Google Chrome’s Music+ ~ Are You An Indie Artist or A Second Class Artist?

I subscribe to a couple of online newspapers, webzines and newsletters. Mashable, is one of them, an American news website and blog whose primary focus is social media news and developments. Yesterday morning, one headline especially caught my attention: “Facebook gets Music via Chrome Plugin”.

The short blurb was about the newly launched Chrome plugin called Music+, a search system and player which uses the music intelligence service’s API (as well as Facebook’s API) to make it easy to find and listen to music while surfing the web or on your Facebook page. In your browser it streams either Mp3s or Rdio, a music subscription service. On Facebook the third option is videos streamed through Youtube (that you can then “like” and “share” with your friends).

Great! I installed the player in my browser and must say, the player itself is very neat and seems to run without complications in the background of whatever you are doing online. So following my usual routine (when any new music application hits the market or when a new online music store pops up, like recently Spotify in the US) I checked to see whether I could find the artists we represent as Moontraxx Records: Greg Porée, Frances Livings and 4UrbanArtists. Nada. Nichts. Niente. No music.

Hmm, my mistake, I thought. I was still on my first cup of coffee and I have been so busy lately, so I thought I might have forgotten to sign a release form or something. Hmm, must check our distributors, rather online music aggregators. So, I looked up our accounts on Tunecore and checked our “stores” (word to the wise, check your account regularly to see if there are any boxes unticked. Sometimes new stores are added without notification). Nothing. Then I went to our account with CD Baby, the distributor of most of Greg Porée’s music. Nothing either. But after a few searches it became apparent, that yet again, only major record company artists like Lady Gaga and Adele are represented.

And that’s where Facebook and Twitter comes in handy: I wrote on their “walls” asking why. I must say, CD Baby’s customer service has always been quite good and very friendly. Tunecore’s guys and girls are a lot slower, I heard from them just now, exactly 23 hours later, asking for the album name…

From one of CD Baby’s employers I did learn, that the music available on Music+ is not fed into the system by aggregators or distributors. Below is a screen shot of the correspondence I had with them. I just couldn’t find out however, who actually selects the music and feeds it into the public database. But I did learn that users can upload music themselves (if they possess the mp3) to create playlists. But even if I had the time to upload over a hundred songs that belong to our label, they wouldn’t be available publicly. I investigated further but couldn’t find any way to have a part in having our music played or streamed in people’s Google plugin, or on Facebook.

So why all of this effort? I believe that it is not only about having your music up for sale in a digital music store like iTunes, but it’s about having presence! Music+ could easily become the new Google for music and we all know that if someone can’t google you, you practically don’t exist. A new, well functioning player has just been launched, that is not only connected to the new Google+ but can easily be installed on Facebook and indie artists aren’t represented!? Hopefully things are just slow but it does turn an indie artists more into a second class artist if they’re not represented. I am not a technology geek, I try to stay up to date with technological developments, so if you have got any insight into this, please share!

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  1. The app sits on top of the EchoNest database + song analysis/recommendation technology. Not sure who provides licenses that determine which songs can be played, but I’m guessing Rdio, since a lot of EchoNest apps also use that.

    Maybe you can find what you need by poking around: http://the.echonest.com/

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