by Alex Horowitz
As is the custom these days in Brooklyn, last night the best and brightest minds in music tech gathered in Brooklyn’s historic Knitting Factory venue to show off what they’ve been working on to an ever-growing audience of music tech enthusiasts. Here’s the rundown of what was on display yesterday at the NY Music Tech Meetup:
Official.fm joins the crowded space of “websites trying to offer artist management solutions,” and what’s more, they know all too well just how crowded it is. Featuring every tool you’d expect and a slick interface you’ll quickly learn to love, Official.fm made it clear that they know just how crowded their target space is, and their plan is to simply be better than the competition. While it’s tough to say if you’d bother ditching your current artist management platform for Official.fm, what is clear is aside from personal preference, you’d have no reason to regret it if you did. With especially tight SoundCloud and YouTube integration, embeddable widgets for your website, and new features promised to be on the way, Official.fm’s demo was as solid as you could ask for. So what do you think, would you make the jump from your current artist management suite for Official.fm? Give it a spin and let us know what you think in the comments.
Fresh off her multi-year stint serving 7Digital in England, last night’s presenter for digital media delivery company 7Digital breezed past the basics of buying music (accurately noting such talk was beneath the digital IQ of the room) and focused on what 7Digital believes makes them stand out most — a unique and robust API, and the “most exciting” part — their tight integration with big name partners. Keep an eye out for 7Digital and its newest New York team members to put together some pretty exciting partnerships moving forward.
Sound Central Station
Once upon a time, people bought records. Those records had something called liner notes — remember them? They were in CDs, too (you know, CDs — those round things from the 90’s just before MP3’s changed everything?) With the rise of digital music has come the decline of liner notes, and that presents a problem — the hard working men and women who once relied on liner notes as evidence of their work have, in a sense, lost their resumes. In an industry where your resume is everything, Sound Central Station thinks that’s unacceptable. Touted as the IMDb for the music industry, Sound Central Station is building a database giving credit to everyone for the music they worked on. Just like IMDB allows every sound tech on every movie to ensure their contributions are recorded accurately and prominently displayed for future employers to see, Sound Central Station has begun to build out a similar model for the music industry. With an emphasis on self-curation to avoid being connected to work that perhaps you would rather forget, no information is being pulled into the database unless you put it there, so be sure to keep an eye on SCS lest it become the IMDb for the music industry with your name left off.
Perhaps the most simple demo of the night, Card Included answers the immortal question, what can I give fans so they’ll definitely check out my music? For $0.01 per 20MB of music uploaded to their site, users can head to Card Included to upload some songs, include social links, and all-in-all create a nifty little splash page that bands can then direct users to via a little piece of paper with a custom URL the artist can print out. Each recipient of your piece of paper gets two downloads per track hosted on the splash site (the idea being they might mess up the first time, but you don’t want people getting unlimited downloads of your music — just a taste.) Not a bad solution for some simple (and relatively inexpensive) swag for your next show.
As a huge mobile app nerd, the DJ Mixer might have been the most fun I had all night. Touted as a legitimate turntable for the ipad-sporting DJ, the DJ Mixer app did not disappoint when it was time to demo. I had the privilege of peering over the presenter’s shoulder as he queued up the app on his iPad and projected it on the wall — two turntables and a full arsenal of effects and options allowed for a deep DJing experience and superior sound all from the iPad. In fact, artist DJ Spooky (real name Paul D. Miller) uses a custom version of DJ Mixer to DJ parties, often projecting the iPad screen on the wall so people can watch him use the app in a way normal DJ tables wouldn’t easily let you. One audience member (as far as I know not placed there by the brand) attested to DJ Mixer being the only DJ iPad app that wouldn’t crash, making it the most dependable for real party situations. But that’s just one person’s experience — have you taken DJ Mixer for “spin?” (Sorry, couldn’t help it.) Would you DJ a party with it? Let us know in the comments.
Thrillcall began its demo admitting to not being concerned with being the #1 coded app around for live music discovery. That’s because their app — not that they believe it to be poorly made — isn’t about the code. It’s about the services that go beyond the app. Thrillcall considers itself your “aid” for live shows, hooking you up with deals, services, and other related perks to help you get the most out of your live music experience. The example Thrillcall gave was being able to hook you up with a deal for a ride to the show you want to go to, letting Thrillcall shine as supplying the logistics necessary to ensure you don’t miss out on your favorite show. Exciting as that element was, the presentation stumbled over questions regarding how indie artists get their shows added to the system, awkwardly offering to personally add one inquisitive audience member’s band to the system after the demo. Still, for most big name shows, this could put just a touch of serendipity into making sure you catch that gig you’d been meaning to hit up. But what do you think — did you have success getting your indie act in the system? If not, did it kill the experience?
Originally incepted as some sort of dating app, MusicPound is all about musical chemistry. The ios app allows users to compare their music library with others “to see how well your musical tastes align, discover new music” and more. Unfortunately the two using the app for the demo didn’t have much in common, so we didn’t get to see the full power the app had. Seems like a nifty tool that could be fun if not ever really “necessary.” But perhaps I’m just not creative enough to see more useful applications — when would you use an app like this? Let us know in the comments.
Alex is a marketing professional and music & music:tech blogger. Find him on Twitter @DrWadata.