Posted March 19, 2008on:
Here is something that has gotten me quite excited: RCRD LBL. They are an “online record label releasing exclusive and completely free music from emerging and established artists” but also offers a “curated roster of independent record labels offering free MP3 downloads and multimedia content in blog format”. (It is also worth mentioning that the founders are Peter Rojas of Gizmodo and Engadget and Josh Deutsch of Downtown Records.)
I’m not sure if it’s the crazy tempo of Steve Aoki’s remixed “Control” or my elatedness at finding a music site that is easy to look at, gives me fresh, emerging artists, AND free tunes…but I felt so compelled to share so please do yourself a favor (if you love music, discovery, and/or freebies) and poke around.
Here’re just a few things you can do at RCRD LBL.com:
1) Discover new music/artists – by name or genre. If you love someone, add them to your RSS feed to stay on top of their news.
2) Sample tunes via various players
3) Download music (not sure how this works for PCs, but my download became a Quicktime file. I simply dropped it into my iTunes player and was able to play from there. At first I got a bit nervous and agitated that I might have to play each mp3 alone in Quicktime, hah.)
4) Catalogue and track favorite RCRD LBL artists – you create a profile and any time you come across self-approved music, hit “add” to your list
5) Very smart – widget app to stay up-to-date on artist info, photos, tours, etc
Now what you can’t do (and what they should add, in my humble opinion):
1) Unless I’m blind, I don’t see genre listings for each artist. For example, if I’m listening to Bad Veins, nowhere does it tell me how RCRD LBL has classified it. This would be helpful because you can search tunes according to genre. The tag cloud here is varied, but I don’t see a connection between that and the individual artist ‘pages’ where you listen to their music.
2) RCRD LBL is not a social networking site, but because they allow you to create a profile, I am left wanting to connect with others, to see what they’re listening to (like Last.fm I suppose), but there is no ‘add user’ option. The main service of this site being to offer up new music by basically acting like one huge directory, it makes sense that they limit the user interaction. Or does it? If I’m looking at Pink Starr’s profile, what am I getting? Just a list. She can recommend other non-RCRD LBL artists, but can’t blog about them or her other musical tastes.
3) Again, maybe this is somewhere and I have yet to find it, but, I would find RCRD LBL a bit more useful if they offered a player that tracked all of your favorite songs as you played them (again, like Last.fm?), even though you can download and keep for yourself. For example, what if you wanted to download a song but couldn’t at the time (i.e., you’re not using your computer, time ran out, lurking co-worker popped by?), so you can add the song to your ‘player of favorites’ to download later.
Other notes of interest:
1. According to del.icio.us, only 857 users (on del.icio.us) have saved RCRD LBL, though I’m sure this is fast landing on the radar of many as I write.
2. Last week I became a fan of RCRD LBL on Facebook. Currently, there are 1,405 fans.
3. RCRD LBL only launched in November (11.15.07) so I am sure their user/fan-base will shoot up over the year. Interestingly, RCRD LBL sees revenue strictly via its advertising and sponsorships (remember, it’s an online record label, not just a source spewing new music for us to immediately sample).
4. Various streaming music players are branded by the likes of BMW, PUMA, Nokia, and Nikon. These players = widgets. Clever. (because it’s useful for us and useful for the brand sponsors) Just click “grab this” and choose where you want the widget to live.
For an in-depth perspective from, and on RCRD LBL, see PSFK’s interview with co-founder Peter Rojas.