We’re very proud of our relationship and collaboration with founding Filmutea members Robert and Gemma, whom we’ve been working with for the past 5 years. The intention was always to create the very best Film-Makers Resource - providing everything you might need to create motion picture magic.
The core of the site has long been the Jobs Boards, Classifieds, Events and Community - which help film makers network in order to find the cast, crew and equipment they need to produce their films.
Affino’s new funding platform is the icing on the cake really - allowing film-makers to secure the capital required - through crowdfunding. The Funding Platform works along similar lines to Kickstarter - where members of the public can sponsor the production at different levels - each of which is usually recognised by some degree of reward or acknowledgment. Funding is enabled via PayPal transactions, and there are extensive settings and workflow profiles to handle the various projects posted. Typically the company that provides such a service (Filmutea in this instance) takes some form of commission - either a fixed rate or percentage of total collected.
For us at Comrz this is the perfect showcase for Affino’s full Social Commerce capabilties. In our opinion, this is one of the most rounded / complete professional networks on the Web, and the business model is incredibly strong - both for the service provider and service consumers. Currently Filmutea is targeted at Spain, and has 43,000 members; 19,000 Job Offers; nearly 6,000 Film Courses listed, and has its first major production under its belt.
If you are making films in Spain, this is your perfect launchpad. We look forward to seeing Filmutea expand into more territories in the next year or two. For anyone interested in creating a profitable professional social network, this is an excellent benchmark for how to do it.
This project is the culmination of a year’s work (for the Graphics!), in some ways it could be said to be the culmination of Affino’s 15 years of development. We have long wanted an elegant means of showcasing the extensive Affino Features Set - and we have takled it a number of ways previously - trying to do a complete features listing (100’s of individual elements - now archived for being too large), and the much celebrates ’Periodic Table of Affino Elements’ - which has 128 listed features - yet still needs further essential additions.
This time it was going to be simpler, yet more detailed, more illustrative at the same time, and punctuated with some lovely iconographic and obviously meaningful pictures and screencaptures. We hand-picked a list of 50 key features as we saw them; alas ’Affino Messenger’ still remains to be re-developed in HTML5 (some way off), but the other 49 can now be found listed on the pictured Affino Features screen; they are as follows:
Comments & Rating
Topics and Keywords
Web Services API
The intention is that they serve as a great reference for all of us, customers new and old - in getting a full and proper picture of Affino, and reminding us of useful features, functions and utilities that we were thinking of making use of but never quite got round to implementing on our site/s.
After months of planning, preparation, design, implementation and population, the Savvy Friends experience is finally ready for the world. It’s been a largely enjoyable journey (great people involved), with constantly evolving procedural challenges, requirements for new channels of revenue and new business models.
What is actually launched now is in effect Phase 3 of the site - 3 generations of design templates and functional improvements have led to the current version running on the latest Affino release. All of this should give the site plenty of scope for flexibility and onward development and evolution.
It’s amazing how much can be achieved with small teams - the Core of Savvy Friends - Simon, Warren, Yamit, David, James and Charlotte have put together all the design, content, media and refined detail touches. All of Comrz was involved too, but we’re still just talking about a dozen or so individuals all together.
The attention to detail on the site is at a level we at Comrz have never before experienced - from the choice of the uniquely stylised fonts - Neue Helvetica and Plantin - down to the placement of the tiniest element - spacing, dimensions, proportions, use of integral social media - and a very refined approach to social interaction - everything has been carefully considered and layed out in optimal fashion.
Ronan is the perfect ambassador for wine and for Savvy Friends - he conducted the wine tasting with affable charm and passion - keeping proceedings clear and unpretentious - yet peppered with thoughtful background vignettes. There were 3 wines as part of the formal tasting - all excellent, and of course available via the Savvy Friends Wine Store. Some were particularly enamoured with the Vouvray Les Argiles, which was excellent, but my personal favourite was the Côtes du Rhône, Clos du Caillou. All the wines were quite superb, and I also
We people want to be involved in everything today - we want our say, we want our opinions to be heard and shared, and we want to be able to express ourselves artistically through clever parodies, skits and remixes of popular social media.
