market

For most music producers, managing media involves scattered files on hard drives and the occasional file transfer service. There are now three fresh big players vying to convince you to start uploading, managing, and collaborating on music production online.

Unlike most music technology products, traditional bootstrapped affairs involving selling software or hardware, these companies have the Internet – and startup culture and funding – in their DNA. And they’re fundamentally services. blend.io is a Dropbox-powered tool that focuses primarily on collaboration, and began its life in Manhattan incubator betaworks. On the two coasts, two other companies have millions of dollars in venture money behind each of them. New York’s Splice emphasizes the collaborative process and deep integration with DAWs. LA-based Gobbler pitches collaboration, too, but also easier file management and backup.

Brainless backup or easier collaboration outside the studio are already good reasons to consider these services. (I’m working on some hands-on reviews now, as I do, believe it or not, sometimes create digital music myself.) But Blend last week suggested another reason: you could earn money on remixes or samples once they’re uploaded. The offering is something called the Blend market:

https://blend.io/market

In an announcement published to Medium, Blend makes a two-pronged case for why you ought to do this.

One, they say that there isn’t yet a way to easily sell music in an interactive format. That’s essentially true: most online shops right now are set up to sell tracks, not stems, let alone more aid in selling and managing sophisticated project files. The somewhat tepid response to the remix contests everyone seems to be staging constantly might indicate that something is missing here.

Two, they argue there’s no good way to track who’s working with those materials and where the music is going. Here, the assumption is that people will both buy your music on Blend and then upload the resulting remix to the same platform.

Payments are handled by Stripe, though that’s not an entirely global solution yet – right now it’s limited to the US, Canada, Australia, and most of Western Europe.

There are a few unique details here. You can very quickly get music online on the marketplace. Payments are by direct deposit – so no waiting. And you can see interaction, though I wonder if artists looking to create a lot of interaction will still want to choose free offerings.

Blend Market is unlikely to be the last word on this idea. It’s a bit peculiar that another long-running startup, SoundCloud, hasn’t worked out how to get in this game, for instance – and Blend’s rivals seem likely to be readying their own ideas.

And for now, what’s missing is content. The Market at launch appears to be exclusively sample packs. It also seems so far like general-purpose sample packs are what are gaining popularity. Look, for instance, to the success of Beatport’s Beatport Sounds section. An interesting trend to watch will be whether people really want to remix your track, or would rather you give them a nice collection of drum samples.

But there is reason to believe Blend could make a substantial offering here. Blend, like its rivals, demonstrates that having your assets in the cloud can solve several problems at once. Hard drive died? Restore from a backup. Find collaborators? Do it online, and track changes on the site. Music is done and you want it on iTunes, fast? The Blend Label offers distribution via various services (once you have 100 likes).

Just having a good product won’t be enough, though. Part of the staying power of SoundCloud, despite a lack of this sort of functionality and various user gripes, is that it simply has loads of users. If you just want lots of listeners – the biggest currency for musicians – it’s going to be the top choice. With collaboration, showcases, and now even selling tracks intended as the draw, you’ll still need lots of users.

Blend makes a good argument for why it’ll be useful; the next step is to demonstrate some material use. Now we get to watch this shake out.

http://blend.io

blendlaptop

  • I’m planning on using the Blend Market to release my Ableton library along with an album release (done thru usual channels (Bandcamp, iTunes, Spotify, SoundCloud) , but tracks will be on Blend as well).

    My use for the Market will be for the whole Library itself so all my presets, etc that you don’t get in a traditional stem pack.

    • Hospital

      Who cares?

  • I’m planning on using the Blend Market to release my Ableton library along with an album release (done thru usual channels (Bandcamp, iTunes, Spotify, SoundCloud) , but tracks will be on Blend as well).

    My use for the Market will be for the whole Library itself so all my presets, etc that you don’t get in a traditional stem pack.

    • Hospital

      Who cares?

  • I’m planning on using the Blend Market to release my Ableton library along with an album release (done thru usual channels (Bandcamp, iTunes, Spotify, SoundCloud) , but tracks will be on Blend as well).

