Founding of Tunes inSL
It started when I got a whole bunch of iTunes gift certificates for the holidays. I don’t listen to Top 40 radio or know who Lady GaGa is, so I didn’t really want anything from their store’s home page. Meanwhile, I’m listening to two or three musicians on Second Life every night, tipping and Twittering and blogging about it all. I also hosted some performers who were bringing something special to their performance or to the music scene, standing out from the crowd. Once the event it over, the stage is de-rezzed, and the lag vanishes… what else can one do to help an independent musician?
Why not use those gift certificates to buy music from Second Life musicians, I thought. So, I posted on my blog asking for suggestions, and I got a bunch of names of folks. Others commented that they were going to do the same thing with their gift certificates, which got me to wondering if this could be useful to others.
The next holiday season, I cleared some space and put out the call for musicians with music for sale on iTunes. I opened things up to musicians with music on Amazon because that also used gift certificates. Yeah, it’s the obsessive-compulsive in me that wants to collect information and organize it and share it for others to use. SL seems to attract that breed of dog. I did it for podcasters way back in the “Golden Age Of SL Podcasting” and then moved it over the the Second Life Wiki for all to maintain when the buzz slowed down.
Anyway, step by step, things opened up a bit more: CDBaby™, Facebook™, Twitter™, MySpace™, websites and blogs… whatever people could use to learn more about their favorite musicians and how to buy their music, I added to the build. (Okay, so I had to open it up to all online sales options because my sister sells her band’s CD direct. Who am I to say “No” to her?) Heck, M Linden called it one of his favorite things in his wrap up of 2008. How’s that for making a splash?
While sliding prims around and pulling my hair out over LSL errors, I also added all this stuff to the website, which turned out to be a lot easier to maintain than the in-world build. Instead of having to go in-world to update a bunch of prims and shift them around and whatnot, it was easier to just update my database and republish. For a while, I announced new additions and various special deals that Amazon and iTunes were offering over a subscribeomatic, but that only got out so far and a lot of people who I thought needed to be on the list weren’t tracking it. So, I folded that and went for the easier-to-follow Twitter instead. (Account name: @TunesInSL)
I also did some giveaways alongside the Treet.tv show Live n Kickin, raffling off a gift certificate for the featured performer that week. Gave away a dozen or so, which in a way trickles down to the performer through royalties and such, right? Everybody gets something for it.
Now, I’m expanding things to include bios, genres, and any other information that will help people choose a musician for a particular venue or event, or track their gigs and new releases through the social network of their choice. I’m also expanding things to all musicians in Second Life, whether they have music for sale or not. After all, not everyone has published their music through a label and gotten listed at the major distribution sites, and the more information available to the venue operators and fans will make it easier for all.
Unbiased Off Grid Representation
Heck, I just got an request from Hexx Triskadecaphobia and Silas Scarborough today to add performer Ustream URLs for those who stream video on the web in RL simulcasts with their SL gigs. So, if folks have those, I’ll add them too. So if it’s a project to help Second Life musicians, why am I not running an in-world build for it anymore?
Shuttering the in-world locations is a matter of convenience for me and the fans. It took longer to update the in-world storefronts than updating the website, but it’s also more convenient for someone to browse the site while listening to the musicians or wandering the grid than to have to go to a specific place and navigate around.
Plus, it keeps the site independent and unbiased. If the build is attached to some venue or another, then there’s the potential for accusations of unfair advertising for a rival venue. Accusations means drama, and folks don’t want drama. Anyway, that’s how the site’s evolved over the past two years. Where am I going with it?
I’m going to work on the formatting so that Google calendar schedules appear on the individual entries, maybe widgets for their Twitter feeds. But I also want to make it so that it all appears smoothly and comfortably in the Viewer browser so folks don’t have to fire off a separate browser if they have crashing issues. The simpler, the better.
Once web-on-a-prim gets some development going, maybe I’ll work on a kiosk that utilizes that functionality, but learning LSL when I’m handy with content management systems on the web is kinda kooky. Until I’m ready for it I’ll be sending out 1-prim signs pointing to the website. It doesn’t get simpler than rezzing the sign and putting it in a venue or performer’s home space. You’ve got a prim to spare on your parcel or sim, right?
Whatever Linden Lab has up their sleeve with the claims of making Musin a use-case for revisiting in 2010 or if it’s just going to get buzzworded to death like any other “killer ap” who knows? But if live music scenes start migrating to Blue Mars™ or other platforms and grids, whatever information the fans want and the performers share can be linked and published. Maybe others can build these things up for other groups, like machinima or storytellers or deejays or music venues.
All it takes is someone to look at the phrase “I support X in Second Life” and ask what else they can do to support it, right?
If people really want the immersive in-world shopping experience, they should go to the listening booths and SLCD sales area in TRAX. Bones Writer and Tangle Giano do excellent work there, and the SLCD’s can be played in-world as well as allow you to download tracks to your computer.
For more information visit the Tunes inSL Project online by clicking here. Subscribe to Twitter updates for Tunes inSL by following TunesInSL here.
Guest Post provided by Second Life resident, music fantatic, storyteller and comedian Crap Mariner.
Learn more by visiting his website.