There’s a brilliant, brief TED talk (below) by YouTube’s Trends Manager - Kevin Allocca - where he tries to identify how out of millions of hours of video - phenomena ’Nyan Cats’, ’Double Rainbow’ and ’Rebecca Black’s Friday’ managed to stand out. Of course there are a myriad of causal factors there, but the obvious one is that of a shared experience and the ease of interaction and parody. Universally, we now live in the age of parody - as best exemplified by long-running animated shows ’The Simpsons’ and ’South Park’ where nothing is holy any more - everyhing is deconstructed, ridiculed and parodied - and the people love it!
A great part of the success of the aforementioned trio is the ease with which people could relate to them and parody them. Pretty much every decent pop song gets ’covered’ in a million different ways within weeks of hitting the tops of the charts - punk versions, skiffle band folk versions, multi-tracked-acapellas, 2Cellos version, the ubiquitous dubstep remix etc. etc.
Twitter and Facebook’s ubiquity in the ease of commenting, liking, re-tweeting and sharing is what makes them work, and what looks like a sound basis for new site Pinterest. Yet there are still forces out there that think that they can totally ’tailor’ a user’s experience - limit the amount of input, interaction and participation, and still create a successful marketplace - I’m not so sure any more.
By nature we humans are usually highly suspicious, increasingly cynical and often lonely and lacking in confidence in various aspects of our lives - we need regular interaction, recognition, support and approval - much as Abrahm Maslow identified all the way back in 1943. Much has been written about key influencers in human motivations, and one thing is for sure - and that is that complex communities of personal interactions are what best influence behaviour. Everything has to happen within a context and within the subjectivity of a person’s activities, interests and tastes - yet the undeniable truth is that we are all
It seems MySpace is still very much in catch-up mode, as its latest offering does not really offer up anything close to the scene-changer that MySpace so desperately needs. I remember the older MySpace Player quite fondly - with its animated EQ bars and customisable colours; since then we have seen Spotify, Soundcloud, Tomahawk, Last.fm and even YouTube stealing a march on MySpace’s former lead in the online music promo sector.
As a Music Player, it probably owes most to Spotify - in terms of its overall look and feel / usability, and recommended similar artists, playlists and ’radio’ functions. Spotify though is much further ahead with all its really clever apps and integrations.
With Justin Timberlake’s involvement in MySpace, I had high hopes that they would do something radical to try to take a leading stake in the music industry again. This Music Player is just an also-ran though, it really does not do anything better than what’s already out there, and there’s no cool function or even tiny detail touch which makes you sit up and take notice.
I’m not saying that MySpace is wholly doomed yet, but they have to do a lot better than this to make themselves relevant and worthy of our attentions once more. In the past I used to check in regularly with MySpace to listen to various artists’ latest tracks - particularly new and up-and-coming artists. Nowadays, most artists make use of Tumblr or just upload a static image to YouTube to accompany their latest promo singles. I do regular record reviews, and the number of artists who use MySpace as a primary resource is dwindling fast, these days, music artists are more likely to lead on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. It used to be the case that new music artists broke though on MySpace - a la Lily Allen, nowdays though it’s YouTube a la Justin Bieber!
I have always said that for MySpace to succeed, they need to focus on the music-discoverability angle, which now has been largely taken over by sites like Last.fm and even Spotify, as I mentioned previously. MySpace has to come to market with something cleverer and slicker than what already exists - they need to be moving ahead, not toeing the line. If you compare the MySpace Music Player to Tomahawk for instance, MySpace is several steps off the pace, even though its presentation is more elegant. I have already
Wikipedia and Reddit were blacked out today in an attempt to highlight to Internet Users - the serious likely impact of this legislation on the basic rights of freedom of the typical netizen.
These 2 new bills - Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) - are in the process of passing through the House of Representatives and the Senate respectively. They would end up giving Copyright Owners way too much power in shutting down and commercially crippling any site/s they choose to target - fairly or unfairly. Copyright Owners already have the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to effect similar actions - in enforcing take-down notices, and there are already numerous cases where the DMCA legislation has been abused - even though it does require a degree of due process.
SOPA and PIPA are far too broad and far reaching in their applications, and would end up a weapon of censorship and restriction - closing down and curtailing the open and organic nature of the Internet. The legislation requires no court order to force a take-down notice, and can be so broadly applied that any vague 3rd party reference to another allegdly suspect site can result in an injunction against the referring party.
The problem with the Internet at large is that so many of the daily services we use are based / legislated from the USA - Google, Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia - what with Social Content Contribution - any one of these could easily end up with potentially disputed copyrighted material and be forced to shut down.
