Instrumental+Music Percussion+Music Classical+Music

Friday, September 30, 2005

 

Anticlimax

As ever it is always a bit of an anticlimax when a long anticipated activity is completed.

Yesterday was mostly spent linking the new MP3 Ringtone product pages into the site. There's more to do on that front especially at the multi track shop but we've broken the back of it on the htm pages.

September has been a good month so far for traffic and sales growth after that lull in the summer. It is very hard to judge what the impact of ringtones will be - naturally the main key words are impossibly competitive for a new entrant like us. We are hoping of course, that our research has identified viable niches that will make all the work involved worthwhile. Part of the anticlimactic is the waiting to be picked up by the search engines after the first little flurry of activity around these blog pages. There has been massive spider activity over the last three days so that is quite encouraging.

We anticipate that MP3 Ringtones will attract a new audience but the extent of the cross over is hard to judge. There are clearly some experiments that we can try with specific pieces and composers, like Classical Composer MP3 Ringtone - Offenbach's Can Can's page or a suggestion at the bottom of our Ragtime arrangements page.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

 

MP3 Ringtones Launched - Press Release

Well, we finally got to the starting gate. Here is the Press Release which is due to be released tomorrow - you could have heard it here first!

Download2MP3 Launch Ringtones of Taste and Distinction

A collection of 32 Classical and 16 Ragtime MP3 Ringtones have been launched today at Download2MP3.com - they are comprised of phrases selected from the original percussion arrangements already published there.

The selections have been re-recorded in mono to reflect their application in mobile phones and their use as ring tones. Streaming technology allows these industry standard MP3 files to be heard freely and in full online before they are purchased.

Percussion instruments sometimes emphasise insistent tones to gain prompt attention, while other selections build to a crescendo. Yet others such as the Stoptime Rag by Scott Joplin include pregnant pauses. If you prefer a less intrusive signal then the rippling harp and drums in Faure's Apres un Reve may be just what you need. These Distinctive Ringtones can help you personalize your mobile phone in a tasteful and unobtrusive manner.

But in each case the unique instrumentation used in these arrangements means that the ring from your mobile phone will be instantly recognizable - that is unless you tell your friends that it came from www.Download2MP3.com.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

 

Responsive or What!

Yesterday's post went up rather late in the afternoon but within three or four hours someone had found it and made their way to our new MP3 Ringtones page and listened to a couple of streamed samples.

The new wizard on the block is Google's Beta Blog Search after rather disappointing experiences with Technorati this result is absolutely stunning. After months of speaking to a bunch of spiders it looks like we are going to have a growing human audience if we can maintain a flow of half decent content.

So to celebrate the launch of our mp3 ringtones here is a streaming sample Air on a G string by Johann Sebastian Bach - please note that the Multi-Tone-Shop isn't populated with Ringtone products yet but you can purchase individual ringtones for $0.99 (US)each - that starts today.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

 

Ringtones Launch Underway

Our initial collection of Distinctive MP3 Ringtones has gone up on the site today - for an early look or even purchase by anyone who can't wait.

The summary page and the individual sample playing pages have been produced and linked together with the specially selected and arranged mono ringtone MP3 files and the special streaming sample files. The collection is comprised of Classical and Ragtime MP3 Ringtones drawn from our percussion based arrangements.

Tomorrow we will be populating the Multi-Ringtone online store with theses products and make the links to the home page and the site map and the doing the press release.

We still haven't had a response on the streamer software trouble report so we'll have to escalate that tomorrow.

Monday, September 26, 2005

 

Undocumented Feature Exposed!

Yes it must be a BUG mustn't it.

A cunning test program pin pointed the novel little weakness of our streaming software that has cost us the best part of a week - still no comment from support of course!

It turned our that the software is indifferent to the stereo / mono characteristics of the MP3 files offered for recording streaming samples but it is sensitive to the compression settings i.e. more compressed files playback faster. Our LoFi samples of our music tracks did not trigger this effect the use of mono for our ringtones exposed more options including quite a few that produced the accelerated playback effect.

So we are now making special recordings of our ringtones for streaming purposes and they are actually a bit bigger than the files we are offering for sale - should be done in a couple of days!

Friday, September 23, 2005

 

The Plot Thickens

A bit more testing indicates that the streamer problem is specific to the ringtones we have recorded.

They are sampled at 48k rather than the 192K (HiFi) and 22K(LoFi) samples we have used to date. They are also mono rather than stereo. So it looks like some recording tests are going to be in order to see if we can isolate the problem and identify a fix. No comment from support so far - looks like we are on our own!

Perhaps we will end up offering lofi stereo streaming samples of medium fi mono ringtones.

