Siren Systems fills us in on more details of today's announcement in a CDM interview. Check the press release, but the news boils down to this:
- US$50 buys you physical and online distribution plus promotion (just hope listeners dig your songs!), via CD Baby and its new flavors page and Soundflavor [see full CDM story]
- Via a new deal with MediaSpan, those songs will also be promoted on a nationwide radio network
- Friendster founder Johnathan Abrams is joining Siren's Board of Advisors
Is it Friendster for music? I talked to Siren's CEO/CTO Steven Skrzyniarz to find out more.
Any success stories so far with this technology?
Sure. First, we receive plenty of email from our users, as well
as from the artists listed in Soundflavor. One of the larger trends
we're seeing is people using Soundflavor recommendations as a way of
filtering the iTunes store for more music that they'll like, based on
the playlists they've created. Soundflavor offers preview clips
for most of the songs we recommend, and links directly into iTunes for
purchase, making browsing more conveninent than combing through iTunes
directly. Our users are also responding positively to our New
Music Alerts, which notify them via email when new songs arrive in
Soundflavor which complement their playlists.
When we first began experimenting with marketing independent bands via
our system a year ago, we were surprised to find that a relatively
unknown band ranked among the most heavilly previewed bands on our site
for a couple of weeks running. The band sent us a note saying that they
loved us, and that "in the new digital world, it's all about a good
filter." Since then we've gotten interest in Soundflavor from all
sorts of bands — from undiscovered to big names — looking for another
way to reach an audience online. Today, we're announcing our Get
Found! program (in partnership with CD Baby), which offers a low-cost
combined marketing and distribution package to independent artists.
The first test deployment of our technology was in partnership with
KRock in New York City, one of the biggest rock radio stations in the
country. We wanted to see if playlist creation and sharing, driven by
personalized music recommendations, could be effective in building
community online with a terrestrial audience. We created a co-branded
version of Soundflavor.com in KRock's color scheme and with their logo,
and loosely integrated it with the station's website, and tuned many of
our features with the help of the KRock audience. To date, thousands of
KRock fans are active members of Soundflavor. Our successes here, in
part, layed the groundwork for the MediaSpan deal.
We've been evaluated in a head-to-head "bakeoff" against three of the
other recommendation technologies out there by one of the most
recognized names in digital music, and we took top honors. I wish I
could be more specific, but we expect to announce some significant
deals in the coming months. We're just getting rolling.
What kinds of radio stations does the MediaSpan system include? How would you actually find the music there on those sites?
MediaSpan services a pretty wide range of stations spanning many
formats (rock, alternative, jazz, etc), including Infinity Radio,
Citadel, ABC Radio Networks, Entercom, Radio One, and the Armed Forces
Radio Network. They create websites for radio stations, and offer
them products to help the stations understand their listeners, and to
keep listeners informed and engaged. MediaSpan will be offering
customized versions of our Soundflavor website to their stations as a
way to enable the stations to offer community, personalization, and
music sampling and purchasing to their listeners. In addition,
the stations may use our Get Found! program as a way of promoting local
In terms of the user model, the co-branded sites will be similar to our
Soundflavor.com demo site, although customized to reflect the identity
of the station. Station listeners will be able to create and
share playlists, get song recommendations, sample, and purchase music
all from within the new website. We limit the content for each
station's site to music which roughly fits the station's format.
No need to recommend indie rock to an audience looking for classic
How does this compare to the system in tools like GarageBand.com? (CDM covered that site's deal with MSN Music last month.)
Our services complement those offered by GarageBand.com.
GarageBand offers a laundry list of helpful services to bands,
including keeping track of how they're doing in the popular
charts. However, Siren Systems is the only company offering
artists the ability to market their songs as personalized
recommendations to listeners, based on the contents of their
playlists. It's one thing to point out that a band is
popular. It's another thing entirely to say, "this band's song,
Tonight, will work perfectly for that romantic dinner mix you're
creating – click here to sample, click here to add it to your playlist,
and if you like it, click here to purchase."
Our Get Found! program, announced today in a deal with CD Baby,
combines marketing and distribution in a simple package. $49.95
buys independent artists and labels the ability to list up to five
songs from any CD in the Soundflavor engine; as well as physical and
online distribution of their CD's and digital tracks, a custom
marketing page, and two-minute clips of their songs via CD Baby.
Artists whose CD's are already carried by CD Baby may list up to five
songs in Soundflavor for $24.95. It's a new, and extremely
cost-effective, way to both reach an audience which might otherwise
never hear of you, and to ensure that you get fair — and wide —
We view this as just the beginning in the new marketing programs we can extend to independent artists and labels.
We'll keep on this. In the meantime, I'd love to hear from folks who
are out there on these services. What has your experience been? (And I
guess I'd better get going and put my own music out there, too — stay