Hello from Monster Loop.
First, before starting this new series, we promised answers to our Quiz “Electronica Artist: Real or Fake?”. So, which ones were real? The answers are: (1) Mr. D.O.B., (2) Baraba Vs PsyZone, (3) DJ Spooky, (4) Haywyre, and (5) Mr. Raw Brainyak.
Now, upward and onward. In our last post titled “Record Label,” we mentioned that we were distracted by discussions “related to” a Record Label. We used the words “related to” because Monster Loop has been in exploratory discussions with several individuals for the purpose of forming a new record label. And, in fact, much progress was made. Based on these discussions, we are going to move forward.
Because of this development, we thought our readers would be interested in taking this little journey with us. As we move forward, we will relay in this blog how this endeavor is proceeding – what obstacles we run into, what challenges we face and, hopefully, what successes the label enjoys. One of the first steps, of course, is further educating ourselves on the current state of the music industry. So the first thing we are doing is spending a great deal of time reading and, frankly, studying.
Someone may ask, “If you are forming a record label, is it in your interest to publicly reveal what you are doing in this blog. After all, it is by nature a somewhat competitive endeavor, in a business sense.” This doesn’t concern us. There’s enough money in the universe to go around. We have a philosophy which comes out a bit in our song “Karanan” that, when one follows his/her True Purpose/Will, nothing can really stop them – they have the inertia of the universe to assist them. That is, we believe that everyone has a True purpose, and it is consistent with everyone else’s True purpose. We believe that, generally speaking, when one runs into obstacles, it is because one or the other person is not following their True Will. This is, of course, an overly simplistic explanation and we believe many other factors come into play (karmic lessons, etc.) Assuming we are correct in this belief, there is nothing to fear. In fact, the only thing to “fear,” is not summoning the courage to identify and follow one’s true purpose.
But enough philosophy. Stay tuned. We invite you to be voyeurs in our journey.
Patrick from Monster Loop
The last couple days we at Monster Loop have been slightly distracted. We are in the midst of discussions related to a Record Label. More will be reported tomorrow. None of this, of course, impacts the Blog. In fact, we hope it will make it more interesting as we go down this road.
Comment Monster Loop received Tuesday evening, November 22, 2011, from ReverbNation Chief Operating Officer (“COO”), Jed Carlson, in response to a recent Monster Loop Post we titled “Facebook & Connection to Reverbnation Electronica Charts” (you can also view it there by going to this post and selecting beneath it, “3 Comments”)
Jed Carlson on 11.22.2011
You are one of the most astute bloggers I have ever read on this subject (I’m not just blowing sunshine…). There is indeed a correlation between your facebook activity and the Reverb Charts. Facebook likes are one dozens of inputs we use in our proprietary “Band Equity Score” algorithm that drives or charts.
Furthermore, we are in complete agreement that ‘talking about this’ and its ratio to total likes is a great way to understand an artist’s current “buzz”. We have been so interested in this ratio since facebook made it available that we are considering ways to fold it into our Band Equity calculation in the near future.
Thanks for observing this, and thanks for being such a perceptive social marketer. We must be kindred spirits in some way.
So then we, of course, replied:
Patrick Henry on 11.23.2011
Thank you for your incredibly thoughtful message. We’ve come to realize – and we expect that many of our readers who also record music would agree – that Reverbnation is genuinely and tirelessly dedicated to promoting emerging independent artists and – equally important – provides incomporable customer service! (anyone who has interacted with Reverbnation’s extraordinary Patrick Phelan knows what we’re talking about) And we’re not just blowing sunshine…!
Why do we say this? It’s based on our personal experience with a near-tragic musical event (to us) that took place in the 1990s. In the late 1980′s, thanks to some incredibly talented electronic musicians in Chicago, Frankfurt, Brussels, Antwerp, London, Manchester and a few other cities, electronic music exploded in terms of its quality and growth. Record labels took notice and, scrambling to monetize this emerging trend, began signing electronic artists left and right. We don’t blame them. The problem was, the labels’ A&R scouts had, understandably, little knowledge of the genre. They largely lacked the ability to discern the quality electronic music from the … well, the lesser quality. At that time, there was no option to download just 1 track, so you had to buy an entire CD making the purchase a crap shoot. And while potential fans of the genre were being turned off by some unfortunate CD purchases, the Seattle music scene exploded. And, at least in the US, electronic music largely stalled.