    My use for the Market will be for the whole Library itself so all my presets, etc that you don’t get in a traditional stem pack.

    • Hospital

      Who cares?

  • Hospital

    Collab, Label and Marketplace… all in one place. Sorry but this will fail.

  • Hospital

    Collab, Label and Marketplace… all in one place. Sorry but this will fail.

  • Hospital

    Collab, Label and Marketplace… all in one place. Sorry but this will fail.

  • prrrrt

    Yeah, no. I’m not convinced by any of these arguments and I can add another one against the dropbox powered one, Condoleezza Rice, everyone’s not so favourite torture lady.

  • prrrrt

    Yeah, no. I’m not convinced by any of these arguments and I can add another one against the dropbox powered one, Condoleezza Rice, everyone’s not so favourite torture lady, as detailed here drop-dropbox.com/

  • prrrrt

    Yeah, no. I’m not convinced by any of these arguments and I can add another one against the dropbox powered one, Condoleezza Rice, everyone’s not so favourite torture lady, as detailed here drop-dropbox.com/

  • haszari

    Pretty tricky finding pricing info for these – could only find it for Gobbler. Consequently hard to evaluate what they’re offering…

    • Hi! PM at Blend here, happy to answer any questions you have. Here are the pricing tiers for Blend:

      – Free

      • haszari

        Looks like that got lost in the paste 🙂 !!

        Anyway bottom line (for me) is that the pricing and what you get should be spelled out clearly somewhere on the site.

        • No. Seriously. There’s one tier. Free.

          But will update our FAQ accordingly, as you mentioned.

          • haszari

            Cool, clearly I’m not getting it 🙂

            There’s always a “deal”: what user gets and what user gives, even if the pricing is free, and being upfront about that helps guys like me to be interested.

          • Ah, OK. You would need this: https://blend.io/product-tour + I’ll call out that all projects you publish on Blend are backed up for you & you can restore them at any time. Hope that helps.

          • haszari

            See, it sounds amazing to me now!

          • haszari

            How essential is dropbox? And how much dropbox storage space would a typical user need?

            Sounds like that’s the cost so far, but I’m still guessing.

          • Dropbox is required for publishing and pulling projects. A typical user is fine with the free 2GB that Dropbox offers. You don’t have to keep everything in your Dropbox, just use it as a temporary folder for projects you are transferring to and from Blend.

  • Pretty tricky finding pricing info for these – could only find it for Gobbler. Consequently hard to evaluate what they’re offering…

    • Hi! PM at Blend here, happy to answer any questions you have. Here are the pricing tiers for Blend:

      – Free

      • Looks like that got lost in the paste 🙂 !!

        Anyway bottom line (for me) is that the pricing and what you get should be spelled out clearly somewhere on the site.

        • No. Seriously. There’s one tier. Free.

          But will update our FAQ accordingly, as you mentioned.

          • Cool, clearly I’m not getting it 🙂

            There’s always a “deal”: what user gets and what user gives, even if the pricing is free, and being upfront about that helps guys like me to be interested.

            The home page does not have “how it works” or “FAQ” or “pricing” – makes it look like you have to sign up to find anything out, which feels like coercion.

          • Ah, OK. You would need this: https://blend.io/product-tour + I’ll call out that all projects you publish on Blend are backed up for you & you can restore them at any time. Hope that helps.

          • See, it sounds amazing to me now!

          • How essential is dropbox? And how much dropbox storage space would a typical user need?

            Sounds like that’s the cost so far, but I’m still guessing.

          • Dropbox is required for publishing and pulling projects. A typical user is fine with the free 2GB that Dropbox offers. You don’t have to keep everything in your Dropbox, just use it as a temporary folder for projects you are transferring to and from Blend.

  • Pretty tricky finding pricing info for these – could only find it for Gobbler. Consequently hard to evaluate what they’re offering…

    • Hi! PM at Blend here, happy to answer any questions you have. Here are the pricing tiers for Blend:

      – Free

      • Looks like that got lost in the paste 🙂 !!

