Indianapolis, IN - July 4, 2011
Dont you love finding a great song? This happens to me all the time, either by stumbling on something I hear on the radio, in a commercial, or recommended by friends. Careful readers, or at least those with good memories, will remember one of my all-time favorites for this is Pandora. Pandora is like a radio station that only plays music you like, even if youve never heard it before. It accomplishes this amazing feat by harnessing the power of something called the Human Genome Project. Without going into detail, the project uses trained musicians to listen to music and catalog it on roughly 400 different criteria. Then, when you tell Pandora you "like" something, it uses what it knows about that song to make a guess for others you might like. The more it knows about your tastes, the better the matches. (If youd like to read more about Pandora, please see my previous article here.
Maybe the only thing better than finding music you love through Pandora is finding it through a friend. Theres something unique about sharing our tastes and preferences with others that gives them a different insight into what makes us tick. I may think I know someone really well and then find out they love Barry Manilow, or NOFX (thats a punk rock band), or Tupac. And this preference tells me something else entirely. Not good or bad; just different. And each of these little data points helps me to round out who they are and creates a more complete image of their personality.
Its in this spirit that I want to let you know about NoiseTrade. NoiseTrade isnt a band, its more like that friend that has all the best music, whose collection never seems to end, and who is willing to let you borrow whatever you like, whenever you want. In other words, its awesome.
NoiseTrade works like this: They have collected thousands of songs from thousands of artists and they will help you discover, download, and keep all them for just a wee bit of information: your email address and your zip code. The experiment began five years ago when singer/songwriter Derek Webb gave away one of his albums online for free, asking for the same information. In three months, Derek had given away 80,000 albums and collected nearly as many fans. What followed was sold out shows, increased merchandise and album sales (including sales of the very album that was given away for free), and a new business called NoiseTrade.
If you visit the site, you can quickly and easily see recently added artists and songs. You can search for someone in particular (like Indiana favorite Jon McLaughlin), or see the top downloads (like The Civil Wars live at Eddies Attic.) Once you select an artist, youll see a playlist of the songs available. Click the big "play" button and you can begin listening immediately. If you like what you hear, just enter your email address and zip code and youll be able to download the song, or in some cases the complete album, all for free. Now, if you really like what you hear, theres a built-in mechanism to let the artist know and you can leave a tip for the artist, of which 20% is kept by NoiseTrade to help cover the cost of running the site.
But like any good friend with a great music collection, NoiseTrade goes one step further by both making recommendations and making it easy for you to do the same. Each week, youll get a quick email telling you about the new artists that have been added. A recent note highlighted the full-length album from Brooke Waggoner and featured two reviews of the artist from The New York Times and Paste Magazine. You can also leave comments on the site about songs and artists you like, and the site is well-integrated with Twitter and Facebook to help you share your musical leanings with the rest of your social network. I recently mentioned something I liked on Twitter and received a direct response from a friend that said, "If you like Clarensau, then you might enjoy Jenny & Tyler." I did, and I do. And now you know a little more about what makes me tick. Well, at least you know what kind of music you like.
So give NoiseTrade a try. And be sure to share what you find, because were all out here waiting for the next great song.