by Tyler Hayes
Everyday there’s a new service, a new site, something remixing two different things to be the thing of a different thing. What is Instagram? It’s the Twitter of pictures. What is Hulu? It’s the Netflix of TV. You get the idea. Everyday there’s a new music service that threatens to be the savior of the industry. The service that, with just enough users, could change everything. Too often though, promises are made only to be broken later. So, which music service are worth getting excited about, which ones may actually change things? The results may surprise you.
First, is We Are Hunted. The company, with an interesting name, does many things in the music space including developing apps on Spotify, iOS, Android and Facebook. The more interesting thing they do though is music discovery. When you type wearehunted . com, you’re presented with a grid of number pictures of bands/artists. This is the internet’s chart for emerging artists, though they also have mainstream and genre charts. How does We Are Hunted get their rankings? They listen to the internet by importing RSS feeds, scrapping music sites, looking on social sites and message boards to see who people are talking about. Instead of randomly polling people or seeing what radio stations are playing this is up to date info on which artist is actually on the tips of people’s tongue. Visually attractive and socially relevant, this is how organic music discovery should be done. On top of everything else, the company also puts out artist research [charts] each month that look at more than 200,000 music articles and 12 million tweets.
What about Spotify and Rdio? They’re definitely game changing services, letting people sample whole songs without paying money, but they’re evolutionary and predictable. Spotify is also currently losing money on the endeavor making it seem less practical as something sustainable. Will we continue to buy our music individually forever? That remains to be seen.
More interesting, I think, are these services behind the services. The Echo Nest is one of those types of companies using it’s technology to power over 300 music apps ranging from The Pitchfork Effect to Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio. The Echo Nest, similarly to We Are Hunted, is constantly reading the internet about different music, but they are doing so to see how different artists are being described and compared. I briefly touched on this in their description, but why would consumers care about The Echo Nest? Because they enable anyone, or any developer at least to compete on ideas. Small or large, a company can put their music app into practice by using The Echo Nest’s data rather than have to go out and mine for it individually. This opens up the doors for a lot of interesting products consumers will be able to connect with.
Next Big Sound is also a company behind the scenes that primarily artists, labels or managers would deal with. The company deals with online analytics seeing how popular artists are on the social web and in the process are taking on the industry giant Nielsen SoundScan. There’s not a lot more to say right now, but definitely keep an eye on Next Big Sound as they recently raised 6.5 million in funding.
The Spotify and Pandora’s of the music industry get the most attention because they directly connect with the consumer by replacing terrestrial radio or, in Spotify’s case, replace piracy. Digging slightly deeper though you find services like We Are Hunted that are both visually and informationally rich. So which are the best music services that are likely to change the industry? Your guess is as good as mine and chances are it’s not one people saw coming. You can bet though it will have some component of the companies mentioned.