I have reached the required number of “approximately 12 posts”. However, I have started to genuinely enjoy keeping this blog, so I will keep posting. Thank you for reading.
3 online band projects to illustrate the concept and 2 masterpieces of peer production.
I remember when I saw a video of an online band collaboration for the first time. I was absolutely fascinated with the concept. I don’t remember how long ago that was and sadly I can’t find that first video. Nevertheless, I selected a few online band projects to share with you.
The ClipBandits is (or at least claims to be) the first internet band. I chose this particular video because of the ingenious, yet amusing (to a modern person who is used to split screens) how they incorporated each band member into the same video.
This is a modern example of a collaboration between amateur musicians. Nothing out of the ordinary, just a well-played and produced cover song by an internet band.
This video lacks in sound quality and I’m not even sure about the music. But that’s not the point. I posted it just to show that some online bands take it to the next level and meet to perform live concerts.
Now, let’s get to the more complex projects.
You can see a full explanation of the project here. Basically, after Johnny Cash died, they put up a project website where anyone with a sense for drawing and a wish for paying the legend a tribute was invited to participate. Their participation consisted in submitting drawings of particular scenes which were later on connected and made into the official video of Cash’s “Ain’t No Grave”.
Playing For Change is a very extensive musical project which records singers and instrumentalists, amateur or not, and combines them into diverse and high quality music. Granted, internet doesn’t have very much to do with it, as the initiators physically toured the world to find musicians from all over. However, it is still consumer generated content and is very well worth mentioning. In my opinion, both this and the previous video are brilliant ideas which were brilliantly executed.
Peer production, or co-creation, is collaboration between consumers. We have already established that, via internet, people from all around the world are able to work together on various types of projects, such as news articles. Furthermore, the digital media era is also revolutionary for aspiring musicians. Of course, no one was stopping you from picking up a guitar and strumming a few chords or banging some drums before this digital era either. But what if your aspirations went farther than that? What if you would have wanted to form a band and would have also been good at it, but you didn’t know the right people or didn’t have them around? Well, today this issue is long dead. Your prospective band members are all around the world and now you can efficiently work together. There are quite a few websites that enable online music collaboration, three of which I have selected to briefly review.
Kompoz is a social networking website centred around music production. Here, you can create a profile and then record online with other users. However, you cannot record directly onto the website. Instead, the recording must be done in your own software and can later on be uploaded to Kompoz. Although this might be regarded as an inconvenience, the sound quality of your project will be better this way. You can create a project, to which you can add separate music items and you can invite your peers to contribute to your project. Each project also has a forum where participants can discuss ideas and suggestions.
MyOnlineBand is a network, where professional and amateur musicians can publish their own or collaborate on music projects. Much like Kompoz, all communication is done via chat and the music tracks must be up-/downloaded, since there is no real-time video chat. You get a profile which serves as a resume in order to inform other users on how you could contribute to their projects. There is also a dedicated link which enables payment for your songs in case anyone wishes to support you, but paying is not mandatory.
eJamming AUDiiO is quite different from the other two. First of all, there is live jamming and recording. You can enter public or private chats and also create or join a live session. The maximum number of participants per session is four, but there is no minimum of two; you can have a solo session and record your own music. Second of all, there is a rating system. Every user has a skill level rated by other users. This way, you can know beforehand how good users that you don’t know are and can decide whom to jam with.
The previous post covered co-creation in theory, now let me show you some examples.
Coca-Cola put together a collection of videos, animations, photos and illustrations with the intention of using it in worldwide marketing campaigns expressing their “Energizing refreshment” motto. Here’s a video of the Director of Marketing Communications talking about his experience with online co-creation.
Heineken invited a group of up and coming designers to project the Heineken concept club. The brand takes pride in its open mindedness and encourages its consumers to take part in the creation process. Not only has Heineken given specialised designers the opportunity to participate, but has also invited other consumers to share ideas and visions.
Tanishq – Tata Group
The jewellery branch of Tata Group, Tanishq, launched a co-creation initiative called “My Expression”, in which absolutely anybody was invited to take part. After signing up for the contest, participants were to propose an idea for Tanishq’s new jewellery line. The outcome of this for the brand consisted, of course, in new views and angles of their line, while the participants were competing for the grand prize. The top ten finalists received a cash prize and the designer got the opportunity to collaborate with professional jewellery designers in creating the next line.