Better get on with it now!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

 

Streamer Still Stuttering

Here are some thoughts on the power of demonstration which very much apply to our business - in our case it is streaming which places minimal on the visitor ( nearly everyone has Flash installed in their browser):

The Proof Is In The Power Of Demonstration!

My large, kindhearted dog isn't particular about what he
consumes. Hence, his nickname is "The Canine Vacuum".

Does he care if I put before him a hot dog or a juicy steak
bone?

It's highly unlikely. But, being the smart dog he is, he'll
probably gobble up the steak first and then inhale the hot
dog.

Yes, even a canine shows preference and is moved by choices.

Online marketing often calls this tactic "demonstration",
which involves a psychological power that influences a
visitor to take part in a decision-making process.

Live presentations and media like television and brochures
use demonstration to make a powerful impact. In this
approach, the audience is asked to go past being passive and
actually take a position for one way or another. In the
process, the audience's stance for one way that is closely
linked to your product or service will be strengthened.

A website demonstration goes beyond making a point in
writing. Online, you can go beyond listing pros and cons
and move into demonstrations that show proof. For instance,
in writing, you can tell why a dog chooses one food over
another and online, you can ask the visitor to guess which
food the dog will pick and then visually demonstrate the
answer.

Will your visitor need a flashy media player in order to see
your site's demonstration? This isn't necessary. You can
effectively use simple demonstrations online with the same
results. All you have to do is present a dilemma, two
pictures and ask the visitor to solve the problem. When the
visitor clicks on one of the pictures, you have engaged the
visitor in the tactic. For example, if your website sells
doggy treats, you can ask the visitor to pick the treat that
is healthiest for your dog's teeth from two choices: a
dentist-approved doggy treat with special ingredients and a
big juicy steak bone. Whichever picture the visitor clicks
on will explain the benefits of your product and support the
visitor's decision to get your product.

The main ingredient behind using demonstration is
involvement. Demonstration works well with even abstract
services that otherwise would be difficult to capture a
visitor's involvement. The trick to this type of service is
finding the drama or benefit behind the service. A "prop"
also can transport an abstract service into a concrete
object that the visitor can easily identify with. Many
"props" require use of the senses - experiencing, feeling,
tasting and touching. For instance, a prop for accounting
may involve numbers and savings. Pictures for accounting,
then, could be a person working a second job and a person
standing in front of a vacation home. The dilemma could be
"Where do you plan to spend your retirement years?" A prop
is a great aid that permits the visitor's mind to grasp much
quicker.

Your demonstrations don't have to reinvent fire or involve
creative masterminds before these tools will work in your
website. While it may be true that the mass majority of
visitors will show greater selectivity than my simple
canine, visitors will be moved by the power contained within
demonstration as long as they sense a good feeling about
their decision to participate and buy from you.


Copyright 2005 Riki Trafford. All rights reserved.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Riki Trafford shows you how easy it is for you to find
low cost, keyword-targeted,
pre-qualified web-site visitors
for your business.
For more information,visit http://www.1dmom.com/
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Evidence suggests we need to do a little more on the good feelings front but I think we are on the right track.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

 

Ringtone Streamer Software Stutters

We planned to post the announcement of our entry into the Ringtone Market yesterday but the software we use to produce the streaming pages took a turn for the worse. As far as we can see it has taken it into its code to playback in half the time and at a comensuratly raised frequency - not quite Pinky and Perky but heading that way.

Existing streams are still OK but recording attemps yesterday all met with the same fate. So the trouble ticket has gone in and we await the response and the world must wait a little longer for our distinctively tasteful ringtones.

In the mean time we'll get on and load the products into BitPass.

Monday, September 19, 2005

 

Ringtone Volume

Our first ringtone test has thrown up the issue of volume control on MP3 capable phones.

Air on a G string tends to be a relatively quiet piece normally so we hadn't cranked up the overall volume of the mix as far as usual and the result was almost inaudible on our Nokia test phone. A new recording at full volume did the trick though.

This area seems to be fraught with varying capabilities on the phones so we are going to have to tread carefully. The normalization software we have tried so far doesn't seem to answer the requirements of this task but a bit more testing is probably called for.

Friday, September 16, 2005

 

The start of a Trend?

Can two data points make a trend - well yes but not one you can rely on.

So a second day with human blog readers is encouraging but we shouldn't be getting too excited or building our hopes of comments or anything radical like that.

Yesterday saw some overdue housekeeping on our systems prompted by a full hard drive and a nasty trojan virus. It is hard to understand why no one, least of all Microsoft have produced a decent, reliable automated back up system for small networks. We all face the same nightmare of lost or corrupt datafiles, not to mention all the customisation and configuration settings we rely on day in and day out.

