For Those Who Can't Sleep On Hip Hop

Tubeify is a free online service that has recently started to make some waves with music fans seeking a better way to experience music online. It mines established services such as Last.FM and Billboard for data pertaining to music catalogs and then uses that information to tap into content available on Youtube to provide results for searches entered by users. Results are displayed and streamed from Youtube to Tubeify’s player, which allows users more control over playing and arranging those results. Unlike using just Youtube alone, these results are extremely intuitive, permitting users to play continuous music in queue. For example, a user can enter the name of an artist, and the results will provide a list with links to the artist’s music. It also identifies what album or collection each song is from, similar to iTunes. If the user chooses to, they can select a song or an album, which can be listened to all the way through. The most impressive feature offered is one that allows users to scroll through a timeline bar consisting of months and years. Upon selecting a place in time, the player will pull up the Billboard charts for that given period, those results, in turn, are all playable within the player itself. Tubeify, essentially empowers users to listen to hits from any era documented by Billboard.

In this interview, Tubeify’s developer, Tomas Isdal, answers questions this platform and its features. He also shares his thoughts behind the creation of this interesting service that puts further control into the hands of music fans.


Why did you develop Tubeify?
I came up with the idea roughly a year ago when YouTube signed an agreement with Time Warner, which meant that they now have license agreements with the “Big 4″ labels as well as with the ASCAP. At the same time I noticed that I increasingly used YouTube for music listening, but the YouTube interface really isn’t made for that. So, I created a “mashup” that pulls data from public various sources on the net and put in together in a way that is better for music.

Does the platform access information Billboard charts with permission?
I am using their developer site (http://developer.billboard.com/) where anyone can apply for an account. I can use the data with some restrictions, but I am pretty sure that the way I use it is within their terms of use. Unfortunately, their “api-server” is down right now so the Time-Travel in Tubeify is unavailable at the moment.

How does your platform utilize Last.FM?
Last.fm has an incredible database of songs, and I rely on them to handle the searches users perform on Tubeify. Last.fm also supply the “similar artists” and “similar songs” functionality. Once I get the result from Last.fm, I merge it with (what) YouTube tells me about those songs. Then I display the result to the user.

Can you conceive any reason why YouTube or the other services used would have a problem with your service? What about labels?
I don’t think YouTube minds that much, their ads are shown in the videos and I generate extra traffic for them. I think the labels are more hesitant, for example, they no longer allow Tubeify to show videos that they upload to Youtube as a part of their VEVO service. Unfortunately, this means that some very popular artists no longer are available on Tubeify.

Can you explain how your service is different from Grooveshark?
Grooveshark is a pure music player. Tubeify will show you the music video when possible. Since Tubeify is based on YouTube, you can find stuff that most likely isn’t available anywhere else. A benefit with Grooveshark is that you always get good quality, with Tubeify you get what you get. Most often you get a good quality video, sometimes it is a live recording someone copied from VHS, sometimes it is a guy singing into a webcam and sometimes it is something
completely unrelated. That is how Youtube is and we take the good with the bad…

Essentially, this service is so intuitive that it allows artist’s albums to be found and those tracks are available for streaming in a sequential fashion. Is this one of the best legal tools for listening to albums online? What does Rhapsody’s subscription model have over Tubeifly?
YouTube’s just starting to roll out ads with the videos and those start to appear in Tubeify as well. I think there is room for both ad-supported and subscription based services, it all depends on how annoying the ads are and how much you are willing to pay for the service. The model I don’t believe in is buying individual albums and songs. I want instant access to all music at all time and that is not practical if I have to buy things individually.

Can you foresee an app that allows use on Android powered mobile devices and iPhones, essentially allowing use within a car?
Tubeify actually works on my Android phone, but the experience isn’t great and it is lagging because of the bandwidth the video requires. We are looking at the mobile space, but I think we have to wait for the 4G phones before it will work well.

Should labels have any issue with this service?
I really hope they see it as a lens into the future. If I’m allowed to dream a bit, I hope that that labels realize that they are experts at music, and less good at making web-pages. They should try to create a platform where it is easy to create legal kick-ass music services, without having to spend three years negotiating and millions in lawyers’ fees. If you look at how other Internet services are created, it is by “some guy in a garage,” not a big corporation. Some garage guys then become big corporations though… I don’t know what the best way to experience music is, but I’m sure that whatever we use in 10 years is going to be heavily influenced buy what some kid with a computer created somewhere. The labels should encourage that. What the labels want, and what the artists want, and what I want, is for people to listen to and enjoy music wherever they are.

What’s your goal with Tubeify?
I started writing Tubeify because I wanted a good Youtube music player for myself, so that goal is getting closer. As for long-term goals I’m not sure, there are still many ways we can improve the user experience and of course I would prefer if more people used Tubeify.

