RockStar Motel Opens Platform To Fans & Bands

RockStar Motel leaves beta today in the US, UK & Canada.  The social network with game elements features a fan signing band approach in which fans are encouraged to become superfans via in-network recognition.

RockStar Motel is an innovative site with the mighty challenge of reaching a sizable number of users who appreciate the opportunity to support musicians by promoting the within a social setting.  CEO Lucia Sacchetti is hoping to unveil a platform that will directly connect bands with fans

Independent artists are now able to set up accounts with RockStar Motel & able to make their content available in house.  RockStar Motel is also thinking of additional ways to feature artists and fans.

A network feed across all accounts promotes new artist signups for a 24 hour period.  A chart feature that will feature “superfans” will promote fans giving them additional recognition across the network.

RockStar Motel has also developed a new networking feature for public launch that draws on fan analytics & identifies fans that might be a good match for particular music acts.

RockStar Motel is an example of a new platform for promoting music that face formidable challenges with a great deal of growth potential if successful.

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Facebook Account Now Required For Spotify Signup And The Users Aren’t Happy.

A Facebook account is now required for all new users signing up for Spotify; and even though existing accounts aren’t affected, many users are less than pleased. The message ““You need a Facebook account to register for Spotify. If you have an account, just log in below to register. If you don’t have a Facebook account, get one by clicking the ‘create an account’ link below,” has been added to the Spotify signup page.

Users have reacted quickly…

“I absolutely love your service, and promote it all the time, but this is the stupidest move you have ever made. What were you thinking? Did Facebook push you? I cannot believe you have done this!” wrote one commenter of Spoitfy’s Get Satisfaction page.

“This is a terrible move, stop sucking up to Facebook and get your iPad app done” wrote another.

Spotify replied….

“Unfortunately you will need a Facebook account to access Spotify from now on, unless you already have an account set up.

This does not stop you creating the Facebook account adding nothing to it and making it totally private as the Facebook account does not have to be actively used.”

Personally, I don’t mind this feature due to the fact that I already have an active Facebook account.  But I can see how people don’t want to be annoyed with having Facebook updates with every song that they listen to on Spotify.  At the end it gives off the image that this is a total win for Facebook and somewhat of a loss for Spotify.

Update (Sept. 30th):

Today Spotify released an update to its desktop app that includes a “Private Listening” option. This feature turns off Facebook sharing temporarily.

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Q+A: blahblahblahscience

Another Wednesday. Another Blogger Q+A. This week we shine the spotlight on blahblahblahscience (or B3Science if you’re cool.) We talked to Mike, one of the co-creators of the blog about how a new artist may catch someone’s attention & an interesting James Brown rating system used on his site.

When, How & Why did you start B3Science?

Troy (co-creator) and I played in a band together during high school and into college, and due to numerous circumstances we’ve yet to be in the same city to reform the project. The world best be ready for when we do. Either way, we found ourselves always still sharing music with each other and b3sci sort of formed out of that. That and we wanted to destroy the negative perceptions of some really great music that so many ‘blogs’ seem(ed) to hate on too frequently.

What albums/mixtapes have been in your heavy rotation in 2011?

Michael Kiwanuka’s “I’m Getting Ready” EP has been blowing us away. ASAP Rocky, James Vincent McMorrow, The Peach Kings, Noel Gallagher’s forthcoming album. Marina and the Diamonds’ “Radioactive” record. Maverick Sabre. Tayyib Ali is a new force to be reckoned with. That Labrinth “Earthquake” record with Tinie Tempah, that shit would blow up if it ever got on US radio. And the list goes on…

Something I noticed while checking out the site, what inspired you to have the different faces of James Brown as a rating system?

Haha, often when I’m listening through records, and I’m thinking “Wow, is this actually good or is it garbage?” I’ll think of JB. I ask myself, “Would James Brown like this? Would he actually like listening to it? Would he “feel good” listening to it?” haha. Also, James Brown is a fucking legend and the pictures are cool. And also, it’s sort of a mockery on “music rating” in general.

How does a new song/artist catch your attention?

We are major students of pop songwriting. The skill’s got to be there, the melodies, the arrangements, etc. And there’s gotta be soul in there too. We gotta feel something when we listen to it. And if it makes us move too, that’s just a bonus. Other stuff: where is the artist coming from and where are they looking to go? Is the artist consistent, is there a story there, etc.

What sets B3Science apart from other music blogs?

Taste. We’re a songs blog. It’s about great songs. It’s why we do this, real songs and ideas stand the test of time. As a result the music we cover runs through most genres. We don’t care. Is there a song there? That’s what we care about. Stature of the artist, perception of the artist, what “established” music blogs are saying about the artist. We don’t care.  None of that shit matters. Music matters first. We use our experience as bloggers, and musicians, and in the industry to break music that we know the world should be listening to… or will be listening to in the near future.