UK citizens should be far more worried than most, as has been seen by the recent extradition case of Richard O’Dwyer - a UK citizen who has actually broken no UK or European laws with his UK-based links website - but is still being extradited to the US for summary judgment and punishment.
I’m certainly not a fan of piracy, but totally understand why it happens, and this draconionan legislation will not be the cure. The vast majority of media companies are overly greedy and totally out of touch with reality - and are almost as much a part of the problem as the pirates.
I can buy a pretty decent gaming app on the Apple App Store for just 69 pence - a venture which has taken several months to produce and contains sound and vision, and creative flare, and typically involves a significantly sized project team. Yet for a new sound file - ’single&
We had big plans for developing Affino this year and moved it ahead in almost every way. We reached the 12th version of Affino 6, of which 7 were launched during the year. We worked through 1,408 improvement projects both large and small, some taking months others mere minutes.
Every single aspect of Affino saw improvement during the course of the year and is now faster, easier and more pleasing on the eye.
We started the year with three priorities:
To make affino:
During the course of the year though that a big part of Affino’s usability came down to speed and it simply wasn’t fast or reliable enough on a consistent basis. So we added in three more priorities:
To also make Affino:
We saw great strides across all areas, and really nailed the last three.
This post covers the key highlights for each of our priorities and for the major Affino application areas.
Nothing is more important to the success of a product than to make it as usable as possible. This allows people to do and achieve the maximum in the minimum timeframe. Which means better looking sites, higher conversion rates and more engaging communities.
We have removed hundreds of usability issues from Affino during the year. Each time a support request arises we’ve looked into the issue and seen if we can either remove it or make it so easy that a user never has to ask the question again. In most cases we’ve succeeded and now users are able to do most tasks instantly.
The Control Centre has had a big makeover, and has now mostly been upgraded to use pure native browser technologies (i.e. no Flash). This means it is now faster and more consistent. We’ve also looked into many of the major modules such as Store Management, Campaigns and the Media Library and completely re-worked them to be far more effective.
A big focus was to make the Affino user interfaces more consistent and modern. All the interfaces have had a makeover and are now considerably easier to use, and all have a consistent ‘Affino Style’ presentation.
We’ve also added lots of smarts to the user interface with sticky elements that are always on the screen, clearer buttons
Yes indeed - I’ve just returned from a two week break home to Iceland, and it turned out to be even more action-packed than usual. To save me much repetition over the next few days, and in part to offer a decent reference point for my many friends and acquaintances who have indicated a desire to visit Iceland (soon Lucas!), I thought it might come in handy to commit the trip overview to a single blog post.
As anyone who knows our extended family (La Familia) is aware, we like to take extensive walks, eat out frequently, get some spa days / treatment days in, as well as regular cultural pursuit. Here follows the overview (PS - above pic is a stock photo of Northern Lights at Hotel Rangá):
Nauthólsvík - coastal path with great views - runs alongside Reykjavík airport and the West-side of town - starts with geo-thermally heated inlet and man-made beach Öskjuhlíð - wooded hill surrounding Pearl / Perlan restaurant - contains remains of old WWII fort and several rabbits if you keep your eyes peeled Garðabær - home town has a number of excellent walking routes - down and around the lava fields and down to the coast in particular Heiðmörk - nearby National park was re-forrested in the 50’s and 60’s - offers excellent scenic walks Around Rangá - quick walk around the Hotel’s grounds - which are very close to the 2 recent Icelandic volcanic erruptions - returned to hotel covered in ash!
Days Out / Trips:
Trip to Icelandic Auntie’s summerhouse (near Hvalfjörður) - classic Icelandic afternoon tea / coffee - open sandwiches, waffles and cakes Trip to and overnight stay at extended family’s summerhouse (near þingvellir) - evening grill and jacuzzi (most summerhouses in Iceland have a large outdoor jacuzzi), followed by extensive brunch the next day Hotel Rangá - delightful Icelandic country hotel - sort of in the middle of nowhere, between Hella and Hvolsvöllur on Route 1. Jacuzzis are spaced outside every 3’rd room or so on the South-side - quite a superb experience sipping champagne in a jacuzzi under the big sky - with glaciers and volcanoes on the near horizon, and usually the best place to see Northern Lights - excellent restaurant too, great for dinner and breakfast - pricy, but good all-round Fljótshlíð -
The new Irish Books Direct website, is the epitome of a modern family business; it’s also a great example of proper Social Commerce. Affino and Comrz have always been great enablers, but nothing is achieved without a sound business vision and the right people behind it.
