Editorial: Why We Need A Music Filter

10/13/11

Chapter 1: The Curious story of 80,000 jars of Spaghetti Sauce

What if I told you… that every year there were 80,000 different kinds of spaghetti sauces put on supermarket shelves?  What?!  80,000?!  You are legitimately nuts.  No single industry in their right mind would have 80,000 different releases of anything!

Hmm… but let's just indulge this fantasy for a second… let's pretend this is actually a reality.  I mean 80,000 different kinds of spaghetti sauces.  First of all, uh… why?  Because, if I were to guess, the breakdown of spaghetti sauces would probably go something like this:

70,000 of these spaghetti sauces are going to be just horrible or terribly bland.
7,000 are 'ehh,' acceptable or pretty good (but so what!?)
1600 (or 2%) of the spaghetti sauces are really fantastic and worth tasting,
800 (or 1%) are simply out of this world culinary experiences made by 5th generation Italians with closely guarded kitchen recipes handed down from family to family.

OK, sure, the above is a ridiculous scenario… and I know what you're thinking… what the hell does this have to do with music and 'Why We Need A Music Filter.'  But guess what?  This 'spaghetti sauce' scenario is absolutely (no exaggeration) the current situation in the music business. 

That's right.  There are over 75-80,000 Album or EP releases each year and just in the United States!  

Damn.  Who's going to eat all that friggin spaghetti sauce?!  But the other more important question is… who's going to taste and find the 1% 'out of this world culinary experiences' for your ears?

Why 'Everything On Line' Is A Mucho Big Problem.

That's right 'Houston… We Have A Mucho Big Problem.'  Believe it or not, I'll say it again, there were actually 75-80,000 albums released this year.  But that's just the start of the mess.  Every month there are hundreds of new album reviews from creddy music mags like: Spin, Filter, Fader, XLR8R, Rolling Stone, Under The Radar, NEM, etc. And every day there are tens of thousands of new music blog postings. 

Add to this… Twitter Feeds, Social Network Music Pages, New Artists, Unsigned Artists, what's buzzing on the lips of Tastemakers, Pitchfork, File Sharing Networks, yada yada… basically an endless supply of everything.  And 95-98% of that spaghetti sauce… trust me… you just really don't want to taste.

On one hand… it is an exciting proposition.  Never before in humanity has every song that has ever been recorded been at your fingertips.  On the other hand, this is a huge problem… Huh?

Well, contradicting the Internet information highway concept, it turns out that 'everything at your fingertips' is a complete mess.  Particularly when it comes to music discovery.  Because you know what I want?  I just want a handful of artists and songs that truly delights, AMAZES and elevates my daily life.  Right now.

That's right, I don't want everything.  I only want like 1-3% of what's out there.  To get back to our metaphor… I want that very best, 5th generation Italian secretly guarded spaghetti sauce!  Just give me the best right now.  The rest is useless to me!

Bob Lefsetz actually sums it all up quite perfectly here.  (Bob has some amazing views on the music business and I super encourage you to follow him @lefsetz or sign up for his newsletter at www.lefsetz.com).

This problem is also being referred to by some (like Seth Godin) as 'The Big Sort.'

You see, there's just wayyy too much music, blog stories, new album releases, album reviews, etc. to efficiently discover great new music.  Someone has to go through all of this and handpick the best.  Who is really doing that?  One thing's for sure… it's something a computer can't do.  Nope we need real humans for the task.

But it used to be easier… In fact, right now, it's even harder than ever before to efficiently discovery awesome new music.  Let me explain.

A Brief History of Filters

You see, 20-50 years ago, the bar to entry for a music artist was so dramatically and exponentially higher than it is today.  There wasn't ProTools, and there wasn't any fancy pants AutoTune plug ins.  Either you "had it" (and had put in your "Malcolm Gladwell 10,000 Hours" via his book "Outliers") or you didn't.