I also tried out the latest Dreamweaver upgrade - it looks very nice but I just don't see how they can justify the massive upgrade charge so I think we'll be staying with the current version.

Speaking of Ringtones .... more anon.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

 

New Readers Start Here:- Story so far

We had a human reader this morning for yesterday's post, visiting us deliberately and followed links through to a streaming sample - not that we want to make you self concious - it's just that we are watching and you are very welcome!

It occured to me that if we are going to get people as well as robots visiting a brief story so far might be in order.

We started the blog last December soon after the site was launched and have tracked the ups and downs ever since.

There was an extended excursion into Podcasting before we realised that our MP3 samples were apparently proving attractive as ringtones. The replacement of MP3 samples by streaming samples and all the accompanying anxiety over compatibility. In practice the change seems to have worked very well and few visitors experience any difficulty.

As a new kid on the block we are trying every free/very low cost trick in the book to try to achieve internet profile for our music and get it infront of as many ears as possible - confident that it will sell itself on its audible merits. How could anyone resist music like this.

For this reason some of the blog is food for spiders who devour it voraciously - for example:

Most recently we have been clarifying our iPod/iTunes compatibility because we offer such good value music to iPod users that can easily be managed with iTunes software.

We are currently working on a Distinctive Ring tones or is that Ringtones collection for discerning mobile phone users who want a discrete and tasteful way to assert their individuality. (We'll be back latter to insert the links.)

In case you weren't aware blogs are just like the books in George Orwell aka Eric Blair's '1984' the editors/ authors can go back and correct history or theirstory with out the reader being aware. Not sure what the spiders make of this but we'll try and find out in due course.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

 

Not so Niche

For us it is emerging that competition for the big composers Bach, Beethoven and Mozart is beyond our niche. Individual pieces or catalog alpha numerics find us but not say "bach mp3" or "mozart mp3". We do get the odd full name search for them including say "Ludvig van" or "Wolfgang Amadeus" but they are quite infrequent for obvious reasons.

We always knew that they were very competitive but some of our instrument approaches such as "steel band mp3" or "marimba MP3" seem to deliver very little traffic even though there are not so many competitor targeting that phrase.

I'm not sure it is polite or politic to mention this in public but we have experienced a dramatic fall in spam co-incident with Hurricane Katrina's landfall in New Orleans. I suppose we can only be sure of cause and effect if it returns when the city come back to life which thankfully seems much more likely now.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

 

Nice Niche if you can get it!

The new pages we launched last week such as Classical Ensembles haven't kicked in yet - I guess we have to be a bit more patient.

Here is an article from Riki Trafford which speaks to some of the issues facing us at the moment:

Stepping It Up Another Niche

At some time or another, you may have heard the saying,
"Jack of all trades and master of none!" This lack of
success, according to marketers, is often avoided by
locating a niche. By avoiding the temptation to sell
everything like a peddler, you can successfully concentrate
on one niche in a market.

Niche marketing is very useful on the Internet, where large
amounts of services and products are peddled. By first
finding a niche, you can position yourself in a more
favorable manner to an existing market. Even if you're a
sma
ll operation, you can still accumulate a large profit
through a niche. In other words, the amount of revenue that
you pull in doesn't have to be dependent upon the size of
your business when you find a niche.

The best way to get into a niche is to first find a need
that's not met and then go out and fill it. The wrong
approach is to put your product or service before a market
without knowing if the market will want it. However,
unearthing an open niche on the Internet is no easy task
since the Internet is home to over 50 billion websites that
sell a wide assortment of products and services. One way to
overcome this problem is to find special ways to present a
niche. Even the slightest change in how you approach a
niche compared to someone else can make a huge difference in
your experience selling that niche. To find a unique way to
sell that niche, begin with an inventory of your expertise.
Inside this inventory, you may come across a spin or
position that will make you stand out from the crowd.

Unfortunately, too many niches are poorly represented or
abandoned. Do some research about your niche before you
launch. The easiest way to research a niche is through
keywords. Make a list of keywords and synonyms that best
represent your niche and study what results pop up in
searches. Follow through to see if those listings are
thriving. If those sites look old, ask yourself why?
Perhaps they didn't present themselves well or the demand
for this niche has gone sour.

When you discover a gap inside a niche site that isn't well
represented, ask yourself if you could fill that gap in a
way that would interest your market. Many of these gaps are
found inside customer service. Could you prefer that
service better for your customers than your competitors?
Another type of gap involves keywords. Sometimes website
owners overlook keywords that are frequently used by their
market. You can mine for these keywords yourself by testing
keywords in Google and studying the results or by using a
free software such as Google Keywords by Softnik Technology
to find out how many searches per month are requested for
certain keywords along with the number of results that
appear.