Alasdair Verschoyle has long been involved in book retail and distribution, and always had the goal of one day creating a community-centric book store focused on his Irish roots, and underlined by a passion for championing and sharing Irish Literature, Authors and Culture.
The idea was to hand-pick a broad spectrum of quality Irish books, published both locally and abroad, which would appeal to Irish Nationals at home, as well as ex-pat Irish and their descendants around the world. The key point of difference is not just in this particular selection of books, but in the use of Affino’s numerous community tools to create a proper global sharing community for everyone interested in Irish Culture.
The site contains video interviews with authors, and frequent blogs and special features - offering extended background information on key titles, their authors, their motivations, inspirations and reference points - all in all giving the site visitor a fully immersive experience of Irish Literature.
Alasdair is the visionary partriarch, and Lorna Lawless and Jenny Coughlan take care of the day-to-day management of the site. This is typical of Affino sites - just a core of 3 people doing amazing things with the software.
We worked with Alasdair to ensure that he ended up with the best possible logo and positioning statement to underline his vision. We then oversaw the design of the site and some custom template creation, but pretty much all the work was done by the team of 3.
Of course this is just phase 1 really, and we look forward to seeing many more innovations to come.
Ticketmaster has just announced an interesting collaboration with Facebook, where Facebook members can see which seats their friends have booked at a show / venue - and are then able to book seats next to those. To start with, the pilot project will be limited to 300 venues - which ones these are has yet to be fully confirmed.
At the core of this though, is the essence of Social Commerce - the model of ’Your friend bought this so you might like it too’. I can see a whole series of notification services which you obviously need to be able to opt out of / target in some way - I’m not sure you would like to send the following through: ’Billy just bought ’incontinent pants’..., ’We thought you might like ’incontinent pants’ too’...
Anyway, back to serious matters again - this is absolutely the strongest means of persuasion. Within every circle of friends, there are always one or two ’Mavens’ or ’Trendsetters’ which have a significant influence on the buying patterns of their peers - a subject which is of course excellenty parodied in ’The Joneses’ film from 2009.
With several ticketed events also having ticket number restrictions, this is the only way a large group could co-ordinate so that everyone can sit together. This system is sure to do well as it offers up genuine benefits for both customer and retailer. People feel much better when they can choose their own seats, and they feel even better when they can choose who they get to sit next to.
A number of years ago in a previous company, we did some interesting work with the Royal Opera House on Seating Plans - and in particular the view you got from each block of seats - very useful for avoiding balcony columns in old theatre-style venues.
The Ticketmaster app has very clever privacy / tagging settings - allowing you to choose whom you broadcast your seat info to - ’Everyone | Friends | No One’. As we evolve, I expect to see some kind of Google+ system where you choose which social circle you share your which information with.
