dedicated page for a song

I have set up a dedicated page for my version of the song “Frog in the Well.” It is an experiment in packaging for internet music, since a bare MP3 lacks all the chrome that makes a CD an entertaining thing to open up. Design notes —

To draw you into the page and help the recording come to life, there is some text about the history of the song.

To enable interaction by remixing, there is a MIDI version, the recording length is given (which helps people looking for background music), the recording is under a license which permits remixing, and there is an offer to relicense if necessary. To enable interaction by playing it for yourself, there is sheet music and guitar tablature as both a downloadable PDF and an embedded image.

To handle limited attention spans, I crammed as much fun stuff as I could manage into the first screenful above the fold. Video gets prominent real estate, because that draws people in like nothing else.

To make the MP3 playable in-place I included Yahoo! Media Player.

The MP3 link is labeled simply “MP3”, which doesn’t provide metadata for either search engines or the metadata section of the media player, so I put metadata (which the media player will pick up) into the title attribute of the link:

<a href="http://soupgreens.com/wp-content/uploads/lucasgonze-froginthewell.mp3" title="Lucas Gonze - Frog in the Well.">MP3</a>

To optimize placement in search engine results, the page has a good clean URL (http://soupgreens.com/froginthewell/) and the song title is in the page header.

There is sheet music inline in the document in addition to the downloadable PDF. This is to inspire people who play an instrument to try it out.

In the downloadable PDF there is a (text) link back to the site. This is to improve the stickiness of the content — if anybody does print it out and read through it on their instrument and then doesn’t get to know the main site, I must have really messed something up. Also, I’m planning to give out printouts at shows and getting people to follow the link back to the site is the payoff.

Here’s the link again: Frog in the Well.

18 thoughts on “dedicated page for a song

  1. I like the look of it and I like the concept even more. I am not sure what is the best way to display a song, but this way is almost like a single-song wikipedia entry–the kind of useful web page that I always enjoy when it is about a practical thing, an certainly can enjoy about this cool tune.

  2. Y’know, it was an interesting project. Not that people don’t do this kind of thing all the time, but there wasn’t an obvious template that I needed to stick with.

    The one thing missing is an embed code for a Flash MP3 player. I’m not sure that those get used much, though.

    On a meta note about this blog entry, I like the style of blogging that’s about facts rather than opinions. It’s about sharing useful knowledge with peers.

  3. I like it, and love the playing (and the hat), but what about the format of the page or the code is applicable for someone else who wants to try a similar experiment? Obvious question coming from me but I have to ask — where does this go next? And how do I package/distribute the end result? :)

  4. Weblogging has so many different uses. My own weblog is a personal interconnection with a community of friends, built for opinion and flights of anecdotes. Yet lately, I see the need for a gurdonark.com, using some of the “weblog-as-centerpiece” ideas you’ve shared (and morphing them, as is my (and anyone’s) way).

    I also see the need for me to have a “purer” weblog which is facts–not quite the link city that some weblogs are,but, a you say, about facts rather than opinions.

  5. Ian, the first thing is the issue of dedicated web pages for works as opposed to artists, tours, shows, etc. Obviously this is sometimes going to make sense, but only when it meets business or marketing objectives.

    When you’re doing pages for works, you can use this page as a strawman. It’ll show you some ideas and features in practice, so that you can refine from there rather than work in a vacuum.

    You can use this blog post as a starting point for a product requirements document.

    I’d also make the larger strategic point that the goal of a work page is to engage listeners and get them to pull the work into their personal lives by interacting with it. If somebody sings or plays along, the work has made an impact, and if they distribute a derived work then they’re bringing the source work into their personal relationships. You should try to do both lyric sheets and chord charts.

    Also, artists need hats. :)

  6. Excellent. That’s the way to do it.

    As an alternative to webification of ‘the recording’, have you also considered webification of ‘the live performance’?

    This is where you’d use a webcam and webcast (or for very large audiences RawFlow) instead of uploading a video to YouTube. Obviously this would also have a ‘recording of the performance’ web page.