What’s the business model? Would you make money on referrals to Youtube based on ad views?
Currently it is a completely loss-making venture. We do not get any money from YouTube for the ads they show or from Amazon for people clicking the buy link. If YouTube one day had a partner program that gave us some money it would be great, we would of course have to split whatever we get with Last.fm since we are using their database, but perhaps there is some money left in there for us. Apart from that, you could imagine featuring nearby concerts or up-and-coming local artists and maybe get some kickback. I’m not too worried about money just yet, my top priority is to make Tubeify as fun as possible.

Article and interview by Israel Vasquetelle

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Public Enemy front man and Hip hop Icon Chuck D recently announced the launch of “…ANDYOUDONTSTOP! ” is a 2 hour radio broadcast on New York terrestrial radio station WBAI 99.5 FM. The show airs Friday nights from 8 – 10 PM EST. As importantly the show is blastcast and archived across the WorldWide Web on www.WBAI.org , and soon to be PODCAST on iTunes and BEYOND.FM

ANDYOUDONSTOP! is an urban music magazine which according to MistaChuck, “Brings the noise with world beats, and issues, missing discussions, inside stories about the music, labels, producers, writers, and fanatics about this”. Its the 120 minute epicenter of Rap Music and HipHop.
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During the later 70s, punk music began creeping up from the underbelly of the Bowery in New York City with the help of a Queens’ based band called The Ramones. The Clash and Sex Pistols bashed the establishment in England with their brand of rebel music. And shortly after, a band called Bad Brains were forming in Washington, D.C. However, unlike the earlier forefathers of the genre, the Bad Brains have continued to make records and perform for three decades. Having never experienced a radio hit or a platinum album, they are by no means a household name. Regardless, they are something that many bands who have garnered hits could never be- iconic. If you happen to be a fan of hard underground rock, then Bad Brains are your favorite band’s favorite band. In fact, they may be your favorite Hip Hop icon’s favorite band too. The Beastie Boys apparently decided to name themselves with “B” and “B” in their name to pay homage to Bad Brains.

Leading the band is H.R., one of the most dynamic and unpredictable front men in the genre. However, it’s the whole Bad Brain’s package that has made the iconic rock figures forever rediscoverable by lovers of rebellious music. The Rasta quartet is infamous for their high voltage hybrid of punk-hardcore-metal-reggae-spiritual music. Their tracks run the gamut in regards to diversified sounds. Within one song they can bounce from genre to genre in a seamless fashion, remaining cohesive and sonically appropriate. Bad Brains can teach artists of any genre something about longevity, creativity and embracing uniqueness. This is because their music incorporates so many different genres, in many ways, similar to early Hip Hop. Those initial artists in Hip Hop delivered a sound that couldn’t not be pigeon-holed to one style. In that way, although some characterize Bad Brains a hardcore band, the reality is that they can jam Dance Hall grooves as well as any seasoned Reggae group. Like early Hip Hop, Bad Brains are the original practitioners of what we now call mash-up music.

Here I speak with legendary members of Bad Brains, Darryl Jennifer and HR, and discuss the band’s history with manager and music industry veteran Anthony Countey. -Israel Vasquetelle

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Aston “FamilyMan” Barrett, the bassist for the legendary Wailers is responsible for the basslines and other creative elements on many of Bob Marley and the Wailers’ classic songs. We discuss his thoughts about why Bob Marley and The Wailers’ music continues to resonate with fans decades after its creation. He also discusses his thoughts on current state of music, and how he met and started working with Bob Marley. Yvad, the Wailers’ Band’s new vocalist shares his views on the power of Bob Marley and the Wailers’ music.

Whether you’re a musician or an artist, if you aspire to have a long career, you need to find ways to connect and reconnect with your audience. Bob Marley and the Wailers’ music successfully does with new generations- that’s powerful.
Barrett explains that original reggae music was made from the “heartbeat” of the people, he adds that much music today is made with “the wrong drum beat.” He continues by stating that these artists aren’t even “conscious” of this. He’s obviously referring to “meaning” and not percussion. Barrett drops some gems that should be meaningful for anyone who creates. -Intro and interview by Israel Vasquetelle

If you like this story, visit Insomniac Magazine’s interview with Julian Lennon, John Lennon’s son. He speaks with Insomniac Magazine about the music industry and his new music distribution company.

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Unlike most Hip Hop artists, Christopher Michael Jensen uses his real name; this decision clearly reflects the type of genuine Hip Hop this Twin Cities’ emcee delivers on his debut album “There’s Meaning Underground.” He keeps the sound and feel of the album as close to the essence of real Hip Hop as possible. The album is far from pretentious; instead, it provides solid doses of authentic poetic lyricism, positivity, and choice production that lead to an overall enjoyable Hip Hop experience.
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