Are you familiar with SliceThePie, the UK based fan funding website, competitor to Sellaband, where fans get paid to scout and review new up and coming bands? Here’s a review I posted a couple of months back. The site has been making good progress these past 2 years (pretty much like Sellaband actually – although both sites focus on the same business model, they operate in very different ways, and both are massively developing their services. Talk about healthy competition), and now they just came out with a new concept called SoundOut that uses its community to give objective ratings and statistics not on the traction of a song, but on its market potential.
Most analytical tools and services for bands (like DashGo) will give them technical data on how their songs or brand are evolving on the net (through basic stuff like page views in social networks, mentions in blogs, downloads in online stores etc.). This is very important info of course for those willing to spend time analyzing it, but it lacks real consumer feedback.
This is the problem SoundOut tries to solve – and here’s how it works:
You can submit any of your tracks for review via SoundOut for $20, $40 or $50.Your track is then fed to SliceThePie’s community (to about 80 active users), who most likely proceed to check-mark some options, enter some tags and write a short review.
- For $20 you get the basic review that includes ratings from 1 to 10, and percentages of how people rated the song. (see sample here).hmmm
- The $40 review is a little less basic. In addition to the basic review’s data, you get a “sentiment analysis of the key components of your track” that “illustrates which elements of the track were most often commented on by the reviewers and what they thought of them” (sample). re-hmmm
- And for $50 you get the express review (receive your review within 24 hours). arf..
Now yes, this is interesting, and I like the approach, but the samples don’t really motivate me to pay 20 bucks for such basic info (although I’ll probably submit one of my tunes just for fun). What turns me off a bit is their rating system. If you look at the samples you’ll see the song got a 7.69 note, thus was considered to be “excellent”. Can’t stand that type of blunt categorization because I personally think the song isn’t “excellent”.
Robert Wyatt’s Old Europe is an EXCELLENT song, Stevie Wonder’s Superstition is an EXCELLENT song, The Headless Heroes’ The North Wind Blew South is an EXCELLENT song. Elton John’s Rocket Man is an EXCELLENT song.
Scars on 45′s Heart On Fire is an good AVERAGE catchy pop tune, that certainly has its merits in terms of songwriting, but that is deprived of real musical research, experimentation and originality.
Now if you look at the “Standard Review Sentiment Analysis”‘s graph for Heart On Fire, you’ll see that its commerciability rating goes through the roof. Thus the rating that accompanies the 7.69 grade should clearly indicate “This track has excellent POTENTIAL for viable music business opportunities amongst the teenage, 15 to 22 year old, feminine gender”, or something similar (No! I shall make no excuses for my being a musical elitist!)
To conclude, I’ll just say that I believe SoundOut is on the right track, and that Slice The Pie’s general reasoning behind the concept is great, really great. Outsourcing song reviews to the public was already a pretty tight idea, but bands had to be part of the SliceThePie system and follow up on their progress (leading to time consuming social-network tasks). Now to be able to send any track any time to their army of “A&R scouts” for an affordable price is fantastic for anyone who seeks fast and objective feedback (although a little too objective and general for now as not everyone has the same expectations for their music.) Something they should do is let the bands propose their own rating-criteria so they can really get focused feedback on things that matter to them.
My two cents.
Mruff, mruff and away.