All retailers have been wanting to do this kind of thing for years - it makes the offering more personal, and encourages further purchasing. Fashion and Home Décor sites have for a long time been able to allow users to create personal looks / outfits which they can share with
I followed the riots live across multiple resources for 3 of the 4 main days of rioting. I caught pretty much all the reportage and interviews, updates, aftermaths and expositions; and the following is my own personal POV roundup:
Welfare Dependence - The mix of people involved in the riots does not really underline this - rich kid brats, postmen, teaching assistants, Olympic ambassdors and real estate agents were all arrested and charged. Also, the age of arrested ranged from 11 to 50 and included several walks of life - many of them quite unexpected, and outside the presumed criminal / social underbelly
Social Exclusion - Talk of a social underclass / criminal underclass was not entirely justified as perpetrators came from a much wider social demographic; there was though a high proportion from low / no-income council estates
Lack of Parenting - Presiding judges noted that very few minors (under 18s) had their parent/s in tow for court hearings. Scandinavian studies have shown that single parent families can be equally competent in raising high achieving children, so it’s not necessarily lack of fathers as many say, just a lack of parenting full stop
Spending Cuts - The current government’s cutbacks, in order to tackle the mounting national debt / deficit, cannot really be substantiated as yet, as the spending cuts have not fully set in - largely opposition party politiciking
Weak Policing - I actually agree with a lot of commentators on this; I have watched a number of interviews with the perpetrators and almost all stated that they participated after they witnessed the non-action of the Tottenham Police ("The Police just stood by and did nothing!"). Had the Police weighed in heavier from the start, it is unlikely that the riots would have spread in the way that they did. Also, the lax / slow / poor response from the IPCC to the initial incident was the cause of the first flare-up
Racism - The original Mark Duggan shooting was not necessarily what sparked the initial Tottenham riots, it was how the Police and the IPCC in particular dealt with the family of the deceased and the initial peaceful gathering of demonstrators - had this been handled properly, it is far less likely that violence would have
With Google’s announcement of Google Plus, it finally looks like Google is getting its Social Network on the right path. In the recent announcement about the now beta-testing site, Google introduced 5 new weapons to fire across Facebook’s bow; these are as follows:
Circles - a really neat ’groups’ app where you simply drop selected contacts into a specified category circle - based on family, friends and other interest groups. Then when you want to share media etc. with this same group, you simply drag and drop it onto the same circle. A seemingly very usable and elegant solution
Hangouts - this is really just group video chat, with seemingly very clever software which centres on the active / noisiest participant involved. The demo looks very slick - you can simply drop in and out of hangouts - like trawling interesting gatherings at a party
Huddle - this is group texting - you can start a ’Huddle’ with one of your Circle groups, and simply blast spam the whole lot of them! - and vice versa of course
Instant Upload - an area where Google has distinct advantages over Facebook - piggy-backing off its own Android Platform and devices - allows you to set up some kind of loosely defined folder in the cloud - which your snaps get automatically uploaded to immediately as you take a picture
Sparks - the least interesting of the new introductions is simply a kind of interest topic filter - which pulls in pictures, videos and articles on said topic - you can then share said ’Spark’ with your various social Circle groups
It’s not yet clear how all these elements will be seamlessly knitted together, and how the overall profile and wall experience which Facebook is so strong on will be met / challenged.
As I said above, Google’s real weapons here are the Android Smartphones, Chrome Browser, Chromium OS and various other bits of soon-to-be seamlessly-interconnected hardware. With more and more people using Smart Phones and Tablets, anyone who sets up automated syncs for content upload and sharing is onto a winner. Google also has an advantage with its already massive GMail audience.
It will be very interesting now to see how Facebook, Microsoft, Apple and Amazon react. This is definitely a step changer, and much will depend on how slick and ’convenient’ the whole experience is. If Google comes close to
Once again I enjoyed the festival courtesy of the BBC, in my home lounge - and entirely via the Internet. I still feel like I would want to check it out ’on location’ one of these years - as long as I had guarantees of good weather, and could attend ’Kate Moss’ style - i.e. being flown to and from luxury 5 star hotel at the start and end of every day.
With my newly acquired iPad, it was interesting to see that the only coverage available for the iPad was via the BBC’s excellent iPlayer App. The main BBC Glastonbury website is still largely flash, and the Mobile site is not really up to par with the latest advances in technology. The tipping point will be when the main Glastonbury site is done in HTML5.
Anyway, as for the 3 day festival - I quite enjoyed Friday Night headliners U2, although there were no real surprises here, same goes for Saturday’s Coldplay who featured some great new material, but did not surprise really either. Sunday’s headliner Beyoncé was magnificent though and in fine voice and full fitness dance prowess. Her set opened with a bang, and those who thought she might have front-loaded it with ’Crazy In Love’, ’Single Ladies’ and ’Nasty Girl’, were in for a surprise as her set continued to deliver the goods throughout. She included all of the Destiny’s Child hits, as well as excellent cover versions of Prince’s ’The Beautiful Ones’, Alanis Morisette’s ’You Oughta Know’, Kings of Leon’s ’Sex on Fire’ amd Etta James’s ’At Last’ there were also some lovely little mashup touches including a segment of Mark the 45 King and The Eurythmics’ ’Sweet Dreams’. Shame on all the detractors who tried to belittle Beyoncé’s performance. Beyoncé and her all-female all-in-white band performed magnificently throughout.
Another magnificent female performance came courtesty of Janelle Monáe, who had little communication with the crowd, but managed a
There has been a significant amount in the press recently about Finnish National Library microsite - ’Digitalkoot’ which has managed to combine the best elements of gamification and crowdsourcing to get members of the public to willingly participate in menial data entry.
