I felt the need to share some thoughts this morning.. there are a couple of messages to get across.
One is regarding the authenticity of the statistics you get from the online music hosting companies who, if they so wished, could quite easily have a little fiddle with the figures to get some money out of you.
The other is an unashamed plug for my new venture, WardsWebsites.
So.. online music hosting. The likes of Soundcloud, Podbean, Podomatic. I have used them all in my time as a DJ and in the beginning they were great.. they gave me an avenue into getting my music online and out to my loyal followers.
Now over time, I saw the number of people checking my mixes out growing at a rapid rate, this pleased me. It pleased me so much so that, when I was advised by Podomatic I had reached my bandwidth limit, I quite happily coughed up the cash to increase this to allow my multitude of fans access to my music. I was now a ‘PRO’ user. Coincidentally, at the same time, the increase in numbers of people getting my mixes seemed to level out. It didn’t drop, but it levelled out. I didn’t watch that too tough. I continued using Podomatic for a while until I was contacted by Benjamin at Artillery who helped me (well he didn’t help me, he did it all for me) build my spanking new site. The hosting for my website cost the same as a PRO account and yet I had totally unlimited bandwidth (the amount of traffic to and from my site) as well as all the other benefits of my own website.
Then Soundcloud came along , and I can’t remember why I started using that, maybe because it was new, but that rapidly became popular all around the world and so did my mixes… again (*edit – thinking about it Soundcloud may have been around before my new site was launched). Once more I reached the limit of downloads I was allowed and decided to pay for the premium service which gave me many more benefits. Again, I was happy to pay the extra for people to access mixes on-line and via their smartphones which were flooding the marketplace.
Soundcloud continues to be an excellent tool for getting your music to the masses although there are issues coming into play more and more regarding the illegal use of unlicensed music. Basically ANY music shared on-line in mixes is actually illegal (and responsible for the huge decline in sales) unless you own the rights to it, so things are going to get harder and harder and the more successful companies will be the ones who find a loophole in the law and allow you to get away with hosting your mixes. Somewhere down the line it dawned on me that I really didn’t need to be paying this premium, and so while I still use Soundcloud, I am a standard user, albeit with three different accounts on different email addresses. These all help me service my APP.
This leads me into the reason for the blog.
I was recently contacted by Conduit Mobile, the people who provide the wonderful service for my app, regarding their future plans to start charging a premium for clients who have over 500 users. That is me. There is no denying that the app is a great piece of kit and I have been contacted by many of you to say how great it is. Once I had the app in the official Android and Apple stores my users seemed to rocket overnight. I was over the moon, as you may recall, thanking people all the time for joining me.
I loved the app and I still do. However I then got this mail stating that, as a valued client with almost 2000 users of my app, I was now eligible for 6 months FREE use of the service. After which I would have to pay $79 per month (about £50). That’s when I started to think about it. Where did all these new ‘fans’ suddenly come from ? How did I get so popular ? Why aren’t I hearing from these new people ? Why do my mixes on Soundcloud (where people using the app access them) never go above 200 plays and the actual podcast downloads also have never really risen relative to the number of people using my app ?
Since putting out this article I have been contacted by Conduit who have gone out of their way to explain the statistics relating to my own app. As stated above, I have been awarded a free upgrade to their PLATINUM service for free for six months, however after six months I am able to pay the lower fee of $29 per month, so I did get that bit wrong.
It would not be right of me to delete all reference to Conduit here, as it was the whole catalyst for starting my mind working on this blog but I will say this… I am not accusing Conduit of anything although I still stand by what I say, having thousands of people downloading an app and having to pay for this privilege is not the same as having thousands of people actively using it.
Thank you Li-at, for your correspondence !
end of edit.**
As you know, sometimes I think too much. More often than not, my instincts tend to be right although from time to time I do get things wrong. I started to wonder. What is stopping a company, any company, from fabricating user/download numbers in order to get more money out of someone ? Let’s say, hypothetically, that I had to pay iTunes to distribute my radio show once it got to 10,000 listeners. How could I possibly know that the 10,000 listens were all genuine and not created by some computer nerd with special coding. Did you know, for example, that there are special codes people create that increase the number of views of their YouTube videos ? There are even codes now that give you inflated listens on certain of the music sites I have already mentioned. You can get as many Facebook fans as you want, as well as a multitude of other options, readily available to those who use followers/fans/listens as currency.
Think about it… I am a new producer and I want to get some gigs. I inflate my YouTube views to a few hundred thousand… what club promoter wouldn’t jump at the chance to book me ! Sad, but oh so very true !
Of course, I am not accusing anyone of anything. For two reasons.. one is I have no actual proof (click this link for just one example of what I’m talking about), the other is I don’t want to get my ass sued off.
I do know that there is no way I am going to be paying £50 quid a month for the benefit of using a service that, for all I know, only 100 people are using. It will be a shame and I am now doing all I can to investigate. I may be reaching out to you to see if you are using the app (click here), please take a minute to holler back if you do.
I also urge all DJs to think about what they are paying and start to question the numbers they get back from any company they pay for based on the number of users/downloads !!
Now, to the unashamed plug.
Need a website ?
I had no intention of putting these two things together, but it actually makes sense.. what a great way to promote my new service I am providing. WardsWebsites is here to save the day !! (fanfare)
For what it would cost to upgrade to any of these online companies, you could purchase hosting for your own website and get unlimited storage for all your mixes and photos and get unlimited downloads every month. I can sell you that hosting and your website name. You can even check its availability now and reserve it for when you have spare cash. A domain name (your website name) costs less than £10 ! See if your domain name is available here.
If you know a bit about using the web then you can build the site yourself and it would cost you nothing extra.. so I am not here to try to get money out of you, although I will say that if you don’t have the time or the knowledge, then take a moment to check out the amazing DJ package I can offer (available to ANY type of company).
So there you go. I hope the words I shared make you look a little closer at what you pay at the moment… I am definitely going to be doing so myself and will let you know the outcome.
I welcome any comments on this !