Archive for February, 2011

Just talked to Paul Campbell, our chief operating officer. He and SVP for Business Development Stephanie Miller just got back from Nashville, where they continue to build solid relationships that help accelerate FargoTube’s growth.

One of their meetings was with Will Carter, CEO of Music Starts Here. The organization describes itself as

“Nashville’s community, city and industry-sponsored initiative designed to help artists, songwriters, musicians, technicians and industry professionals (‘Musers’) simplify and streamline the craft and business of making music in and through Music City. To provide an ongoing, relevant and comprehensive resource portal for those looking to pursue their goals and dreams in music helps musicians get into the scene and after they arrive from elsewhere.”

Part of that, of course, is building a financially sustainable career, which is where FargoTube comes in.

Music Starts Here has produced 400+ video tutorials for Nashville newcomers across a wide range of topics. Music Starts here currently pays to deliver these videos via VIMEO, but will begin shifting to FargoTube. With our platform, Music Starts Here can reduce its costs, while creating a new business model that helps it to expand its activities that support young artists. Plans are to deliver some videos free of charge for promotional purposes, while providing more in-depth interviews and workshops on a pay-per-view basis.

Working with MusicStartsHere is exciting and energizing. The organization’s interest in FargoTube is also validation that our platform is the most useful and flexible in giving its customers in the entertainment industries the tools necessary to support and expand their businesses.

Of course, Paul and Stephanie also met with a range of songwriters, producers and musicians in Nashville, including representatives from the label of a country musician who has sold more than 10 million records during his career. We’ll let you know what comes out of those discussions.

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We and several of our partners in the indie music industry are gearing up for a series of monthly contests for the musicians who play Open Mic Mondays at Eddie’s Attic, the iconic acoustic music venue near Atlanta. Many of last week’s open mic performances are already up at www.EddiesAttic.FargoTube.com; the new contests are aimed at getting 100 percent artist participation and encouraging even more fans onto the platform.

This is our first initiative with strategic partners to bring both new artists and new buyers to FargoTube. Like other initiatives to follow, it highlights the ecosystem we’re creating for artists, an entire range of do-it-yourself tools that help them accelerate their careers in terms of popularity and profitability.

In the contests with “The Attic,” we’re selecting three monthly winners from the artists whose Monday-night performances are on FargoTube, based on the total number of views each artist receives. Approximately 20 new artists play each week during the Monday-night shows. They range from talented local amateurs to professional musicians with multiple albums and regular touring schedules.

Each month, each of the three top artists at www.EddiesAttic.FargoTube.com will receive one of the following prizes:

  • One day of recording time at Bonnie Blue Studios in Sharpsville, Georgia. (Artists retain the master copies of their recordings.)
  • A two-hour consultation with career consultant Dennis Kurtz, of Showgun Entertainment. Kurtz has more than 20 years of experience as a jazz musician, agent and talent buyer. He has worked with Cake, Backstreet Boys and Travis Tritt.
  • A free subscription to Music2Q, a unique agency that specializes and pitching and licensing tracks to film, television and video game producers.

We’ve built out FargoTube’s partnerships substantially over the last few months, creating a full array of services for indie artists and increasing FargoTube’s visibility among tens of thousands of bands already using those partners.  We look forward to sharing success with all of them in the coming years, and to sharing the news of that success with you.

A partnership we just signed for FargoTube continues to build out its ecosystem of profitability, creativity and connection for musicians.  The company is Gig Launch, a unique online booking agency based near Perth that connects musicians with promoters and concert venues throughout Australia and beyond.

FargoTube has a growing web of such partnerships. Our partnership with Ditto Music helps do-it-yourself artists and indie labels get into global music distribution through iTunes and other online music stores. The partnership we recently signed with Music2Q helps them license their music for films, TV shows and video games. And musicians who play at Atlanta’s renowned Eddie’s Attic now have an online venue for selling recordings of live performances.

The partnership with Gig Launch helps musicians gain live exposure by promoting their music via live shows and contests.

We plan to continue expanding this web so that musicians and other independent entertainers and copyright owners can keep expanding their fan bases and their revenue streams.

F3 makes a point of continually revising and updating all three of its major platforms. Most recently, that has meant adding several new features to Interaction Community Systems. ICS now has everything from accounting and babysitting requests to recipe lists and video galleries. You can see several user views in this screenshot gallery.

We’re also adding new tools that allow professionals to manage multiple communities simply and efficiently. You can see these and other features of ICS’s management platform here.

It was a big week in the world of online video, particularly among the biggest players. Amazon began posting information on new features it’s planning to add to its video-on-demand service, including a subscription plan. Netflix said it’s planning new features in conjunction with Facebook. And Hulu, a studio-backed site offering a limited range of television shows free of charge, said nearly 1 million people had registered for its relatively new subscription service.

All of this strikes me as clear evidence that more people are spending more and more time watching videos online, and want to integrate this viewing into the rest of their daily routines, which also include more time spent online.

It also reinforces our confidence that our FargoTube online video/music platform will continue to grow and thrive because FargoTube is an online video provider like these large media companies. FargoTube has an especially promising future because of its more extensive interactivity, which is aimed at independent musicians, video producers and their fans.

For me, the week’s most interesting piece of news was from NetFlix. The company, which dominates the U.S. DVD-by-mail market and has become one of the nation’s largest services for streaming Hollywood movies, hasn’t given much detail about the integration with Facebook, but I’m guessing it includes the ability to post movie ratings and comments to users’ Facebook pages, which NetFlix dialed back and then eliminated last year. It was a great feature and I hope it comes back, although it didn’t give users special access to artists the way FargoTube does.

A common thread in the news about these large online media services since last year is that they seem to be moving more and more aggressively onto each others’ turf. That makes me wonder whether any one of them will maintain the uniqueness it needs to retain customers, or whether price competition might hurt one or more of them.

In contrast, FargoTube’s unique format, the social networks centered on its entertainment content – and the resulting digital marketplace experience – are features that aren’t available anywhere else. As using the Internet and enjoying entertainment media become more and more synonymous, FargoTube is right at the intersection of creativity, commerce and fun.