Hundreds of thousands of documents have been scanned into the national library archives, but a lot of the printed material is too fuzzy for automatic text recognition to work. This is where games ’Mole Bridge’ and ’Mole Hunt’ come in - the first game involves deciphering individual words against the clock, each word becomes a segment of a bridge which helps the moles get to safety; if you are too slow or enter a wrong word, then one or more moles will plummet to their death! The second game ’Mole Hunt’ is more of a verification style game, where you simply approve or reject the suggested transcripts.
Both games are actually easy and tricky at the same time. You need to be very quick for ’Mole Bridge’ and the words are often very hard to decipher and quite long really - also, you really need a Finnish keyboard for the special characters! The system cleverly verifies the words through mass public opinion, and then slots them back in their correct order in the many reference documents they were originally pulled from, quite genius really!
In any case, this social experiment has been brilliantly successful at getting members of the public to do free work in return for just a little recognition via a leaderboard mechanic - where results can also be posted to the major social networking sites.
When I graduated from university and was deciding exactly what to do, I took on a number of tedious office admin jobs - ’Data Entry!’ - which would have benefitted enormously from having some kind of gaming element to make those tasks more enjoyable. The more enjoyable a repetitive task is, the less likely one is to loose focus / interest and therefore start making mistakes. The thing about mundane repetitive tasks is that they are a spiral of ever decreasing results as interest and concentration quickly wanes. The gaming mechanic helps sustain interest and focus, and makes it more enjoyable to participate in mundane repetitive tasks.
With several tasks on the internet, you can make them as usable and learnable as you like, but if they are
As I often do, I caught the odd snippet of live coverage of the first of the big summer festivals - BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend, this time from Carlisle. I made sure I ’tuned-in’ online for the main headline act - Gaga, and I was not disappointed as she played most of her hits, plus a smattering of new material, some jazzy numbers, a couple of ballads and a latin track - Lady Gaga entered in heavily pregnant guise inside a gold coffin, nice touches included dedication of ’Orange Colored Sky’ to Will and Kate; highlight was current personal favourite Gaga track ’Judas’ right at the end.
01. Swedish House Mafia vs. Tinie Tempah - Miami 2 Ibiza (Swedish House Mafia Intro Edit) 02. Ting Tings - Hands (Edit) 03. Style of Eye - We Are Boys 04. Arty - Around The World 05. Swedish House Mafia - One w/ Rune RK - Calabria 06. 2000 And One - Spanish Fly (Butch Remix) w/ Calvin Harris - Flashback w/ Calvin Harris - Awooga 07. Axwell vs. R.E.M - Heart Is My Religeon (Blake Jarell Mash-Up) 08. Pendulum - The Island (AN21, Max Vangeli & Steve Angello Remix) 09. Steve Angello pres. Who’s Who - Yeah 10. Hard Rock Sofa & St. Brothers - Blow Up (Thomas Gold vs. Axwell Remix) w/ Adele - Rolling In The Deep (Acapella) 11. Axwell - Nothing But Love (Remode) 12. Depeche Mode - Personal Jesus (Eric Prydz Remix) 13. Steve Angello & Alex Metric - Open Your Eyes (Tim Mason Festival Dub) w/ Depeche Mode - Personal Jesus (Acapella) 14. Alesso - Dynamite w/ Daft Punk - Around The World (Acapella) w/ Sebastian Ingrosso - Kidsos 15. Swedish House Mafia feat. John Martin - Save The World [John Martin Live]
This really was one of the best club sets I have heard in a long time, quite brilliant from start to finish.
As far at the live coverage goes, BBC are still best with providing in-depth content, in and around the live performances with off-stage antics, interviews and accoustic performances all featured - as well as archived videos from most of the artists featured. YouTube’s coverage of Coachella, had a couple of great innvovations which would have been nice to have seen on the BBC
I always thought the BBC were the masters of live music coverage, and in many ways they still are - in terms of all the behind the scenes footage, biographies, interviews, escapades and impromptu live accoustic sets. For this year though, YouTube has done a sterling job in letting non-attendees witness the live spectacle of Coachella , America’s Glastonbury of sorts, at least a little brother to Glastonbury in most ways.