Back in those days, it was also incredibly expensive to make an album… only the best artists would receive record label backing to set foot in a recording studio.  This means only a handful of artists were allowed to make professional recordings to begin with!  Yes, believe it or not, at one time Major Record labels were great filters and were extremely developmental and sticking with artists for 3 or 4 albums until they broke.  We're talking the days of Ahmet Ertegun (Atlantic), Jerry Alpert & Herb Moss (A&M), Berry Gordy (Motown/Jobete), Mo Ostin (Warner Bros), David Geffen (Geffen), etc.

Along with the record labels, the other trusted filters were FM Radio (DJs) and local record stores.  You see…

30 years ago you could actually turn on the FM dial and totally fall in love and be inspired with the hand picked music that was being played (or in other words "filtered," for you).  Back then there was actual hand picked selections from a trusted FM DJ.  Classics and music history was being made right in front of you… in real time.  It was great music and guess what... we're still listening to those songs today. 

But then something happened.  Wall Street came along.  Record Companies went public.  Shareholders needed to be appeased and quarterly numbers had to be made.  The radio stations got snatched up, conglomerated and were forced to all play the same stupid 20 songs all – friggin - day - long.  Music suffered… and suffered greatly. It suddenly became more about 'flipping' hits, artists and bands for the quick buck. 

And artistry never goes hand in hand with a quick buck… does it?

And so here we are today. 

The New Filters

But then something exciting happened.  Just like the dinosaurs fell off the face of the earth, the new trusted Music Filters emerged: Blogs, Tastemaker Review Sites (Pitchfork, etc.), the 'Hipster' Magazine Reviews (Spin, Fader, etc.), Influential Global Club DJs, blog filtering sites like Blogolator.com, and most importantly word of mouth via social networks became essential in music discovery.

And in my opinion, these "new filters" do a pretty good job.  But ya know what?  Surprisingly, I still only found myself loving ("loving" is key word here… not liking) only 10-15% of what these new filters were individually talking about.  

So I got to thinking, and I got to looking.  There must be... I mean, isn't there a website that sifts through everything; pre listens to all this new music and goes through the 'new filters,' organizes it and puts it on line?  Like… one mega 'filter.'  Where's the one place I can go for this?

Am I making sense?! Hopefully!  I just felt there's got to be someone or a trusted team or website that just 'sits' as a mesh on top of all these outlets and just brings me 'The Best!' 

Because, damn… I don't care about 80,000 album releases at my fingertips.  And to make matters worse, today, everybody and anybody can make music and upload it to Itunes!  So guess what?  There's a true and utter explosion of c-r-a-p! 

This is a far cry from the 60s, 70s or 80s (and some of the 90s) when only those who were truly inspired and talented got the right support, funding and attention to make and record music.

If you doubt me then I'm very happy to give you a link to the new Kim Kardashian album.

Anywayz… as you can guess, as much as I have rockin' Google search skills, I never found that elusive website I was so hoping existed.  So, yup, you guessed it… (deep breath of blood sweat and tears), I decided to make it myself!

And here it is.  I proudly present to you… Robocop, the new law enforcement for Delta City.  Oops.  I mean… I proudly present to you BitCandy, The Independent Music Filter for Indie, Alternative Pop & Electronic Music.

BitCandy

Yes!  In one click, BitCandy filters only the best, only the 1-3% top quality of Music Blogs, Reviews, Charts, New Releases and Social Media.  And of course, it's all hand-picked and curated.

But we've taken everything one step further with some cool things we like to call: Curator, Posers, Charts and Artist Info / Stream access.  But I especially love the Curator part.

Curator

Ahh, OK… so what's a Curator?  So glad you asked.  Because Curator, is actually… you!  Curator actually gives you (yes, you!) the virtual badge, bragging rights and the credit for a previous unknown music discovery.  By submitting an undiscovered artist, if we love it (and it's not in our database) we'll give YOU that singular virtual badge of discovery for that artist.  (There's only one badge available per artist.)

And (this is the amazing part) if we sign an artist to our digital label or music publishing company… and you have the Curator badge… we'll give you 20% of whatever we make for that signing!  Really!

