Social networks and audio hosting – the official SLJ review

Martha Rose - Brighton Indie folk at its best

You’ve got a track and you want to share it online. So where do you go?

Well, it turns out there are a lot of options – and many of them for free, which is always nice. Choosing my favourite song from Martha Rose’s album “Mermaid Fox”, “The Lizards” – and getting that all-important facebook reply of permission from Martha herself – I set out to sort the wheat from the chaff of the famous social network sites – their reputation, their good and bad points when put to the test, and their rating out of ten.

Click on the titles to see how each site handled mine and Martha Rose’s efforts.

Martha Rose’s current networks

MySpace
Martha’s had a MySpace page since 2006. MySpace is probably the most established, longest-running social network for musicians – and it’s got 37 million users worldwide, according to that font of knowledge, Wikipedia.
There’s a ticker bar across the top with the latest news and announcing gigs, a quick description of her type of music (Indie), videos and friends.
I have to say that since my first attempts with MySpace in the sixth form, it has become much more user-friendly. The comments are tidier – no more of that hysterical wall with insane spam pictures. There’s also a free MySpace app for iPhone and Android, but it’s really very slow (on iPhone 3GS at least).

Facebook
Initially a MySpace devotee, it took Martha a while to join Facebook, but now there’s a Martha Rose page. “Like” it, see videos, music, and events, and get Facebook messages about Martha’s latest stuff (they send loads). Really useful if you’re already a Facebook addict.

Audioboo
Lets smartphone users record and play back digital recordings that are up to five minutes long (boos). You can build up a whole library, add boos to Twitter and Facebook, and do all sorts of mobile technology android jiggery-pokery with them. Audioboo’s founder Mark Rock was named no.14 in The Guardian Media 100 in 2010.
Good points: Very easy to sign up to (just create a profile with your email), and like the fact that you can share it on twitter and facebook straight away. There’s also an “embed” button, which gives you the code to insert into a blog so the link is right there – comme ca: http://boos.audioboo.fm/swf/fullsize_player.swf Also great capacity for sharing with other Audioboo users – essentially it’s like a sound blog. It’s dead easy to tweet it straight away too – a little pop-up appears and you can share it. And you can “Like” it on Facebook through a nice little widget under every upload, and then go one step further by clicking “Love This”, which is the Audioboo “Like” version.
Then, as long as you’ve got an iPhone 3GS or 4G and it’s on the latest upgrade (4.2), you can download Audioboo for free. This is where Audioboo really comes into its element. Imagine my joy when, after a mere matter of tapping in my password, Martha’s dulcet lizard-related tones came drifting from my little blue phone.
Now I’m following the likes of Stephen Fry and The Guardian’s Adam Gabbatt’s reports from Lybia (actually, Mr Fry sends you a nice little welcome message when you join – how sweet).
I can see how this could get addictive. Forget Twitter – you can get a few seconds of audio onto your mobile in moments, and sync your computer with your phone. Hell, I’m even following Paul Bradshaw.
Bad points: Slightly annoying that you have to convert MP4 files from iTunes into AAC before they can be uploaded. It’s not hard (right click on the file in iTunes and press “convert to AAC”), but a mild inconvenience. Also upload time a tad slow.
Also, serious danger of additction. Like Twitter – with all the OCD potential that comes with it.
Rating: 9 out of 10.

SoundCloud
The first real competitor to MySpace, which was aimed at musicians to let them share their work. It also builds in Tweets and Apps, and there’s an option which will automatically Tweet everything you upload. They’re also constantly adding to the list of Androids, iPhones and the like. There is (apparently) no file sze limit.
Good points: Nice and easy to use and log it; good layout – it’s obvious where to go to upload files and it has all the Tweety-online-community features of Audioboo.
Bad points: Um… it didn’t actually work. At the moment I’m looking at a message saying “Sorry, this track is too hot for us – we’re trying to fix it asap”. Hm…
Rating: Well, considering it didn’t work – zero. Or maybe one for all the effort they’ve put into the social media stuff.

The verdict: For the basics – Facebook. Dead easy for listeners and musicians alike as for most people, this is THE social network, so no waiting about or setting up required. The messages mean you’re up to date with latest news, and a couple of minutes of Facey-B procrastination are all you need to hear her songs and watch her vids.
For that little bit extra: Audioboo. Hands down. Tweets with a musical twist.

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2 Responses to Social networks and audio hosting – the official SLJ review

  1. Pingback: links for 2011-03-04 « Onlinejournalismtest's Blog

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