        Anyway bottom line (for me) is that the pricing and what you get should be spelled out clearly somewhere on the site.

        • No. Seriously. There’s one tier. Free.

          But will update our FAQ accordingly, as you mentioned.

          • Cool, clearly I’m not getting it 🙂

            There’s always a “deal”: what user gets and what user gives, even if the pricing is free, and being upfront about that helps guys like me to be interested.

            The home page does not have “how it works” or “FAQ” or “pricing” – makes it look like you have to sign up to find anything out, which feels like coercion.

          • Ah, OK. You would need this: https://blend.io/product-tour + I’ll call out that all projects you publish on Blend are backed up for you & you can restore them at any time. Hope that helps.

          • See, it sounds amazing to me now!

          • How essential is dropbox? And how much dropbox storage space would a typical user need?

            Sounds like that’s the cost so far, but I’m still guessing.

          • Dropbox is required for publishing and pulling projects. A typical user is fine with the free 2GB that Dropbox offers. You don’t have to keep everything in your Dropbox, just use it as a temporary folder for projects you are transferring to and from Blend.

  • John

    Bah… On Blend you can only have two private projects. It’s useless for backup and file management, unless you don’t mind publishing your incomplete tracks.

    • John

      Also you can’t delete your profile.

  • John

    Bah… On Blend you can only have two private projects. It’s useless for backup and file management, unless you don’t mind publishing your incomplete tracks.

    • John

      Also you can’t delete your profile.

  • John

    Bah… On Blend you can only have two private projects. It’s useless for backup and file management, unless you don’t mind publishing your incomplete tracks.

    • John

      Also you can’t delete your profile.

  • John

    Gobler is mac only.

  • John

    Gobler is mac only.

  • John

    Gobler is mac only.

  • Charles

    I don’t understand the point of these things. Are there really a lot of musicians clamoring for better collaboration tools? I doubt it. And for those who do long-distance collaboration – which is still very likely to be with a friend rather than a stranger – there are existing generic filesharing tools that are just fine. If I want to send a friend a bunch of stems to work on, I don’t need to track what they do with the files; if I didn’t trust them, I wouldn’t collaborate with them. And I have zero interest in buying or selling “interactive” music. I don’t buy sample loops either. Maybe I’m missing something crucial, but it just seems like startup dorks saying “hmm, people like music and people like filesharing, how can we combine them and monetize?”

    • Lots of interesting innovations started by combining existing things in new ways, so I’m all for them trying to make this a success. I think there is a lot of potential in more refined collaboration, as opposed to just chucking a bunch of WAV files over the fence and calling it a day.

      • Charles

        Define “refined collaboration”. I can send a zip file to a friend containing a complete Ableton project with MIDI and audio, so I don’t get the WAV fence straw man.

        • In your previous comment you wrote sending stems to collaborators, that’s what I was referring to.
          An example of more refined collaboration would be that you don’t have to take turns working on the same project and wait for the other guy to send back his new revision. Both you and your partner could add new stuff or tweak the existing material without worrying about stepping on each other’s toes, because the collaboration software would offer a way to synchronize and merge your changes. Kind of like the difference between sending a Microsoft Word document back and forth via email and editing a shared document on Google Drive.

  • Charles

    I don’t understand the point of these things. Are there really a lot of musicians clamoring for better collaboration tools? I doubt it. And for those who do long-distance collaboration – which is still very likely to be with a friend rather than a stranger – there are existing generic filesharing tools that are just fine. If I want to send a friend a bunch of stems to work on, I don’t need to track what they do with the files; if I didn’t trust them, I wouldn’t collaborate with them. And I have zero interest in buying or selling “interactive” music. I don’t buy sample loops either. Maybe I’m missing something crucial, but it just seems like startup dorks saying “hmm, people like music and people like filesharing, how can we combine them and monetize?”

    • Lots of interesting innovations started by combining existing things in new ways, so I’m all for them trying to make this a success. I think there is a lot of potential in more refined collaboration, as opposed to just chucking a bunch of WAV files over the fence and calling it a day.

