Some very interesting things happened online today.Twitter launched a photo sharing service. Simfy beat Spotify to Facebook. Facebook’s behavior re: Pages brought some artists to reconsider their methods of fan interaction. Creative Commons is now on YouTube. Overall it was a great day of progress, introspection and optomism.
The Twitter photo sharing thing doesn’t suprise me, honestly. NPR did an exposé on Twitpic’s Terms and Conditions clause recently, which generated a bit of negative buzz. Even Ellen DeGeneres announced she would never TwitPic again. So naturally Twitter has seized an opportunity to play hero. More suprising is Simfy! Talk about the underdog. Nobody predicted this: German music streaming service Simfy launched their Facebook player just a week after news broke that Spotify was working on FB integration. Awesome.
So, is Facebook commandeering mid-level artists’ Pages? Some successful, non-major-label artists such as Zoe Keating noticed their Pages have been reclassified (not replaced) as “Community Pages.” The official status they previously held has now been granted to a new, Wikipedia-fed Page. While it’s not clear whether the Wiki Pages were auto-generated or made by FB staff, this mystery doesn’t stop at reclassification. When I type “Zoe Keating” into the search bar, her Page doesn’t even show up! That’s right. When I do a blanket search for her name, select “show all results” and narrow the search to Pages, it does not appear. Since it’s been a few hours, this is unlikely due to propagation delays. Weird. Unsettling.
Update: Keating’s Page was restored to “Official” status hours later, after hundreds of emails and tweets and comments had been published. Other affected artists are still struggling. Luckily this did not affect any of the Pages owned by NESS Records.
In other / better news, the creative commons license – first discovered by this artist via the European community Tribe Of Noise – has now become so mainstream that YouTube offers it as an alternative to standard copyright. YouTube announced today that it now supports Creative Commons licenses and launched a huge library of 10,000 CC videos (read the official press release here). Awesome, yes. In no way do I wish to diminish the awesomeness. However, this illustrates one HUGE way that major-label artists, major news orgs, etc. will be and have always been separated from us independants. Those 10,000 videos in the library. They are from major networks. Part of the launch, the coverage, the hype. With me? No? Look at iTunes: major artists get iTunes Exclusives and other special extras. Major artists get first crack at major breakthroughs in social media and tech. Dave Matthews had a custom Page and vanity URL before any indie artist, for example. This will forever be a hurdle that indie artists attempt to jump.
I fondly remember the days when being on iTunes was impressive. It was brand new … most people still didn’t have iPods … smartphones were only found in the hands of businessmen. Telling people your music was on iTunes gave you instant street cred and often times, before you could finish uttering the sentence, you’d converted strangers into fans. Now, everyone and their brother has their music on iTunes. Who knows if an opportunity like that will present itself again?
… now, who doesn’t wanna watch Bill Cosby playing piano on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno?!? http://bit.ly/cosbyonleno