Archive for the ‘indie bands’ tag
Lollapalooza starts today and if you can’t make it, YouTube has got your back–they’re streaming it live from Chicago. The YouTube streaming is sponsored by Dell, an odd choice for a music festival, but a good way for Dell to reach a younger, wider audience than most of its current users.
Looking at the YouTube page’s ads (which are entirely Dell by design, not random chance), you can see Dell hawking its Ultrabook and offering an Xbox to anyone who buys a PC (a classic Apple-competitor move).
This would be a good strategy if Dell was still fighting for the consumer market.
But wait–for the past six months, Dell has been telling us “we’re no longer a PC company” and that they are focusing on enterprise.
So, now this ad campaign makes a bit less sense. Like zero sense.
Luckily, you don’t have to understand Dell’s marketing strategy to enjoy the live stream, though.
I’ll be sitting in the back of our Crunchup all day with my headphones in watching indie bands who all look like Josh Constine.
Los Angeles shoe company Keep has found a way to monetize hipsters' love of animals and ugly shoes by having people from overrated indie bands design shoes to benefit the Best Friends Animal Society. Last year it was Animal Collective, this year it's Bon Iver's Justin Vernon, who put together this fishbone-themed sneaker/moccasin thing. A portion of the sales (which officially start in October) will go to BFAS, which runs America's largest sanctuary for mistreated animals. I guess that explains why all these cats are hugging the Bon Iver shoe.
Jelli, the user-controlled music streaming service, is releasing a specially curated SXSW-themed station today, which will feature the indie bands playing at the festival. The playlist for the station will be crowdsourced in real-time and made available on both web and mobile.
And speaking of mobile, Jelli has good news on that front, too – it’s finally available on Android.
In case you’re unfamiliar with Jelli, the startup launched back in 2009 as sort of a “Digg for streaming music,” which is how it described itself back then. (That analogy might not work so well today, now that Digg is past its prime. But you get the idea). The core concept, which has been replicated by a number of mobile streaming music startups, is to have listeners vote up or down the tracks they want to hear. Plus, users are also given a limited number of “rockets” and “bombs” which let you send a track to the top of the playing list or destroy its score, respectively.
The service works online and on mobile, and even over the air. If you happen to be away from a web connection (is that possible?), Jelli can be heard on terrestrial FM in 20 markets across the U.S., including Philadelphia (94.5 WPST), Atlanta (96.1 WKLS), Minneapolis (102.1 KEEY), Las Vegas (96.7 KYLI, 94.5 KXLI) and others.
With today’s new release, the company has made a slight change to the user experience – it’s now diminishing users’ ability to collect bombs, dropping the maximum number you can accumulate in your account from 5 to just 1. The company says bombs have “such a disproportionate amount of power compared to rockets,” that it can ruin it for others when too many are flying around. You’ll still be able to use up your collection of bombs before the changes go into effect, though.
For SXSW festival goers, the new SXSW radio station will be a fun way to not just hear which bands are playing at the event, but also get a sense of the crowd’s general opinion on them. For those not into indie music, we should note that it’s joined by another new addition to the Jelli tuner today: Jelli Jazz.
The other big news – and news that will matter long after SXSW fervor dies down – is the newly launched Android app. It’s been a long time coming, given that Jelli arrived on iPhone back in November 2010. As with its iPhone counterpart, the Android app allows for various social radio listening features like Jelli’s Rockometer (where you voice your opinion by tapping “rocks” or “sucks”), rocketing/bombing tracks, live chat with other listeners, favorites, and more.
Jelli founder Michael Dougherty tells us that the Android “rocket” feature will have a different sound effect than the rocket you would hear online.
“Our team spends a lot of time thinking about the ‘listener experience’ and like to do fun things like this with it,” Dougherty says of the tweak.
More importantly, the Android release represents a continuation of Jelli’s strategy to be available everywhere (even on FM).