The confluence of these and other factors nearly destroyed Electronica (called “Techno” at the time) – at least in the US. In short, Techno had acquired a reputation for low quality. A well deserved reputation in fact. There were, however, very talented artists, but they were drowned out by the sheer volume of artists producing music that showed little signs of quality craftsmanship. The labels then resorted to appealing to the basest of human desires – sex. CD covers featured scantily clad women. The labels must have reasoned, “We don’t know whether the music is any good, but we know what a beautiful woman looks like.” It was a short-sighted approach and, ironically, CD cover art soon became a proxy to identify quality music. The “rule” was – if the cover had a scantily clad woman, the music was bad. Artists developed graphic design skills as a sign to knowing purchasers. This was how Aphex Twin and Rapoon, for example, broke through.
Fast forward to the present. We (Monster Loop) want to now help identify and promote artists who produce quality electronic music. And that’s why we like Reverbnation. We believe that Reverbnation is genuinely attempting to promote quality lesser known acts. Another thing we have in common is that it is Reverbnation’s stated goal to promote all artists. Monster Loop believes that each person (or artist/band) has it within themselves to produce extraordinary and powerfully unique music. We believe there are, at root, only two kinds of music: (1) good and (2) bad. What is good music? Good music is music that is an authentic expression of the artist. What is bad music? Music that is NOT an authentic expression of its creator. Maybe the artists doesn’t know him/herself well, maybe they are being lazy, maybe they are deluded by ego – who knows? But they have it within themselves to be as extraordinary as Pink Floyd – yes, we honestly believe that. Pink Floyd is, in our mind, extraordinary BECAUSE it knows itself and maximized its potential. And kudos to them for doing so – no easy task!!
We will continue to monitor Reverbnation Jed. We believe in Reverbnation and have high hopes. Reverbnation is helping artists be discovered and, in fact, helping artists be more fully themselves by developing technology that provides extraordinary feedback. We encourage you to read, if you haven’t already, our 10 part series on the Reverbnation rankings and our 5 person focus group. One thing that emerges from that small focus group study we believe, is that the Reverbnation rankings methodology – while light years ahead of our rankings services we’ve seen – would be improved if it could somehow incorporate a subjective element. There are some extraordinary artists lower in the Electronica rankings because they don’t perform (and hence have fewer fans) and/or don’t market themselves effectively – instead they stay in their home and record record record. How do we identify those? Is there a way, for example, to have artists anonymously judge a designated number of tracks? We’re still thinking through this. “Stickleback” “Burning in Noise” “Laura Escude” and “Going after Zen” would make interesting studies for you. They aren’t doing poorly in the rankings but, for those with a trained ear in the genre, their music is simply EXTRAORDINARY. Judge for yourself. How do we further promote these artists?
Good luck to you and your company. You have the potential to affect the future of music – in fact, you are shaping it now. This is about more than money, and we believe you get that. It’s about something that transcends profit – the legacy we leave behind. It is an awesome responsibility and we have faith in you.
Attorney (licensed in NC by the way!), Accountant, Engineer, Artist, and Musician in Monster Loop
Jed Carlson kindly responds again:
Jed Carlson on 11.23.2011
We are humbled by your faith in us, and we do indeed subscribe to the same ideals held by Monster Loop. Let me give some thought to your suggestions about the Band Equity Score and the chart ranking system.
Thanks for the note about Patrick Phelan, I will make sure he gets your feedback and that it is reflected on his already stellar record of customer service here at RN.
If you are ever planning to be in NC, you MUST drop by our office in Durham so we can meet in person.
All the best,
We appreciate that Reverbnation’s co-founder and Chief Operating Officer, Jed Carlson, would take the time to read our post on Reverbnation, and respond. What a great guy! And, yes Jed, the next time I am down that way I will in fact stop by. I spent many years in North Carolina where I practiced law and worked in Big-4 public accounting, and it has a special place in my heart.
Hello from Monsterloop. This blog entry was not planned; it’s in reponse to an email from two fans from California who were responding to a recent post.