Why pursue a niche that's fully saturated or very well
presented? In this case, you may want to pick an
alternative niche. Entering a niche that's well covered
requires lots of capital and a level of expertise that very
few people can pull off. For instance, do you have the
money and resources to compete with Amazon who's extremely
on top of their game at this time?

The best part about niche marketing is it allows you to
present your product or service to the right market and make
a quick profit. By first testing your market and finding
out if your market would be attracted to your product or
service, you then can place your best foot forward and stand
on solid ground.


Copyright 2005 Riki Trafford. All rights reserved.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Riki Trafford is the manager and developer of Direct MO
Marketing Inc
which offers low cost highly-targetted, keyword-focussed
web traffic. 1dmom.com also accepts article submissions on
traffic, marketing, and business topics. Get your article
archived on the Internet with your resources box, here:
http://www.1dmom.com/archive/submit.html
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Monday, September 12, 2005

 

Talking to Spiders

This blogging experience is an odd one.

When asked about it now, I tend to say that I'm writing for spiders since they constitute the bulk of my audience. It looks like we are averaging two humans visitors a day compared with perhaps a dozen robots. That is just a little better than talking to myself I suppose. Maybe I shouldn't have watched 'Beautiful Mind' last evening - the idea of choosing to ignore one's delusions is really quite disturbing.

Before we introduced Hitslink I operated on the assumption that there was a real likely hood of a regular readership and the whole series of daily streaming samples and before that podcasts was built on that assumption. But now we know that the blog is good for drawing the spiders attention to new material, changes to pages and new pages on the main site. Individual blog pages do sometimes appear in the main search engine pages and attract the occasional visitor but it is becoming evident that they time expire fairly soon and the main pages take over on the keywords for which they are optimized.

Activity on the site seems to be picking up after the summer lull and we are even making headway on generic keywords like 'classical mp3s', otherwise composer + mp3 or all / part of the title of a specific piece or its catalog number produce most of the traffic.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

 

New Orleans after Katrina

The impact of Katrina looks extraordinary from this side of the Atlantic. Global warming of the Gulf of Mexico looks to guarantee a regular supply of category 4 or 5 hurricanes to a coastal area where the emergency plans only go to a 3 even if they were implemented. See Wikipedia for current state of warming debate. Some houses on stilts with anchor cables, big windows that can be opened to let the hurricanes through and some new free way escape routes to higher ground look like the order of the day and this is just the beginning for coastal areas all around the globe.

My visit to New Orleans some 15 years ago marks the start of my serious involvement with computerized music when I bought a volume of piano transcriptions of Jelly Roll Morton's music from a shop in a street the French Quarter where he had played piano in a bordello. After transcribing three or four by hand in to MIDI format I began to search the web for existing MIDI transcriptions and the rest as they say is history.

So the potential loss of that wonderful city with it's extraordinary cultural history and diversity feels really personal even at this distance.

I hope that this brings the seriousness of the global warming risks to the forefront of political priorities in the US because the rest of the world can't fix it without you.

Sometimes world events just put our struggle to establish a nice little music business into a different perspective.

 

Website Health Check

We find that the sharpest prod to check out website performance issues is the visitor behavior analysis we get from Hitslink. We have been pretty successful in getting composer page visitors to listen to a sample but the sample page visitors are proving much more difficult to influence - we're still working on it but in the mean time here is an article by Tom Bishop on the subject:

Is Your Web Site Functioning to Its Optimum Capacity?

Define your goals for your website before you actually set
about the task of designing a website. Know your intentions
before you begin the construction and also be aware of the
areas you feel you may be strong, and weak in. A game plan
is always a wise thing to have right off the bat.

Peak efficiency of your site is a priority so take a
baseline measurement. In other words, are you attracting
visitors to your site or not? Watch in particular a given
month where there was no special events or promotional deals
going on at your site. Those ordinary, run of the mill
months are a more accurate indicator of what is taking
place. Keep a close eye on what is happening at your site,
at all times. Even if it is something very minor, you need
to know about it.

But what do you want individuals to do while they are
visiting your site? Read your stories, buy your products,
admire your artwork, sign your guest book? What? You have to
know ahead of time. Visitors who do what your site intends
when they are at it comprise a figure called the site
conversion rate.