Like I said, I love the Curator section.  It's actually my revenge on stupid A&R executives, because now, I'm giving their job, social accolades and potentially salary, to you.

Posers

Oh, and have you ever plopped down $13.98 for a super hyped new artist and turns out there was only one good song on the album?  Yes, we think some indie 'hype albums' are just as bad as many of the saccharin hyped pop music releases.  That's right.  Even on indie albums it seems you get 1 maybe 2 great songs and the rest is crap-ola.  In Posers, we delicately (sarcastic) point out who these artists are and albums that deserve the trashing. Especially when they are so overhyped!  We are so not kind!

Charts

We thought it wasn't enough for us to provide a handpicked mix of the best new indie, pop, electro and alternative songs on our Internet Radio channels.  So, in the Charts tab you can actually see the most loved, highest rated songs voted by the BitCandy community.

I mean, what are the real Charts of today?  Billboard doesn't reflect my musical taste anymore… and probably not yours either.  OK, maybe your niece and nephew… but this isn't necessarily "our' music.  I mean, is the Billboard Hot 100 Singles… really the "sound" of young cool America?  I really don't think so. So let's make a chart for "us."  Here it is. 

Artist Info / Stream

Another innovative thing at BitCandy is that for every song, you can click the 'Artist Info / Stream' button and instantly get access to: that artist's music on Spotify or Itunes as well as that artist's Facebook, Wiki, MySpace page, the exact YouTube video, Social Media Linkage and also Lyrics! (Lyrics are coming soon) … everything is there for you at your fingertips.  This is a new concept we're calling "wrapped content" so you can dig deeper to learn more about your favorite new artists while you "Discover Faster."

Our Goal – Our Passion

Our goal and passion is to help "Discover Faster" and to make music discovery so much more efficient.  And we don't think it can be done with a computer algorithm!  Nope, we need real people doing this job.   

Today, instead of being overwhelmed by those 80,000 album releases (or 80,000 jars of spaghetti sauces), thousands of blog posts, album reviews, Twitter feeds, etc. you can simply come to BitCandy as your "trusted music concierge."  Kinda Like a 'mega filter' serving up the hand-picked best.  In other words and ultimately getting back to our analogy, BitCandy will be serving up only the 1% best of spaghetti sauce you'll instantly fall in love with. 

Because in today's world, we don't have time to go through everything.  Because most of everything is pretty bad.  I just want to get the very best, most amazing music, most quickly, because great music enriches my life.  And quite frankly I have totally lost my appetite for mediocrity.

Lastly and most importantly BitCandy is focused on shining the spotlight on unknown/unsigned artists.  As a "Filter" we're here to help identify those deserving new artists, by giving them the right attention, voice and platform to be heard.

In our view this is simply rad-il-icious. 

So in conclusion, we think that the future is surprisingly not having everything at your fingertips.  Because 97% of everything that's online… is actually pretty bad.  We think the most important thing right now no one is talking about is the "Music Filter" concept.

BitCandy's goal is to provide an efficient, hand picked discovery destination to help identify only the best top 1-3% in the indie, alternative pop and electronic genre.  And we need your help to accomplish this… so become a Curator today!  Because you (and I) only have time for the best.  Who wants to look for a needle in a haystack?

We're pleased and very proud to present the BitCandy Music Filter to you.  We'd love feedback (good or bad, and yup, especially bad so we can improve) or other ideas.  Feel free to send me a personal email at glitch.bitcandy@gmail.com or @BitCandy I will respond : )

So, welcome to BitCandy!

I want to sincerely 'Thank You' for reading this, being one of the first to discovery us, and hope you enjoyed these thoughts.   Feel free to comment and / or join the conversation or comments below. 

If you agree with any of the above, please "Like" this page, Tweet It or simply pass along via the additional shared links.

We'd love it if you "Friend" / "Like" us at Facebook or follow us at Twitter (@BitCandy) or SoundCloud or MySpace to show you support the revolution at BitCandy.

Discover Faster.

Yours truly,

BitCandy // - g l i t c h -
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