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Pandora Ends Free Listening Limits, Launches New HTML5 Player

Maybe it’s a reaction to “free music” competitor Spotify, but Pandora has gotten rid of it’s 40 hour free listening cap.  The move came on the same day that the service rolled out a new HTML5 player with more social sharing to all users.  Some of these new features include:

Faster Load Time

Simplified Station Creation – Enhanced auto complete choices & personalized suggestions make creating new stations & discovering new music more personal.

Social Features & Sharing Tools – Enhanced listener profiles & a new music feed offer a centralized place to find, like & comment on what friends & like minded listeners are checking out on Pandora. Stations now have their own personal URLs, making it easier to share on Twitter and/or Facebook

Improved Control – Same old features we all love (play, pause, thumbs up, thumbs down.) Along with a new shuffle feature which will allow listeners to shuffle any collection of stations.

Enhanced Artist Information – Option to learn more about the music, find lyrics, read bios and expand album art.

Unlimited Listening – No longer a cap for free users.

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Q+A: Potholes in My Blog

We may have been M.I.A. last week but we’re back this week with another installment of our Blogger Q+A series.  This week we spotlight the blog Potholes in My Blog.  We talk with CEO David Reyneke about what sets his blog apart from the rest & what music he’s been spinning in 2011.

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How to Embed StereoGrid Widgets on Tumblr

We realize that Tumblr is growing like crazy and has quickly become a popular platform for sharing and promoting music. After a bit of research, we figured out how to easily embed StereoGrid widgets on Tumblr with only a few quick changes to your account preferences.

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MOG Is Going Free. So what does this mean for Spotify?

MOG will be launching a new free streaming music service that competes directly with Spotify.  Instead of giving free users a set amount of hours a month, MOG gives users a “gas tank” filled with a specific number of free track plays for the month.

How exactly does the “gas tank” work?

To keep it full, users have to be actively sharing playlists with friends on social networks, in addition to exploring and sharing MOG.  The goal is to reward users with free music listening in exchange for promoting MOG virally.

Business Insider is skeptical of MOG’s new plan. “While we like the ‘gas tank’ concept” they wrote,  ”we wish that MOG would fill it up again at the beginning of each month in addition to rewarding you with more tracks for remaining active on the site. We think that puts MOG at a slight disadvantage to Spotify.”

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Music Bloggers: The New Radio Program Managers

One of the core features of StereoGrid is the Analytics Dashboard that we provide to music bloggers. When bloggers post music to their websites using our StereoGrid media player widgets, we aggregate what we refer to as song engagement metrics to their dashboards. This allows our users to see how their audiences engage with the music that they post.

We often debate the importance of providing bloggers with song engagement metrics. Some bloggers have said that they don’t necessarily care about song engagement metrics, while others seem to use StereoGrid specifically for this reason.

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Q+A: Just a Love Thing

It’s been another hectic week for StereoGrid with lots of change-ups and tweaks, but we finally finished this week’s Blogger Q+A installment with an under-the-radar brand, Just A Love Thing, led by Alex Anda, Alfredo Ocegueda and Robert Armez. We talk about the massive success of Kanye West, Jay-Z and Lil Wayne and their impact on the music industry, while also chatting about music start-ups aiming to empower music fans in support of their bands.

How did Just a Love Thing start and where are you based?

We’re actually based in a Southern California town called Victorville just a few hours away from Los Angeles. One night while drinking with my friend Alfredo, we were browsing through a few hip-hop blogs and when we saw how much music we had to wade through just to see maybe a page of worthwhile music we decided to do our own. Our name for the blog stems from the Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth song ‘It’s A Love Thing,’ and although we’re small, we set out to just give people good music. We wanted to post music with a message and not have people wade through a massive amount of posts just to find a few songs they might like. Although small we have ever increasing numbers and we’re working on establishing ourselves as a brand: hosting concerts, shirts, stickers, sponsoring events, things like that.

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More Music Tech Start-Ups Aim to Empower Fans

We wrote last week about music start-up Rockstar Motel that essentially allows bands/artists to crowd-source their fans to team-up to support the music via promotion, and HypeBot shared some more start-ups getting in on the power-to-the-fans model. Looks to us like a trend, and it’s an interesting concept to keep track of.

The post cites several other companies that are doing similar things like ChatWithTheBand which works as aFacebook app to let fans interact with bands via social video, WrapitinMusic which helps bands crowd-source resources to fund and promote business and GigFunder which is basically a KickStarter for concerts.

Perhaps the bigger trend in social media, in general, is keying on mobilization, and in music, it’s about mobilizing passionate fan bases to keep music alive. It’ll be interesting which of these start-ups mobilizes fans best. What do you think?

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