I’m not going to split hairs on the lineup, I have watched a number of bands now, and I’m really impressed with the simplicity and elegance of the YouTube Coachella Festival interface, and the cleverness of the Twitter and Facebook connects. For Twitter , YouTube are automatically embedding the "#CoachellaLive’ hash tag for superb Twitter trending performance. Via integration with Twitter and Facebook they allow Fans to easily post ’Shout Outs’, at the same time promoting the festival and YouTube itself.
The interface has a simple Programme Guide and What’s on Now / Coming Up listing - everything you really need for live music coverage. BBC goes a little further with Artist Biographies, Videos and backgrounds - linking into the enormous archives that make up the complete BBC experience. I don’t expect YouTube do to this, but it would be nice to have some king of tag-indexed library of officially related videos for each of the featured artists, and a means to access the elements of the live stream individually post gig also.
I can really see YouTube becoming a forerunner in this, and can foresee a two-stream concert ticketing system where a lower priced tariff allows you to experience the concert from the comfort of your home sofa - allowing to to neatly forego the pleasures of stinky chemical toilets, endless queues and the potential of rain and mud.
With the rapid development of Internet Television services - connecting with a variety of home streaming devices - Apple TV , Google TV etc. I see this as a big potential money earner for YouTube . Mainstream cinemas are already on the bandwagon - providing streamed access to live events - operas, pop concerts and sporting events - giving global access, as well as more convenient access in some ways - to a much larger audience. This is certainly an object lesson in how to do things well. The sound and video - were great for the whole of my viewi...
Most will be aware that the traditional high street record store has become an endangered species. Long gone are the days when you had an HMV , Virgin, Our Price, Woolworths and WHSmith on the same high street - all selling vinyl records; nowadays only HMV remains as a proper high street music retailer and even HMV has abandoned nearly all vinyl. Off the high street though is where the real action is / was happening - the independent record stores would be found in a back alley or cul-de-sac shopping precinct. 5 years ago there were 900+ independent record stores in the UK, last year this figure was down to 269. Strangely this year, the independents’ numbers are back up a fraction to 281.
The big story is of course the changing patterns of music consumption where currently 99% of single sales are by way of digitial downloads. The figures are a little less extreme for albums, but increasingly these are also being sold digitally; an interesting counter to this is the new Alison Krauss album - ’Paper Airplane’ which recently entered the top 5 with 99% non-digital sales, i.e. CD and Vinyl, but increasingly digital is marginalising the traditional formats.
When I pop into town, usually on a Saturday, I often proceed along the Poland Street - Berwick Street route, usually starting at the one remaining ’HMV ’ on Oxford Street, working my way down Poland street to my favourite record store ’Phonica ’, and then through D’Arblay Street to ’Sister Ray ’ on Berwick Street. Occasionally I feel a little more missioneered and include ’BM Soho ’, ’Reckless ’, ’Sounds of the Universe ’ and ’Music & Video Exchange ’ also. All the record shops are in a fairly neat circuit, as can be seen on the map below:
This being ’Record Store Day ’ of course I made the extra effort to stop off at every which one; I ended up buying a single sliver of vinyl in Phonica , in case I forgot about it next week, and of course to honour the day, and keep these businesses alive. Although I do buy a lot online, I’m not averse to the occasional crate-digging...
Created by Brian Solis and JESS3 - ’The Conversation Prism ’ is a colourwheel diagram which portrays the extended spectrum of Internet services / sites losely filed under the banner of ’Social’; there are 28 categories which cover most of the runners and riders, as follows (in alphabetical order):
Attention/Communitcation Dashboards - HootSuite, TweetDeck, MediaFunnel etc.
Blog Platforms - Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr etc.
Blogs/Conversations - Technorati, Social|Median, BackType etc.
Business Networking - LinkedIn, Plaxo, Ryze etc.
Collaboration - Basecamp, Microsoft Office Live, Zoho etc.
Comment and Reputation - Disqus, Intensedebate, BackType etc.
Documents/Content - Slideshare, Scribd, Empressr etc.
Discussion Boards and Forums - 4chan, Google Groups, Grouply etc.
DIY + Custom Social Networks - Ning, CrowdVine, KickApps etc.
Events - Upcoming, Meetup, Socializr etc.
Listening & Targeting - SocialMention, Alterian, Collecta etc.
Livecasting - Livestream, Chatroullette, Qik etc.