Quick background: In that post, we talked about the connection between the Reverbnation Global Rankings for Electronic Music Bands and Facebook “Likes.” We briefly talked about Facebook’s new feature (which it is actively promoting) – “Talking About,” which relates to how much people who visit a Facebook Band site are “talking about” that Band. As we mentioned, “Talked About” was somewhat equivalent to Reverbnation’s counterbalancing the number of a band’s fans with how recently the Band acquired those fans. In short, “Talking About”, on Facebook, looks to how currently active a Band’s fans are. Soon after, we received this interesting email which we’re pasting below:
Dear Monster Loop, Greetings from Santa Cruz California. We’re writing this email in response to your post about Facebook likes and connect [sic] to the Reverb rankings. You mentioned that that the new Facebook [Talking About This] feature measures how hot a band is. That’s one way to look at it. We hear Facebook’s getting some pressure to better explain itself the metrics it keeps rolling out. The Talking About This metric is suppose to measure how engaging and interesting or intriguing a band is. We hear Facebook is trying to encourage bands to connect with their fans and they want to discourage bands from sticking up a music player and a couple glossy photos and then disappearing into the night to go drink champagne. So it’s more than just what’s current or, as like you put it, hot. It’s a kind of measure of how tight the band is with fans. It’s one thing to like the music. It’s another to like the Band. It’s yet another thing for the Band to like it’s fans, which this new metric somewhat reflects, if that makes sense.
After reading your post, we were curious how well some of our favorite artists would score in the Talks About percentage formula you wrote about. Turns out percentages were pretty low [ML note: the percentage of fans who like an artist who are also talking about them]. Most artists were around 1 percent. Many artists didn’t have a Facebook page but most did. Being computer geeks, we of course ran a program to calculate how engaging the artists are who are currently in the Reverbnation Global Top 500 for Electronica. We only included an artist if they had at least 100 Facebook Likes. You might find these results interesting, because you guys came out on top. Best, Kyle & Mike
(Monster Loop again) Thanks Guys – we appreciate the email! Our initial reaction is, the fact that we have fans that would send this email is evidence enough of how great our fans are! We did not independently validate each number but, before posting we did spot check around 15 or so and they checked out so we went ahead with the post. Oh, please note that, although this isn’t a big deal, the number of Facebook “Likes” reflected on our Reverbnation band page is incorrect – there’s some glitch in the data feed from Facebook to Reverbnation. The number reflected on our Monster Loop facebook page (which our friends in Santa Cruz used), however, should be correct. We did notice “Virginia” listed as a country which the fine people of that Colonial State may appreciate, but other than that – the list seems legit. William and I aren’t really sure what to make of the attached statistics, but we are happy and grateful to have any sort of connection to our fans, WHO WE REALLY LIKE. Later!
Oh we are having fun with this post! Below, we are posting cover art for 12 Electronic Music Artists. Or are we? Yes, there’s a catch – actually only 5 of the 12 below are real Electronica bands – the other 7 are fakes Monster Loop cooked up (quite enjoying this little art project btw). Click on the image to get a closer look.
Which 5 are for real? How well do you know Electronica? See if you can guess the legitimate 5 Electronic Music artists - without Googling, and we’ll reveal the answers in our next post. Good luck!
Hello there. We mentioned in a prior blog (we think) that Monster Loop was selected to be featured on the Windows Media Guide. On our www.monsterloop.com homepage (or click on “Monster Loop” at the top/center of this page) we have a place where you can vote – you can choose up to 3 tracks.
As of an hour or so ago, we had around 46 votes. So, first, to those who have voted – THANK YOU (results so far are below). But, totally independent of this Windows Media Guide thing, we appreciate your vote in that we find it to be valuable feedback. For those reading this blog who also happen to also record music, we’re sure you can relate to this – it’s easy to get locked into your own private band world when creating/producing the music. And while that is a necessary part of the process, it is also hazardous.
We (Monster Loop) personally believe – and we’re not alone in this view of course – that the “best” music is created when the artist is focused on expressing something deep inside themselves – rather than just trying to give an audience what the artist thinks the audience wants. Our philosophy is that, what an audience probably wants to hear is an artist’s authentic expression of the artist. That is the power of a song. We mention that because the purpose of our soliciting feedback is that when we (or any artist we suppose) engage in this creative music-making process… creating music or creating any sort of art… it’s easy to “drink from your own Kool-Aid,” so to speak. What we mean is, sometimes an artist needs a fellow human being to give them objective feedback – for many reasons. One reason is, it’s easy for an artist to, unconsciously, be led astray from themselves. Huh?
Let us clarify this peculiar statement. As strange as this may sound, we believe an artist can easily lose themselves in the creative process. Everyone has biases that sometimes act as blinders. Pride/ego may be the biggest. Friends telling you how great you are. And when you get feedback – true, honest feedback, well, it is a bit like a GPS device if done right in that it assists the artist in staying on the artist’s true path. In fact, we think that’s the very “purpose” of a fan! For us, a fan isn’t someone to stroke your ego. No one really needs that. Another thing is, Recording Artists sometimes get it stuck in their head that (fill in the blank) is their absolute best song – maybe it has to do with the politics of the band. And that’s one place where fans come in handy. A fan is someone who knows a bit about the artist and his/her work, appreciates it, and, in a sense, helps that artist become their True Artistic Selves. In short, we think a fan is a vital part of the creative process.
