Why is sound less well socialized than other types of content such as photo, video & text? I think the reason is tied up in the experience of listening, as opposed to visual reading/browsing information on a screen. For example, when I come across a song sent by a friend on Facebook, I might listen to the first few seconds to get the gist, before I'm on to the next post. Compare that to the idea of radio -- that time & place of listening to music; in the car, at home while cooking a meal, in the background while working, as a vibe when entertaining friends. This is a huge portion of the total space in my life for music other than live performance.
It's interesting all these incorporate listening while doing something else. Plus, you're not in charge -- there's the serendipity of not knowing what's coming next. Neither is it random as it's been curated by another human, starting in one place & steering to another with similarities/contrasts & moods. This idea of curation has been driven out of commercial radio as a cost to be reduced with result of terrestrial radio being boring, bland & diminishing. In a world where there is abundance of [almost] free music, what to listen to becomes the challenge -- we need curation it turns out. Algorithmic curation doesn't cut it. I use algorithmic curation on music sites to discover really great songs, but you have to kiss a lot of frogs to create a playlist that I, or other people will want to listen to.
Is there a space in this new world for sharing & curation activated by the social energy of friends? You might think this world already exists with playlists on Spotify or Soundcloud, but those are stovepipes -- if your friend isn't a subscriber, they have to listen to adverts & that's a big "NO" to anyone who likes & listens to a lot of music.
I've been experimenting sharing playlists among friends over the past few years. I still share by CD, but CD drives are disappearing fast. My experience of sharing playlist links is that it doesn't seem to work too well -- the social activity on Spotify between friends is nearly zero. MatesRadio is an internet radio experiment of sharing music 24/7 with friends, without ads. If you'd like to submit a playlist, check out www.matesradio.com. Also available on iPhone & Android -- search matesradio [all one word]. As I say, it's an experiment. a little basic in places, but I welcome your feedback & look forward to hearing your mix.
I have a particular love for music from Africa, particularly southern Africa where I spent the first five years of my working life.
Vintage Afro Beats -- various artists from across Africa: Sal Davis, Kenya 1963; Fadoul, Morocco 1975; Gnonnas Pedro, Benin 1980; Rob, Ghana 1977; Orchestra Baobab, Senegal 1982; Funkees, Nigeria 1972, Rim Kwaku Obeng, Ghana 1983; Sam Mangawana, Congo 1995; Grand Kalle, Congo 1966; Mulatu Astatke, Ethiopia 1972; Manu Dibango, Cameroon 1972; Bayete, SA 1993
South Africa Kwaito Vol 1 -- various artists across South Africa: From Capetown - Lungelo, Brasse Vannie Kaap, Freshlyground, & Die Antwoord; From Johannesburg - Kabelo, Jamali & TKZee; From KwaZulu Natal - Busi Mhlongo & S-Squad; From Port Elizabeth - Kalahari Surfers; From Soweto - Mandoza, Skwattakamp, Pro Kid & Pitch Black Afro; From Mafeking - Tuks
South Africa Kwaito Vol 2 -- various artists from across South Africa: From Gauteng - DJ Cleo, Muzart & Kongos. From Soweto - Morale & Brickz. From Nelspruit - Afrotraction. From Daveyton: Lebo Mathos & Lira. From Kwa-Zulu Natal - B'utiza. From Durban - DJ Cndo & Spykos. From E Cape - Thandiswa. From Brooklyn - Monique Bingham.
South Africa Soul House Vol 1 -- An hour of my favorite soul house tracks from South Africa.
San Francisco Music Tech Conference in October 2016 was a great window into what's going on in music tech. I did a bit of primary research & tracked down information on each company represented by the 700+ attendees to the event, in order to understand the range of ideas circulating & which are getting traction. I've classified into groups mapped by capabilities & identified which have funding, how much & by whom. I share here for those with similar interest -- view detailed spreadsheet.
1) Ticket sales & licensing are receiving the most attention from venture capital. Duh!
2) Licensing is particularly interesting because of its control on the rest of music tech activity. There were 4 groups of companies at SF Music Tech based on capabilities:
Ten of these twelve companies have funding & four have investment from strategic investors. [Sony Music invested $1M in NoisePop licensing artists photos & images, Gracenote invested $1M in Soundstr [device to track & report rights on music played], SESAC invested in Rumblefish [micro-rights on Youtube]. SOCAN invested in Core Rights [blockchain technology].
3) Playlists -- there's an above average amount of investment going on in the Playlists space.
Slacker Radio has $70M in funding for human curated radio. I don't get it.
Rockbot has $5.1 of investment for corporate playlists, allowing businesses that play music [retail etc.] to manage across locations & allow customer to pick songs. NY-based Amuse Business Music is similar but lacks funding.
4) There is little activity around social sharing of music.
- Mejay is potentially interesting, but has not launched yet. Allows sending of songs to friends via an app.
- Audiodrops is a bit like Pokemon Go, allowing geo-located drops of music. Seems like a weak idea.
- Social networks for musicians [Jammcard] do not seem to be getting much traction.
5) Lastly, a shout-out to "New music currencies" which has 8 companies dedicated to paying artists in new ways:
- Audiocoin seems like a crazy idea to give coin for sharing an artists music.
- Royalty Exchange allows artists to sell future rights to investors & has $3.4M in funding.