ‘toolmakers’ . Good to know that our company Bryght has a business model now! Chris, welcome to party!
Although there is no link to the actual report, the Guradian has a good article on how individuals who illegally download music, are in fact the biggest paying consumers of music.
Computer-literate music fans who illegally share tracks over the internet also spend four and a half times as much on digital music as those who do not, according to research published today.
This is not surprising, and goes along with my intuitive feelings. Now maybe record companies will stop suing their best customers!
Everyone always agrees that user feedback is a good thing, but in a “Ship the product!” kind of world, it’s often left by the way side. Not so for the Robot Co-op. 43 Things, as well as 43 places have user feedback features built right into the application in an intuitive and attractive way.
It seems to work too! On his blog, Josh points to user suggestions and ideas that have already been implemented.
The effects of this are quite neat. I feel a “collective ownership” over the application that I otherwise would not have. It makes it seem as though the Robot Co-op are simply custodians of the interesting world they have created, and the community has the power to make decisions and shape the application.
Who thought user feedback could be so fun? Groundbreaking stuff…
There are similarities between recommendation and search. Both offer up a smaller subset of relevant information from a much larger pool of total available information, determined by a set of criteria. In many cases, recommendation systems just rely on a different mechanism to determine search terms. Instead of the empty text box of the Google search page, a recommendation service might be initiated by your previous 10 Amazon purchases, or the last 50 tunes you’ve listened to in iTunes.
As the long tail continues to grow and consumers are faced with increasing choice (due to the effects of the infinite shelf space of online retailers), recommendation services, whether filters, aggregators, social networks or something entirely new, will play an increasing role in consumers behaviour. People will need help to find music, literature and styles that appeal to them.
But is Google a taste setter? Not really… Right now, google doesn’t do a very good job of helping me find music I might like, but they will. Chris Anderson talks about how a market will be created for reliable filters:
“So, in a Long Tail market, the brands that matter most are the tastemakers. These are the filters you trust, who point you to the niche (or mainstream) stuff you wouldn’t have found on your own. And because you trust them, you’re willing to follow their recommendations, voyaging down the tail with confidence. In the Long Tail, great filters become brands.”
What does this mean for record companies? Forget hyping the mega hits with shady back room dealings. The future record company will be adept at sifting and searching through limitless amounts of content, finding the perfect tune for you. So who will do this? BMG? Universal? I think I agree with Fool writer Rick Munarriz, who states in an interesting post:
“That’s why I believe that, years from now, the major labels won’t be the same batch of old-school vinyl pushers you see today. As ludicrous as it may seem, I think that the real power brokers in the music industry will be Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO), and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT).”
I love the new basecamp-ish look of the blinksale accounting program. As a freelancer, I am horrible at keeping my billing straight, and this online application looks like a fantastic solution. The invoices are sharp and stylish, the interface is filled with AJAX goodness, iCal and RSS integration; What’s not to like?!
It seems like there are now a number of web applications whose feature set and usability levels rival (and surpass) those of their desktop competitors. I actually prefer the Gmail interface to that of many desktop email clients, and from my brief look at blinksale, it seems to be easier to use then many desktop accounting programs. Exciting times for web development!
So I have tried to automate my billing with blinksale this month, and have been unsuccessful. There was no place for me to enter my GST number, or any other additional fields that I required. Maybe I have to upgrade to the non-free account to accomplish this, but at this point I have lost my enthusiasm. Sigh… Back to Excel templates.
I like the ‘popular’ link that shows you the trendy tunes that everyone is posting about, but it would be cool to display additional stats (like how many blogs are posting about each song). I would also like to see a breakdown of each song, followed by a list of who is talking about it.
But all in all, a cool idea!
The 2005 Vancouver Folk Festival was a success this last weekend. Beautiful scenery and sunny skies certainly helped. The highlights would be:
DrupalART has been recently launched. What are they about?
DrupalART is a site dedicated to helping people build and develop Drupal sites for artists and musicians. The goals are to show (through examples) various ways Drupal can be used to build artist websites, and build documentation aimed at newbies trying to use Drupal for their art or music website.
There is a good article in the Globe and Mail that describes how music companies are working with bloggers, as opposed to suing them. Finally, someone in the recording industry has realized that a sending a pack of hungry lawyers after trend setters is not the best idea, and that maybe if they gave them some product to review instead, things might work out better.
One thing I have been noticing is that people are becoming more immune to traditional advertising and marketing efforts. I think record companies will gradually realize that having an articulate fan with a website who passionately promotes an artist to their network of readers (who in turn do the same) can be superior to a million dollar advertising campaign.
I think this partly has to do with trust: people instinctively are skeptical of marketing produced by the organization itself. For example, I will seriously discount a glossy subway poster campaign for a new artist, if the posters are produced and put up by the artists’ record company. Contrast this with the ‘authenticity’ of hearing about a new artist through word of mouth from a friend (on a blog, or otherwise).
The other part is simply the nature of small world networks, and how online communities are wired to quickly spread ideas.
My only fear is that corporate interests might corrupt the authenticity of people’s voices. Will a blogger who gets free records give a better review?
I really like the concept of CC Mixter. The idea is that you can download an audio track, remix it, sample it (or otherwise mangle it), and then put it back up on the site so others can do the same. When adding a new track to CC Mixter, you can show what tracks have been sampled for the new tune. Staying in accordance with current trends, you can also tag a song, creating one massive tag cloud.
One thing that I think would be cool to add is a kind of ‘tree’ view to graphically illustrate where all the samples for a particular track come from. I think it would be neat to have an ajax-y/flash interface for the phylogenetic analysis of music on this site.
If you think CC Mixter is a good idea, why not grab the code and start your own! Although I think it should have been built on top of Drupal (of course), the code looks clean and well documented. It will be great when there are lots of these sites floating around serving different communities.