A Must for Music Nerds – 6 Tools You Should Be Using
Hey everybody this is Jess Page aka jp the East Coast editor of MusicVagabond. I’m super excited to be part of Paper Crane Collective with these twenty four other amazing contributors. The topics I will be covering are along the crossroads of music, technology and the overall industry. Welcome to “Geek Love” I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing about it!
As a self professed music nerd I’ve been meaning to write about this topic for a long time. If there is one thing I spend tons of time doing it is discovering new music, and whenever I find new and innovative ways to help me do so I get super excited.
I realize this is not the sort of thing that excites normal people, but if you’re on my level then you know what I’m referring to. Nothing makes my day more then being turned on to a site, tool or extension that lets me easily discover and organize my musical treasures. On that note, below is my “tool box” that I use when listening to, hunting for and organizing music.
exfm– a browser extension for Chrome that turns the entire web into your personal music library. As you browse, exfm runs in the background indexing every MP3 file you come across, building a music library for you. Exfm will continue to check the sites you’ve visited, adding new music for you to listen to every day
How We Use It: First off, Google Chrome should send a big thank you to these guys, because they are the reason I switched from Firefox to their browser and you can be sure I’m not the only one.
This extension blew my mind when I first started using it and I want to give a big shout out to yvynyl for the introduction. If this guy is using it you know it’s for real. It allows you to index any mp3 you come in contact with, adding it to your library. You can then queue songs, create a playlist, tag certain songs and make notes. As a music blogger or fanatic it is an invaluable tool.
Tweet them: @exfm
Shuffler– Shuffler aggregates music from around the web by genre. So if you go to our home page you will see a list of channels. They are like radio channels but divided by genre.
When you click on a channel we send you to a blog post and start playing one of the songs mentioned on that post. If you don’t like it you can skip ahead or pick another channel from the shuffler bar on the top of the page. When the song ends, we send you to the next song on the next blog. Always on the same genre.
Why We Love It: They create channels based on genre. I would recommend the Lo-fi, Indie Rock and Australian Channel. It’s great to click a genre and let it ride. If you hate it click through if you love it, pop your screen back up from whatever work you were doing. Make a note about the band or surf that music blog. It’s a great way to find new music and solid music bloggers.
Tweet them: @shufflerfm
Nex Big Sound– Next Big Sound provides a centralized place to monitor all the behavior and activity happening for artists both online through social media analytics like Last.FM plays and Facebook fans and offline through the addition of sales data. NBS is changing music by providing intelligence to record labels, promoters and band managers to make informed decisions about artists.
How We Use It: If you’re a double nerd like L.Sizzle and myself then you understand the importance of analytics in making critical decisions. Next Big sound is for musicians what Alexa is to websites. I think I just blacked out from making that analogy, Yikes.
We have used this tool to prove how spot on we were during our bands to watch for 2010 recap, where are they now segment. Where we essentially used music analytics to prove our superior taste. We aren’t the only ones who love this product you can count Billboard as a fan who has joined forces with them to create The Social 50 a ranking of the most active artists on the world’s leading social networking sites. Big shout out to Alex White the creator for having a vision and following through on it.
Tweet Them: @nextbigsound
Tubeify– I can’t say this any better then Taryn Haight of Huffington Post so I will just quote her directly, “If you’re using YouTube to play and share songs quickly and without committing to the whole download process, then you may want to keep your eye on Tubeify. The site is currently run on an invite-only basis, but you can request an invitation easily by clicking here.
Since Tubeify is run by last.fm’s API rather than YouTube’s, the site performs with more music-friendly methods in mind. For example, you can search for new music without interrupting the song you are playing and generate playlists which can be saved for your own ears or shared easily amongst friends. Although I am more concerned about whether the song is one that I enjoy, Tubeify throws a dash of Billboard into the website blend, notifying users if the music they are listening to has made it on to any charts worldwide.”
How We Use It: We make all our Bands to watch and Best of List and with a coinciding video playlist for your viewing pleasure. This site gurantees that you are getting the actual video as opposed to some clown sitting on the toilet while giving you the review of the song, album artist or on some other topic totally non related. Then we just follow the link back and add it to our playlist. It also geographically tracks music trends so you can see whats popular in your area.
Tweet Them: @tubeify
SoundCloud– It doesn’t discriminate. It allows artists to create an online persona, upload and store tracks from anywhere and everywhere and send them out to an array of listeners. You can easily follow your favorite band, artist, record label, music blogger or friend. Easily creates dialog within the community or just between bands and their fans.
How We Use It: We track our favorite artists and labels and also have an account so that we can be sent tracks. Its a good way to keep up to date on newest tracks and releases with out subscribing to an email chain, which we all know can sometimes be irritating. You can also create your own playlists and embed them on your site. We’ve done this occasionally, but it’s kinda or a pain in the ass and honestly the free standard player design is not that easy on the eyes.
Tweet Them: @SoundCloud
BandCamp– Bands can use a simple, but stylish format to create a short bio, upload album art, new tracks, EP’s or full albums for free. Their pages are easily accessible and most of the music is free or pay what you want. It’s a proven jumping off point for most indie bands.
How We Use It: We don’t necessarily use it to find new artists but for many of us it’s our first stop when we have heard of a new artists. The pages are simple and user friendly. As we stated before most of the music is free of super cheap. It’s a great alternative to MySpace and wayyyy better looking.
Tweet Them: @bandcamp
I hope you can add these tools to your arsenal to enhance your music searching, listening and organizing experience. Viva la NERDS!