“Jelli for iPhone was our first mobile experience, and how we’re excited to launch Jelli for Android,” says Dougherty. ”We had also launched Jelli on the Facebook Open Graph last September, as part of the same strategy,”
The Android app went live in the Google Play store (sorry, that still sounds weird) last night.
Oh, you liked that band since before they were cool? Now you can prove it with Splash.FM. Launching in private beta today, the music social network lets you share songs and raise your Splash score when you help others discover them. Splash.FM lets you follow other tastemakers and listen through lists of the most popular songs across the site or your network.
Splash.FM’s biggest weakness is also a differentiator — it has no streaming licenses so major label songs only play as 30-second samples, but tunes by independent artists can be played in full and downloaded for free.
If you want to join the private beta, the first 500 readers to enter the code “TECHCRUNCH” in the bottom right of Splash.FM will gain exclusive access.
Splash.FMs share box lets users select from an expansive library of pre-loaded songs and samples, or upload anything they can’t find similar, to Turntable.fm. If a song appears on iTunes it plays as a sample, otherwise it can be played or downloaded unless the artist complains. This naturally skews the site towards undiscovered indie bands, remixes, covers and other content more likely to appear on Hype Machine blogs than the radio.
If Klout is your influence score across the web, Splash.FM wants to define the influence of your music taste. Users can “Splash” or favorite songs they discover on the site. Each song displays a Splash Lineage, or the order of who discovered it first. As a user’s shared songs are splashed by others, their Splash Score increases creating an addictive gamified experience.
Splash.FM was founded by two students, Alex Gatof from University of Michigan and Jason Fiedler of UPenn, using a friends and family seed round. Built on HTML5, the site is accessible from mobile. The startup plans to monetize through a combination of iTunes store affiliate links, sponsored placement for artists, and analytics services for the music industry.
The big question is whether users are willing to discover music on Splash.FM if they have to listen to elsewhere, such as on subscription streaming services, YouTube, or iTunes. It’s certainly annoying when you start grooving to something shared by a friend and it suddenly cuts off 30 seconds in. A year ago people were used to hearing samples, but in the age of Spotify, serious music fans who Splash.FM is targeting demand more. Many of its use cases are now handled by on-demand streaming services, or one-upped by Facebook’s new Listen With simultaneous playback feature.
I think Splash.FM would work better as a Spotify app allowing major label tracks to stream in full. However, This would exclude user generated uploads as well as the newest tracks from the blogosphere, and reduce revenue options. Rdio’s API are another option. As it stands, Splash.FM is a fun companion app for discovering music and taking pride in your own taste. Unfortunately, its appeal is limited to hardcore independent music seekers who won’t miss streams of mainstream acts or mind keeping another tab open.
Streaming music site Last.fm has launched a new web app for people who are bored with their music library and seeking something new.
As one of the first streaming music services, Last.fm grew in popularity for its ability to let users customize radio stations and carry their listening data (called scrobbles) to other music services for an enhanced experience. But with the influx of new streaming music services (Pandora, Turntable.fm, Spotify), Last.fm hasn’t made many waves. That could change with the new Last.fm Discovery app.
The app is basically a HTML5-optimized music player geared toward lesser known indie bands and music groups. Songs are sorted by over two million user-generated tags rather than a group of familiar genres, like rock, alternative, jazz, etc. The service features music from over 500,000 artists. It’s currently advertisement-free and available worldwide.
“(It) introduces you to bands from around the world by letting you browse through musical styles that you may already know or want to learn more about,” said Last.fm Product Lead Matthew Hawn in a blog post announcing Last.fm Discovery. “You won’t find the latest X-factor winner or the latest plastic boyband manufactured by evil scientists in a lab somewhere.Our tags system encourages the weird and the wonderful, the micro-communities and new scenes that are springing up as fast as new, independent bands are formed.”
The Last.fm Discovery app seems like an improved version of the “Tag Tuner” feature from competitor Blip.fm, a service that makes playlists from user submitted streaming music links from other services (like Grooveshark and YouTube). Since Last.fm hosts its own music, it’s music player isn’t likely to have many of the playback issues that plague Blip.fm.