Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Music Revolution Part I

Note: This blog post was originally posted on Knoxsocial's blog on November 30, 2011.

The digital music revolution is at hand. This is exciting because ultimately, music makes the world go round…
Do you remember a time when listening to one artist’s album used to cost $10-$15 bucks? Remember another time when downloading and sharing peer-to-peer files landed you a big fat lawsuit? Well, fear no more, music-lover, because you now have a gazillion songs at your finger tips. And guess what? Most of it is FREE or for a small fee if anything.
Some could argue that this new revolution is great for artists, especially lesser-known ones, in that it’s putting more control (and ears) into the hands of the artist and less in the hands of  major record labels. Of course, not everyone is feeling all tingly or butterflies for it.  For instance, according to a recent Mashable article, Adele and Coldyplay have decided NOT to release their new albums on Spotify for undisclosed reasons which are more than likely financial ones. Mashable also said that according to estimates published in Rolling Stone, “artists only make about three-tenths of a cent every time one of their songs is streamed, and 20 cents for every song sold on iTunes.” This just proves there’s an obvious divide on whether these new platforms are beneficial or not.
So we’ve recognized that the music industry is changing. But exactly how is it changing? The biggest change is in its shareability. No longer is listening to music a private activity you do alone at your desk, but is now a series of connections and experiences you share with others – strangers or not. Of course, we all like to brag about our impeccable musical taste. And what better way than to broadcast it to all of your friends on Facebook? You know that once they see what you’re listening to they are going to think you are 10x cooler, right? And then you take a look at what they’re listening to and think ‘like, seriously, are they really listening to ABBA?!?’
OK, the last couple of statements may have been a bit of a stretch. Regardless, it’s clear that music is integrating into our life experiences, online and offline, especially with the rise in portable devices. And because of this ease in accessibility, the music industry needs to make a decision and make it quickly – either jump on the digital train and figure out a way to make it profitable or get left behind.
So what’s the best music site out there? Well, as they say, “Different strokes for different folks.”  But seriously, that’s for the next blog post – The Music Revolution Part II. Thanks for reading and happy listening!
Also, if you have some time to spare, I HIGHLY recommend you watch this interview with Sean Parker during the Web 2.0 Conference. He touches on some great points on the music industry and social media in general.
How do you feel about the introduction of music services such as Spotify – do you think these will help or hurt artists in the music industry? What do you think the industry will look like in the next 5-10 years? Share your thoughts below!

Timelines and Tickers and Apps, Oh My!: The Complete Facebook Breakdown

Note: This blog post was originally posted on Knoxsocial's blog on September 27, 2011.

Editor’s Note: These are just some of the changes to Facebook. To get a complete list of updates visit this link

Wow. Alot of buzz going on in the social media realm last week. First, Google finished Beta and opens up Google+ to everyone. Second, Faceook did a News Feed overhaul (which was not so well-received). Third, Facebook held their f8 Conference last Thursday and made some pretty HUGE announcements. You may have missed some of these things but never fear because I’ve got the breakdown.


After three months of invites-only,  Google+ is now available to everyone. Furthermore, Google has finally given Goolge+ers the ability to search people and topics on Google+ (kind of seems like a no-brainer). For instance, a search for “amusement parks” would pull up conversations from users that have discussed this topic in addition to content from around the web.

Newsfeed Overhaul
Bye Bye “Top Stories” & “Most Recent”
Facebook has officially removed it’s “Top Stories” and “Most Recent” links to give you the most import news feed updates that have happened since the last time you logged on. For instance, if it’s been six days since you’ve last logged on, you will then see the top stories that have happened since then so that you don’t miss a beat. If you can’t go a day without logging on to Facebook then your news feed will be in chronological order. In addition to these changes, Facebook now allows you to customize your newsfeed by marking/unmarking updates that you deem most important or not important at all in your “Top Story” feed.
In addition to this update is the introduction of the Ticker stream at the right corner of your homepage.