To use an example to illustrate the point succinctly, if
your site registered 2,000 hits but a minimum of only 25
people bought something then your site conversion rate is
1.25%. This is come to by dividing the number of individuals
visiting by the number of visitors who also were kind enough
to purchase your merchandise. But it doesn't end there.
There is much more to discuss. Divide this figure by 100 and
that shows what is currently taking place at your site.

Your sales conversion rate is self-explanatory but differs
in comparison to the above-mentioned, site conversion rate.
Are you succeeding or failing in coaxing visitors to buy
what you have to offer? Whether you should be smiling or
frowning these rates should make it obvious to you. And once
you know what is happening you can plan your next strategic
move.

Search engine optimization can rescue a drowning website. It
can throw a much needed rope and life jacket to a website by
targeting the audience you wish to see at your site and
bring in more would-be customers. Never downplay the
significance of search engines in ensuring the success of
your site. You need optimization to take place! Some people
find search engine optimization time consuming and a hassle
so they hire a company designed for this purpose to do it
for them. That is fine. Whatever works best for you.

Are the buttons on your site easy to find and make use of?
Is your ordering page simple to read or is it cluttered and
bogged down with too much information? If you want people to
visit and even better, buy, accommodate them in every way
you can. Go the extra mile.

There are professional trained to know everything there is
to know about website performance. Don't be afraid to admit
you need help. We all do on occasion. Seek the assistance
you need and then watch your profits steadily climb!


Written by Tom Bishop of Web Traffic Blaze. Your
source for highly qualified low cost internet leads. Full
details here:
http://www.webtrafficblaze.com/

Observations on Katerina impact later....

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

 

French Impressionism Music

As we were putting the collection together we realized that French Impressionism music was making a significant and distinctive contribution.

We have now set up a page on french impressionism music with some background and examples or our original MP3 arrangements of work by some impressionist composers including Debussy and their teachers such as Faure and Saint Saens.

Here is a lofi streaming sample from one of my favorite examples Debussy's Rain Falling in the Garden.

It was our best day for visitors yesterday since we installed Hitslink - people seem to be coming back after the summer break. The failure log includes evidence of what appear to be crude attempts to steal some tracks but these security seems to have held up OK. These things are always a matter of balance between risk of loss, cost and ease of access by customers - think we've got it about right but we'll continue to keep a close eye on it.

Monday, September 05, 2005

 

Classical Music Ensembles

Although many of the arrangements published on our site are based on works originally composed for keyboards we have increasingly tackled works for classical music ensembles. These involve more complex decisions about how to group the different instruments and what to replace them with. It has been very encouraging, however, to find that the steel drum band often does an excellent job replacing the strings while the synthesized ocarina can extend itself across the whole wind section.

We have published a short account of our approach to tackling classical music ensembles with examples of the different percussion ensembles we have used. As ever any thoughts or comments would be most welcome.

August was a busy month for us - making lots of changes to the site - some of them have been very effective and others have had hardly any impact so far. So it is quite interesting to see, in these first few days of September, that spiders interested in the robot.txt file seem to at least equal human visitors to the site as a whole and out number them heavily for this blog. So I hope these spiders are musically minded even if their primitive vibration receptors (eight eyes and legs but no ears) miss the finer points of our arrangements.

Friday, September 02, 2005

 

Listening to 'Feel Good' Electronica Music Online

As part of broadening our Keyword net we put up a couple of think piece pages that could have gone in the blog but they involved a bit more research than you get for a daily blog.

We did a bit more digging - mainly in Wikipedia on the music genre question as it applies to us. Apart from exposing the depth of my ignorance about recent popular music it is also clear that we don't quite fit. While it is pretty clear that we do fit in Electronica that brings us alongside some unfamiliar bed fellows so we are seeking to qualify that with the 'Feel Good' . There is evidently some risk of confusion with the recent Gorillaz single 'Feel Good Inc' but we couldn't find anything else and I guess that will sink back to obscurity fairly soon. We'll need to look at updating our published MP3 files at some stage.

We've also published a little reflection piece on how we listen to music online and the impact that has on our production process. Some background for those interested in the thinking that goes into producing our kind of music.

Have a nice weekend.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

 

iPod Compatible Web Site

For reasons that passeth my understanding it seems that nobody visits our home page - despite all our efforts to make it attractive and informative only the spiders visit. So there has been an overhaul inspired by our wordtracker delvings and we are now emphasizing the opportunities we provide to buy original music online from an iPod compatible website.

We have also added an iTunes Help page for those concerned about how to import mp3 music into iTunes .

There are also pieces about our music genre and listening to music online but more of that tomorrow.

In the meantime here is a clip from Scott Joplin's Solace for the people of the Southern States whose life has been turned upside down by hurricane Katrina.

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