Location - Foursquare, Gowalla, Whrrl etc.
Music - Last.fm, MusicFinder, iLike (where’s Discogs and SoundCloud?)
Nicheworking - CrowdSpring, SocialCast, Yammer etc.
Pictures - Flickr, Photobucket, Picasa etc.
Questions and Answers - Quora, Yahoo Answers, Answers.com etc.
Reviews and Ratings - Yelp, Amazon.com, Epinions etc. (where’s Reevoo?)
sCRM - Salesforce, CrowdSound, Bantam etc.
Social Bookmarks - Digg, StumbleUpon, Diigo etc. (where’s Reddit and Delicious?)
Social Commerce - ShopIgniter, BazaarVoice, Groupon etc.
Social Curation - Flipboard, Magnify.net, Paper.li
Social Networks - Facebook, MySpace, Bebo etc.
Streams - Twitter, Lifestream.fm, Status.net etc.
Video - YouTube, Vimeo. Metacafe etc. (where’s DailyMotion?)
Virtual Worlds - Second Life, Habbo, Entropia etc.
Wiki - Wikispaces, Wikia, Wetpaint etc.
Wisdom of the Crowds - Yahoo Buzz, N...
Radiohead announced today that their latest album ’The King of Limbs ’ is to be available for download this Saturday - 19th February across 5 territories - UK / Ireland, Europe, The Americas, S.E.Asia, and Rest of the World.
There are in fact 4 versions of the album available as you can see from the above screen-capture:
MP3 Download - £6 / $9
WAV Download - £9 / $14
Newspaper Artwork Physical Album + MP3 Download - £30 / $48
Newspaper Artwork Physical Album + WAV Download - £33 / $53
The full physical release does not take place until 9th May, but fans can of course get hold of the downloads a lot sooner.
Radiohead of course pioneered online independent distribution with their ’In Rainbows’ album - for which fans could choose how much the album was worth to them. On this occasion they have fixed the parameters, and they are totally in control of the sale of the album themselves.
At Comrz we’ve long been saying that ongoingly artists will become increasingly more in control of their output and assets, and more and more will follow Radiohead in owning and controlling their retail environments. I believe these are reasonable price-points for this kind of ’product’. I have long held the belief that download music albums should not cost much more than £5 and singles no more than £0.59 (in line with the iPhone App Store ; not iTunes obviously) - I firmly hold to the belief that this will become the case eventually.
The nature of the traditional music industry involves lots of intermediaries and go-betweens, in fact a fairly sizeable distribution network intricately linked to radio, media and chart organisations. By going the Radiohead route, you totally cut out the traditional channels, and forego radio and retail support and the pubclity and advertising that goes with that; being outside traditional retail channels means also that you also forego a chart position. The online music industry has seen a lot of recent evolution with entities like Spotify and SoundCloud . It will be very interesting to see what evolves out of all of this.
For established bands like Radiohead - who already have a sizeable following - going down the proprietary retail route is a no-brainer. For new and up-and-coming artists though the promotional clout of the...
Google unveiled its browser-based Web Store (App Store) earlier this week, taking a leaf out of Apple’s book and applying the App Store methodology to their own Chrome browser environment. As of today, there are nearly 1000 Apps and extensions available, the most popular of which are social utilities TweetDeck and HootSuite, alongside the usual avalanche of games, news and information services.
I was very happy to see one of my favourite games - ’Plants vs Zombies’ available, although marginally surprised that there is no Angry Birds? I have also downloaded Tube Service Updates, WeatherBug Weather Window - which is a little buggy, a couple of Amazon apps, Flixster, Google News, Google Books, Aviary Image Editor, Slide Rocket and some odds and sods - I have around 20 Apps currently - all Free.
For the paid Apps, the most popular are at the $1.99 rate, some are at $2.99 and a few are at $4.99 - I have yet to see anything higher, but for sure there are more expensive Apps available. For me the acid test of price points is the iPhone friendly $0.99 / £0.59 price point, which is the one I buy most of my iPhone games at; although in no way exclusively. I do wonder whether some of those paid-for Apps are worth their $4.99 or more premium. For me, the perfect online / mobile pricing model is the Rovio - Angry Birds $0.99 / £0.59 price point.
I now need to update all my Twitter settings so that I can make use of the supposedly quite brilliant TweetDeck App - more feedback in a week or two!