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The secret to great online music room communities: real off line connections

Plug.dj, the online music/chat room service, has a great blog post on making online communities work. The seven tips go as follows: help your visitors feel welcome from the start; use social media to promote your room; make sure your staff are nice people; post clear community rules and guidelines; be multilingual; stage events for your users; and advertise your site.

I would add an eighth tip—well, maybe it is just an observation. The strongest online communities come from networks of people who know each other off line. I suppose that it is possible to just be one person, have a great idea for a chat based music sharing room, and launch a big hit over the course of a few months. But my experience is that without real off line connections—a network of friends and associates ready and willing to pitch in to make a turntable-style room a success, it often won’t get very far. This is probably true about lots of social media related projects, but is particularly the case with music/discussion rooms.

But maybe you disagee? Comments on this thesis would be welcome. In any event, here are some more items that have appeared on my dashboard over the last week:

The folks at Fist in the Air have posted a new alpha stage music sharing service. It is called bmpur.com, and like a lot of these new web based applications, it is lots of fun, but hard to describe. Basically, once you have registered or logged in via Facebook or Twitter, you can post tunes via YouTube or SoundCloud or blogs or even news links. They become part of your registered identity and other users can follow you, thus following your songs. The aggregate of everybody you follow becomes your “feed,” which cascades down from the top of the web page. So you just sort of pick and choose whatever is descending from the collective audio waterfall and play it (hat tip to Aaron Ho for bringing bmpur.com to my attention).

Milk Music - with Dial - Foster the People

Milk Music with Dial – Foster the People

Meanwhile, Samsung has come up with a new music application called “Milk Music,” available on the device maker’s Galaxy smartphone line via Google Play. It looks real nice (see image on right). The music comes from Slacker, and the strategy seems to be to create an app that makes genre listening very easy. To wit:

“Milk’s distinctive dial design provides a more intuitive and natural way to listen to music that is more organic and fun. With no log-in required and no need to think of a specific artist, song name or browsing through a list of choices, you can just starting listening to music instantly. From Pop to Jazz and everything in between, the dial displays up to nine genre-based stations featuring a wide variety of music listening choices, with a simple and quick turn of the dial.”

No question about it, this is what lots of consumers want: mobile music curation that they don’t have to jump through hoops and distractions to access—and that includes logins, likes/dislikes, and self-created search based channels. There’s a ton of people out there who just want to get to the tunes, especially when they’re driving to work or at the gym. They’re the opposite of the music chat room crowd; just pick some nice songs for them and enough of the podcasts, personal curation, sharing on Twitter, rooms, lists, playlists, communities, or DIY wuddever.

Last for this post, Rhino Records has a neat 80s playlist on their Spotify app they keep fresh with the assistance of the team at Slicing Up Eyeballs, who focus on “the legacy of 80s college rock.” The list is called “Just Can’t get Enough.” The sliced eyeball experts updated it on Friday. It is definitely worth a listen, as are the other Rhino lists, which include The Monkees, Tina Turner, Rod Stewart, Joy Division, and The Smiths. Most intriguing, the Rhino app includes “guest musicologist” playlists hosted by individuals identified as “Catherine B,” “Alex P,” and “Joshua F.” Who are these mystery people? And how does one become one?

Got an application, or startup, or playlist or something you want noticed? We cover social music sharing communities  every Monday in our Internet DJ feature.


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