    In both cases where you are yet to do a performance (whether privately in a studio, or publicly online) you can welcome optional pledges of encouragement from members of your audience, e.g. “I’ll pay you a quid if you perform song XYZ”, or “I’ll pay you a penny for your next performance whatever it is”. You could also substitute ‘recording’ for ‘performance’.

    I’m working on that pledging technology.

  7. Crosbie, it strikes me that this would be a natural place for a tip jar or pledge page. The one thing is that I don’t know how much users will go back to this page once they download an MP3, so it has to have stickiness.

    Jay, it would be amazing if the page were used instead of album art. You’d see it in Cover Flow and have it displayed in the player while the song was on. That would do a lot for musicians, since they could have a upsells related to the music (ads, mailing list signup, Myspace friending, tips…).

  8. Yes, totally. Plus, lyrics. For Err or Man, besides album covers and the lyrics for each song, each song itself also has 2+ pieces of visual art. And, more a/v may come in the future. So, for each of these songs, I need to create not only a song “page,” but a song “(mini) site.”

    But, this is the web, so it’s straightforward to create these kinds of multifaceted / relational collections of the mixed-medium info that make up what we call a “song.” What’s missing is the music player / web browser hybrid that understands the song as existing in this kind of interconnected context.

    So, first of all, the player needs to creatively straddle the 2+ kinds of interactions involved: continuous audio stream interaction and browsing info interaction. Then, then player also needs to have a totally different take on “files,” e.g., the way a single web page is really many files from many locations, and the way a web page can be rendered at different levels of resolution depending on browser capabilities.

  9. Let the page be the AUTHORITATIVE source for that work. Ensure the URL has the ISBN, or if that isn’t relevant, the MD5 digest of the FLAC (for integrity checking). Would be good to have a standard for indicating authoritative URIs for digital works.

    Make the page the PermaLink for the work.

    That page (with the artist’s domain in the URL) is gospel for the work. Encode the page’s URL in all metadata for all files.

    Bung metadata in the page’s HTML.

    As for a tip jar “I would have gladly paid $n.nn for this, let me rectify that now”, yes, you could put that on this page.

    Pledging is a matter of chipping in a small amount contingent upon the production and release of future work, either any work or a specific work. So you could have a pledge button on the artist’s page “I’d like to pledge a quid to you for your next work, hopefully to be released soon” (qv http://www.quidmusic.com). You could also accept requests, and create pages for frequently requested works not yet embarked upon “I think you could do a great rendition of song X, there’s $N from me upon that fine day”, or for your suggestions of things you could do “Yup, I think your ideas of doing work along those lines would be worth exploring, I’ll chip in 50 cents for that”.

    NB Pledges are not tips or charitable donations, but commissions/bargains/purchases/patronage, the new deal: art for money, money for art.

    Your audience wants to pay you – you do not need to charge them for ‘possession with intent to supply’ on penalty of copyright infringement with 5 year jail terms and million dollar fines.

    Imagine all the people
    Sharing all the world

    You may say that I’m a dreamer
    But I’m not the only one
    I hope someday you’ll join us
    And the world will live as one

  10. Adding to Crosbie’s good comments about tip jars, my ideal music player / library would have the tip / payment tracking built-in at the player level.

    In web terms, if the song is fundamentally a web page, and it includes a link to a tip / pay mechanism, the player would recognize that as *part* of the song, so to speak. And, in the way a web browser tracks page history, the player could track links to your tip / pay receipts, again, as *part* of the song.

  11. Yup Jay, I’ve always thought it would be a great feature for a Jamendo ‘radio’ player to have a wee little button that effectively says “Hey man, I like this track. This artist is good. Put me down for a Euro for each new recording they produce from this point forth.”

    The music may be freely copied, but those who like it are happy to pay for it (100% direct to the artist). Similarly, if the artist likes the promoter, they commission the promoter, say 5% (because they want to – not because they’ll get sued otherwise).

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