      • Charles

        Define “refined collaboration”. I can send a zip file to a friend containing a complete Ableton project with MIDI and audio, so I don’t get the WAV fence straw man.

        • In your previous comment you wrote sending stems to collaborators, that’s what I was referring to.
          An example of more refined collaboration would be that you don’t have to take turns working on the same project and wait for the other guy to send back his new revision. Both you and your partner could add new stuff or tweak the existing material without worrying about stepping on each other’s toes, because the collaboration software would offer a way to synchronize and merge your changes. Kind of like the difference between sending a Microsoft Word document back and forth via email and editing a shared document on Google Drive.

  • Charles

    I don’t understand the point of these things. Are there really a lot of musicians clamoring for better collaboration tools? I doubt it. And for those who do long-distance collaboration – which is still very likely to be with a friend rather than a stranger – there are existing generic filesharing tools that are just fine. If I want to send a friend a bunch of stems to work on, I don’t need to track what they do with the files; if I didn’t trust them, I wouldn’t collaborate with them. And I have zero interest in buying or selling “interactive” music. I don’t buy sample loops either. Maybe I’m missing something crucial, but it just seems like startup dorks saying “hmm, people like music and people like filesharing, how can we combine them and monetize?”

    • Lots of interesting innovations started by combining existing things in new ways, so I’m all for them trying to make this a success. I think there is a lot of potential in more refined collaboration, as opposed to just chucking a bunch of WAV files over the fence and calling it a day.

      • Charles

        Define “refined collaboration”. I can send a zip file to a friend containing a complete Ableton project with MIDI and audio, so I don’t get the WAV fence straw man.

        • In your previous comment you wrote sending stems to collaborators, that’s what I was referring to.
          An example of more refined collaboration would be that you don’t have to take turns working on the same project and wait for the other guy to send back his new revision. Both you and your partner could add new stuff or tweak the existing material without worrying about stepping on each other’s toes, because the collaboration software would offer a way to synchronize and merge your changes. Kind of like the difference between sending a Microsoft Word document back and forth via email and editing a shared document on Google Drive.

  • regend

    Remember in 1999 MH20? it was an “online” collaboration tool. They had virtual rooms where you could get together with other people globally and upload tracks to a server and use their online multitrack to mix tracks. Most people don’t care about what happened in 1999. Eliminate the “collabo” part and let’s compare Blend to something like goldbaby’s website. he sells his samples on the open market on his own website. Should goldbaby enter the Blend market place? I don’t think it is necessary because its easier to just go to the site, get a bunch of free goodies, and if you like it buy it. Back to the collabo part of using the internet. I’ve always liked just sending people emails and linking to download sites or making soundcloud links private to download stems.

    • Hi regend, PM at Blend here. We love goldbaby and would be happy to have him sell projects on Blend. Here are some features we offer that I think are worth considering:

      – Hosting your own store costs money (at the very least, yearly domain fee + monthly server costs), while selling on Blend costs nothing
      – Blend provides comprehensive & easy-to-use tools for seeing who buys what and getting in touch with them as needed
      – For anything you sell on Blend, you can easily embed the preview player on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc. and people can easily hear it, visit the product page on Blend and check out in seconds.

      Happy to hear your thoughts, and if you have questions feel free to reach out at support[at]blend[dot]io

      • Charles

        So where is Blend’s revenue stream coming from?

        • Hi Charles, Blend takes a standard 30% fee on all purchases made via the market.

  • regend

    Remember in 1999 MH20? it was an “online” collaboration tool. They had virtual rooms where you could get together with other people globally and upload tracks to a server and use their online multitrack to mix tracks. Most people don’t care about what happened in 1999. Eliminate the “collabo” part and let’s compare Blend to something like goldbaby’s website. he sells his samples on the open market on his own website. Should goldbaby enter the Blend market place? I don’t think it is necessary because its easier to just go to the site, get a bunch of free goodies, and if you like it buy it. Back to the collabo part of using the internet. I’ve always liked just sending people emails and linking to download sites or making soundcloud links private to download stems.

