2015-05-22T13:07:55-04:00 2015-08-17T20:37:54-04:00

How Kaskade's Tweetstorm about Soundcloud last summer inspired me to build a service for musicians

Last summer, Kaskade went on a tweet storm about Soundcloud removing his own music from his own profile. He suggested he was going to build his own portal where he could share what he wanted, when he wanted, directly with his fans.  

You can check out an extended blog post he wrote about the situation here. and some reading music

[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/16687438" params="auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true" width="100%" height="450" iframe="true" /]

As a rule, I generally avoid the rumour-mill online - but as a long-time developer I always pay attention when someone gets removed from a web-service, and Kascade's situation seemed unfair. This lead to curiosity, anger, acceptance, and many conversations and late nights developing a new product that I would love for you to check out called Receiver. Here is the story of how we arrived on what we released about a month ago and our thinking as we built it, enjoy :)

Having built Earmilk over the past 5 years (or so) into what it is today, I totally understood where Kaskade was coming from. About 5 years ago Blogger did the same thing: It removed music blogs from the service and shattered audiences skirting music blogger interests the chance to respond to DMCA takedown requests themselves, which I get - it was a grey world at the time.

This is a similar situation to the one This Song is Sick experienced at the end of the year, is actually the precise reason why I started “Suicide Sundaes”, which was in honour of Palms Out Sounds "Remix Sunday", which at the time, had been gutted by Blogger with no apparent recourse. It was the blogger reaction to music blogs that dictated a lot of the original build choices when we were originally developing Earmilk. We kept everything on our own server, own wordpress, so that we could handle DMCA requests ourselves like adults. I believe this decision was an early success for Earmilk, and has kept us trucking all these years - letting us share great music with awesome readers and helping artists to grow their fan base all at the same time.

Last Summer (2014), I was able to jam on this idea with David from SalaciousSound and together we came up with some basic ideas and started building in October 2014. We wanted to give creators control over what they could share and how they reach their audience. This sounds pretty straightforward, but when you look at the current ecosystem of products artists use to share their music and reach their fans you begin to recognize, they don’t have that much control.

Ultimately we wanted to provide artists with a few key abilities. First was simply the ability to share music whatever and however an artist wants. Secondly, we wanted to give artists a direct channel to reach the people that matter most to them, their dedicated fans (vs. all of the noise that simply follow them).

Using how an artist actually builds value for themselves as a guide, we then looked at effective ways to reach out to an artist's following and collect the most information on who the responsive followers are. At the moment, we have landed on the most common and latest trends - Email and mobile numbers are still the most effective ways to reach out to an artist’s following, and simultaneously provide a great basis for learning about those users in the process.

Launched a month ago, we've created a product that gives artists their own web-page to share music and video from Soundcloud, YouTube or their own mp3s directly with their fans. Next collect valuable fan emails, and do the basics like share on Facebook for a download, or Tweet for download (at the moment, we have big plans but are eager to get community input).

Finally - what new music technology is complete without an embeddable media player - so we incorporated these abilities there as well - Last week we debuted a track on Earmilk that was the first to exclusively use the new Receiver player embed, it was aThugli’s remix of Vic Mensa and Kanye West. Thugli came to us in part because this track (like so many other remixers and bootleggers out there) had been removed from SoundCloud. In the end, the track not only got picked up by multiple other outlets but the amount of buzz it generated on twitter (with share to download) got Vic Mensa to support it himself!

Here is the track, not bad actually :)

So even though our original brainstorming session started with Kaskade’s response to SoundCloud, when it came to choosing how the product would work for artists, we’ve always wanted to give the artist control over sharing, both in messaging and context (when and where). 

We are huge fans of what SoundCloud has done for artists (and blogs like Earmilk alike) so we made sure that artists can add tracks from Soundcloud and still get plays counted. Additionally we’ve made it easy to integrate music on Youtube which has been important for several producers who have worked on hits for artists like Jay-Z whose music isn’t on SoundCloud at the moment, and lets be honest, music videos can be badass. We are working on integrations with other streaming services like Spotify/Rdio/Deezer and, of course, will be offering the ability to upload your material directly to Receiver, I’m personally looking forward to that technical feat, it will enable a lot of really interesting things for us at Receiver which I hope to write about here sometime soon ;)

Everyone at Receiver is real excited to continue to evolve and improve the product and would love for you to sign up and give us your feedback! http://getreceiver.com/signup?refer=EARMILK2015


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