Okay, enough of our soap box for today!
A few days ago we posted 4 images of artwork featured on Reverbnation by various Electronica artists. At the time, however, we did not reveal which band was associated with each image. Well here are the answers. Click on the image to enlarge and we also recommend checking out these artists on Reverbnation. Support the spread of Electronica!
We (Monster Loop) noticed something this morning we thought our readers might find interesting. It has to do with the relationship between the number of “Facebook Likes” an artist has on the artist’s Facebook Band Page and that artist’s rank on the Reverbnation Global Electronica Charts. A picture is worth a thousand words, so check out the following, which is self-explanatory:
Notice any connection here?
Of course you do. We found this connection interesting. And here’s a related point we thought was interesting. On a Band’s Facebook page, in addition to the “Like” feature, there is also a metric called Talking About.”
What does “Facebook – Talking About” mean?
According to Facebook, its “Talking About” is a number that is designed to measure a Band’s fans:
- “Liking” the Band’s Page;
- Posting to the Band’s Page’s Wall;
- Commenting or sharing the Band’s posts or other content (e.g., photos, videos, albums) on that person’s page;
- Answering a question the Band may have posted, or RSVP-ing to one of its events;
- Mentioning or tagging the Band’s Page; or
- Simply checking in at the Band’s Page.
In theory, if someone “Likes” a Band, these are activities one might logically expect that fan to do. But do they, and what’s the point here? Does “Talking About” matter?
Apparently, yes, “Talking About” matters, and here’s why. Facebook page impressions are purportedly driven by a Facebook algorithm, known as “Edgerank” that determines whether or not to display a post on the wall of a fan. And this is where “Talking About” comes in. In short, “Talking About” is to Facebook what “Recency” is to the Reverbnation Music Charts - it helps Facebook/Reverbnation measure what is currently hot. For example, a band on Facebook that, for example, generated a large number of “Likes” some time ago cannot simply coast on these “Likes.” Otherwise, Michael Jackson might still be #1 on the Pop Charts, right? Don’t answer that.
So one’s “Talking About” numbers and, more significantly, one’s “Talking About Percentage,” are highly important. To arrive at one’s Talking About Percentage, you simply take the Band’s “Talking About” number and divide it by the Band’s number of “Likes” – both of which should appear on the Band’s page. The higher that “Talking About Percentage,” the more current/hot the Artist is supposed to be. In theory, anyway.
So we did a quick Talking About Percentage calculation for the artists included in the graphic above and, for good measure, threw ourselves in the mix. We were pleasantly startled when we got the following result:
I personally was sufficiently surprised to spit up a fair amount of coffee on my freshly pressed white shirt. It was not graceful and I’m glad you didn’t see it. This Talking About Percentage, of course, shifts a lot – in fact, that’s the whole point of it. But we at Monster Loop wanted to say to our fans – Thank You for talking about us. As Oscar Wilde once said, “The only thing worse than being talked about, is not being talked about.” For however long it lasts, we appreciate it.
If you’ve been following our posts lately, you’ve read all or part of our 10-part series discussing the way Reverbnation ranks top, emerging Electronica artists throughout the globe. You probably also read comments from our 5 judges. William and I have, ourselves, talked a lot about the results and the comments from our focus group. In fact, we’re preparing a post with some of our own observations and conclusions.
In the meantime, we wanted to share with you some examples of great Electronica cover art. We’re going to post 4 images done by various Electronica artists from around the world. We’ll let you see if you can guess who they are and, in the next post, we’ll reveal the answers.
FRIENDS OF MONSTER LOOP – WE HAVE GREAT NEWS!
Monster Loop has just been selected to be the featured artist on the front page of Reverbnation for one week. But that’s not all. We were also selected to be the featured Electronica artist on the Windows Media Guide!
What does this mean? It means WE NEED YOU!
We need you to tell us which song to feature on the Windows Media Guide. WE ONLY GET TO POST ONE SONG! Here’s how you can help… Please select your favorite 3 Monster Loop tracks on our home page (click on “Monster Loop”, at the top of the page) Thanks.
So long for now, from the Fairmont in San Francisco. We’re digging this place.