    • Hi regend, PM at Blend here. We love goldbaby and would be happy to have him sell projects on Blend. Here are some features we offer that I think are worth considering:

      – Hosting your own store costs money (at the very least, yearly domain fee + monthly server costs), while selling on Blend costs nothing
      – Blend provides comprehensive & easy-to-use tools for seeing who buys what and getting in touch with them as needed
      – For anything you sell on Blend, you can easily embed the preview player on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc. and people can easily hear it, visit the product page on Blend and check out in seconds.

      Happy to hear your thoughts, and if you have questions feel free to reach out at support[at]blend[dot]io

      • Charles

        So where is Blend’s revenue stream coming from?

        • Hi Charles, Blend takes a standard 30% fee on all purchases made via the market.

  • regend

    Remember in 1999 MH20? it was an “online” collaboration tool. They had virtual rooms where you could get together with other people globally and upload tracks to a server and use their online multitrack to mix tracks. Most people don’t care about what happened in 1999. Eliminate the “collabo” part and let’s compare Blend to something like goldbaby’s website. he sells his samples on the open market on his own website. Should goldbaby enter the Blend market place? I don’t think it is necessary because its easier to just go to the site, get a bunch of free goodies, and if you like it buy it. Back to the collabo part of using the internet. I’ve always liked just sending people emails and linking to download sites or making soundcloud links private to download stems.

    • Hi regend, PM at Blend here. We love goldbaby and would be happy to have him sell projects on Blend. Here are some features we offer that I think are worth considering:

      – Hosting your own store costs money (at the very least, yearly domain fee + monthly server costs), while selling on Blend costs nothing
      – Blend provides comprehensive & easy-to-use tools for seeing who buys what and getting in touch with them as needed
      – For anything you sell on Blend, you can easily embed the preview player on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc. and people can easily hear it, visit the product page on Blend and check out in seconds.

      Happy to hear your thoughts, and if you have questions feel free to reach out at support[at]blend[dot]io

      • Charles

        So where is Blend’s revenue stream coming from?

        • Hi Charles, Blend takes a standard 30% fee on all purchases made via the market.

  • Okay, everyone – repeat to yourself: it’s just a computer ad, from a computer company.

    My point was to pull back on the question of how you make a message about music creation.

    In fact, the only people really getting overly emotional about Apple in this thread are the ones who are … freaking out about Apple.

    And if music developers are focused on Apple platforms because it pays their bills and other paltforms don’t, then — you blame them? It’s winter. Mouths to feed. Heating to run and all that. So some of us don’t really have time to engage in existential crises about what brand of laptop we’re using.

    CDM has always covered every platform, hardware and software, open and closed, where there are things happening. I’m not excluding any one of them because certain people are in some sort of really bad mood, because, as it happens, I actually care more about music than brands.

  • Okay, everyone – repeat to yourself: it’s just a computer ad, from a computer company.

    My point was to pull back on the question of how you make a message about music creation.

    In fact, the only people really getting overly emotional about Apple in this thread are the ones who are … freaking out about Apple.

    And if music developers are focused on Apple platforms because it pays their bills and other paltforms don’t, then — you blame them? It’s winter. Mouths to feed. Heating to run and all that. So some of us don’t really have time to engage in existential crises about what brand of laptop we’re using.

    CDM has always covered every platform, hardware and software, open and closed, where there are things happening. I’m not excluding any one of them because certain people are in some sort of really bad mood, because, as it happens, I actually care more about music than brands.

  • Okay, everyone – repeat to yourself: it’s just a computer ad, from a computer company.

    My point was to pull back on the question of how you make a message about music creation.

    In fact, the only people really getting overly emotional about Apple in this thread are the ones who are … freaking out about Apple.

    And if music developers are focused on Apple platforms because it pays their bills and other paltforms don’t, then — you blame them? It’s winter. Mouths to feed. Heating to run and all that. So some of us don’t really have time to engage in existential crises about what brand of laptop we’re using.

    CDM has always covered every platform, hardware and software, open and closed, where there are things happening. I’m not excluding any one of them because certain people are in some sort of really bad mood, because, as it happens, I actually care more about music than brands.