The Ticker is a real-time feed of everything that is happening within your social network.
Filters & Lists
Thought the changes stopped there? No way, Jose! Implementing a Google+-esque functionality, Facebook now lets you control who sees your posts as well as determine which posts show up on your feed – giving you the utmost control of your news feed (Goolge+ anyone?).
Although Facebook has had this concept available for some time, Facebook has recently made it a point to make this feature more prominent and easily accessible.

f8 Conference

Facebook revealed some crazy changes during the f8 Conference last Thursday. From the introduction to the new Profile Timeline, to  advanced media integration with partners such as Hulu and Spotify, to new action buttons that go beyond the normal “like” – you could say they’ve been keeping busy these last few months.
Profile Timeline
This new profile layout, I must say, is definitely something of merit.
Now you can have a complete timeline of all the important moments in your life portrayed through your past your photos, life events, wall posts, apps you’ve used, and places you’ve been – taking you all the way back to when you were born. Their goal is for everyone to fill in those gaps of time before Facebook ever existed so that you can have a complete view of your life.
Media Integration
Another awesome update is the integration of media partners to give your Facebook experience a slight face-lift.
Now you can listen to music on Spotify…..

watch a show on Hulu….

and read a news story through Yahoo News without ever leaving Facebook! In addition, you can see exactly what your friends are watching or listening to through the new Ticker and can even share the same experience by clicking on the their link.

Like” turns into more verbs
Lastly, Facebook has decided to traverse past the trite “like” button and has revealed new actions, or Facebook Gestures, such as “watch”, “listen”, and “read”. And the fun doesn’t stop there as any Developer can manifest their own verb into a button. Perhaps it’s time for the often-suggested “dislike” button to soon emerge??
So that was a breakdown of some of Facebook’s new initiatives. But what does this mean for marketers? It’s hard to say but Mashable’s Todd Wasserman tells us that it will be even more imperative that businesses come up with innovative ways for fans to fuse their brand into a user’s life-stream whether it be via apps or engaging them with interesting and shareable content.
So the question is, what do you think about all of these changes? Do you think that these updates will have a major impact on marketers? 

Google+: A Leg Up on Uncertaintity

Note: This blog post was originally posted on Knoxsocial's blog on August 2, 2011.

I’m no Nostradamus so I can’t predict the future as to where Google + will go. I can say is that there’s quite some hype about it. Some say that it will trump Facebook while others say that Google is doomed to a similar outcome as Google Buzz. Which will it be? The answer, no one knows…yet. All we can analyze is what we are currently able to utilize while Google  beta tests Business profiles behind closed doors.
So, what CAN you do on Google+?
What you can do is control exactly who is seeing your messages through a feature called Google Circles by creating groups such as ‘family,’ ‘coworkers,’ ‘high school friends,’ or ‘alumni’.  An advanced hybrid of Facebook’s “lists”, Cirlces allows you to customize your messages and share it with the people that you truly want to see it.
What is the potential for advertisers? A huge benefit is in the ability to accurately target your conversations on an even more defined level, and ultimately, engaging the right people.
Hang Out
Another “plus” to Google+ is Google Hang Out. This video chatroom lets you chat with up to 10 people from anywhere. Perfect for business conferencing or boredom.
The advantage to this feature is in its great  potential as an advanced Customer Service tool. You are taking communication with your followers beyond the common constraints of text and photos by adding a layer of real-time video interaction (and no Chatroullette doesn’t really compare as far as “valued” correspondence).
+1s are Google’s version of Facebook’s “like” button. Google, however, has a “+1” over Mark Zuckerberg because of its integration into the site that billions of searches are conducted  a day,  Google Search. In addition, it is interspersed into sites across the web.
Similar to the “like“button, you use +1s  to publicly show what you like, agree with, or recommend on the web. As you can see, Ben Parr likes the article I recommend too, and Google+ was kind enough to connect me straight to his profile. Another ^1 to Google is in its ability to customize your search result through your selected +1s and social connections.
A Leg Up
Google is the GOD of search. Dave Williams recently posted an article in AdAge describing the edge over Facebook:
“Google knows what consumers want while Facebook, on the other hand, has a very clear understanding of what users like and who they know.”
Google’s personalized and relevant search results in combination with its social integration across all of its products will definitely make Google a force to be reckoned with, especially if they allow businesses to utilize its comprehensive  knowledge of user data.
Will Google trump Facebook? It’s hard to say, especially at this state of uncertainty of Google’s potential. However, I have to avert  the question to ask why can we not have both? The last time I checked the social world was big enough to hold two networking sites (LinkedIn and Twitter do still exist, right?). Founder and former president of Myspace, Tom Anderson, apparently agrees too. Social media doesn’t have to be a “winner takes all” and it would be idealistic to see a variety of networks thrive.
So my question is to you, Google and Facebook: why can’t we be several united communities coexisting in harmony?


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