Now we all know that any average Joe or Jane can go from just consuming to creating in no time. But an even more interesting phenomenon in the digital world, which might be unknown to many, is branded co-creation. Not only are users generating content, but they can do so in collaboration with well established brands. Companies work together with consumers and create artefacts including films, adverts, games or software (Aris, 2009). Personally, I find this to be a brilliant move which greatly benefits both parties. The company has a new found immense creative resource which opens up endless creative options, while the collaborating consumers get to contribute to something big and get paid for it. It is crucial for companies to realise that consumers are their equals, since in this day and age they no longer have a monopoly on information access (Prahalad, 2000).
Branded co-creation communities can be arranged into three categories, as follows:
- Branded challenges on niche crowdsourcing platforms. Short term public or private challenges are run by brands on niche crowdsourcing platforms. This way, brands are reaching out to specialized communities such as animators, engineers, designers, scientists etc. What follows is the process of entry submission, community voting and winner selection (through voting AND by jury). The challenges can be either of creative nature (e.g. films, adverts etc.) or solution-driven (e.g. product innovation, software applications etc.).
- Branded co-creation challenge platforms. These are private challenge platforms created by brands in order to engage their communities. Some brands use both crowdsourcing platforms and their own for a broader range or potential contributors.
- Ongoing co-creation communities. Full blown communities, created and nurtured by brands in an effort to encourage members to actively participate and take on challenges.
Aris, A., Bughin, J., 2009. Managing Media Companies: Harnessing Creative Value. 2nd ed. John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Prahalad, C. K. and Ramaswamy, V., 2000. Co-opting Consumer Competence. Harvard Business Review, 78 (1), 79-87.
In a previous post I made a list of websites that offer amateur journalists the means to publish their news stories. This post will cover some of the android applications that are perfect for journalists.
If you’re not an occasional citizen journalist, who only writes news articles when something out of the ordinary happens at his or her location, and you are interested in actively reporting news, you will definitely need a voice recorder. Tape-a-Talk is an improved replacement of the analogue tape recorder. You can set the quality to high or low and can even pause the recording, feature that most applications of the kind don’t have. You can get the basic version for free and then you can choose to upgrade it for a small price. The upgraded version allows you to speed forward, rewind or connect recordings.
vRecorder is a free voice recording application. What puts it over the top, however, is the capability of recording live phone calls. This is a really important feature, seeing as many interviews take place over the phone. Now you can no longer worry about having to schedule face-to-face meetings or trying to write down phone conversations as they happen. Thanks to vRecorder you can record and save any phone call.
Flixwagon is a mobile app that enables live video reporting, which makes it great for broadcasting events as they happen. The videos can also be sent to private groups via SMS or email. This way you can easily and rapidly send the content to a potential collaborator of yours. The drawback is the speed at which this app drains the life out of your phone.
One could argue that any normal mobile phone is a good replacement of the classic paper notebook. However, a simple phone’s features are greatly enhanced by this app. Perfect for quickly writing down short notes, reminders and to do lists, Evernote also lets you upload media and access it from anywhere.
deviantART is an online community where aspiring artists can display their works. In addition to being a world renowned virtual gallery, deviantART “turns into a platform with its own rules, which challenges the existing mechanisms of the current art market” (Salah, 2010). Users can “favourite” artworks of their choice, follow preferred artists and get notifications on their activity, comment on posts, keep journals and organize events or competitions. They can freely post photographs, paintings, drawings, any type of imitative artwork or even poetry and can get paid for it. The individual works of art are arranged in various categories, such as Traditional Art, Photography, Cartoons & Comics, Fan Art etc. All in all, deviantART seems like a pretty straight forward hybrid between an online gallery and a social networking site. However, gaining popularity may come with some drawbacks.
First of all, the users most likely to achieve visibility are the ones that already have the most page views and comments, thusly getting even more popular. Second of all, it seems that there are some powerful trends which weigh quite a lot in what makes it to the top. The artist Benneth Klein, for example, studied the most popular works on deviantART in an attempt to understand why his original art was receiving little attention and then experimented with different styles. The collection he created based on the top posts increased the traffic on his page from ~10 to hundreds of views per day (Salah, 2010). Now this, I personally find a bit discouraging, especially given the fact that the trends were essentially half-naked anime characters. Nevertheless, there is no need to despair over not reaching the top. deviantART is still an excellent online art platform and just having your art out there where it can (and will) be viewed is already a big thing.
Salah, A. A., 2010. The online potential of art creation and dissemination: DeviantArt as the next art venue. (online) http://www.bcs.org/upload/pdf/ewic_ev10_s1paper3.pdf