SoundCloud is a Berlin based startup that lets musicians and bands collaborate and promote and distribute music. There are no upload file size limits and uploaded music can be shared anywhere including Twitter and other social media sites or embedded in any webpage using a widget. According to Wired, SoundCloud's freedom and flexibility have made it the preferred place for musicians to distribute sample tracks and interact with their fans, displacing MySpace.
SoundCloud also has apps for iOS and Android and desktop and mobile webapps that let anyone sample uploaded tracks for free and without the need to register.
The mobile webapp is new. SoundCloud created it after realizing that Twitter was driving a lot of mobile browser traffic to their Flash based desktop site. On the SoundCloud Blog, musician and SoundCloud product manager Matas Petrikas explains how the mobile site was built using backbone.js and node.js among other things.
Intended to be cross platform, SoundCloud worked flawlessly for me with the Android and Opera Mobile 11.5 for Symbian browsers. The site also rendered well with the WebOS and bada browsers but sound files didn't stream on either platform. WebOS reported an error streaming and bada downloaded the files without even trying to stream. Once downloaded the SoundCloud files played without problems in the bada and WebOS media players. The only browsers I tried where SoundCloud wasn't usable were Opera Mini and the Symbian Anna browser. Both were unable to load more than the top titlebar of the SoundCloud site.
Rolling Stone Mobile
It looks like the premier US rock and roll magazine, Rolling Stone launched a mobile site back in June. I just learned of its existence from the Oh! Mobile Directory. The site certainly hasn't gotten a lot of buzz, I couldn't find any mention of it on Technorati or Google Blog Search. Now that I've seen it I can understand why no one seems to have blogged it - the site is a lot less useful than it could be.
For many years the magazine has been using the free subscription service Avantgo as its sole mobile outlet. Avantgo started over 10 years ago as a service for side-loading web content to PDAs - which were not connected devices back then. That original purpose is reflected today in the requirement to create an account to use the service and limits on the number of pages that can be included in an Avantgo channel. Rolling Stone's Avantgo Channel is still around and is one of a handful showcased at avantgo.com/operamini4 that are available without the need to login.
Avantgo channels are not indexed by Google and Yahoo's mobile web crawlers so discovery is poor. Linking to items in them doesn't seem to work either (the links keep changing). Links are the discovery engine of the web including the mobile web. So it should be good news the The Rolling Stone is embracing the open mobile web at last. However, the new mobile site is rather disappointing.
Rolling Stone Mobile is at m.rollingstone.com. It has a completely different design than the Avantgo channel. There are a lot more stories too but there is also a fatal flaw. Unlike the Avantgo channel, articles on the mobile site are truncated at about 650 characters. The truncation is very obvious as it occurs at random points in the middle of a sentence and is followed with [Go to the rollingstone.com website to read more ]. That "rollingstone.com" is not even a link so even though I'm using a "full-web" mobile browser I can't easily "Go to" rollingstone.com. I would have to type in the url and then search around for the article - useless. This is a step backwards from the Avantgo channel, where the same stories are not truncated. All links are removed from articles on m.rollingstone.com too, including ones that could be internal links to other stories on the mobile site. Links to videos are replaced by static un-clickable images with a picture of a Play button and the words "Play Video" superimposed which is almost funny.
Come on Rolling Stone, take a look at what works on the mobile web. According to Nielsen, the US mobile news and entertainment sites with the most traffic are m.cnn.com and espn.mobi. In the UK the top media sites on the mobile web are BBC News, BBC Sports and Sky Sports. All five of these media outlets put virtually their entire online content on the mobile web without truncation using pagination and with working internal links. The Nielsen numbers, which are consistent with other mobile traffic metrics I've seen make it clear that users prefer sites delivering full and complete news articles including long format pieces over truncated story teasers or "made for mobile" article summaries. Rolling Stone magazine and rollingstone.com on the web do a great job of capturing the excitement and vitality of the music scene with great writing, photos and video. I just wish that Rolling Stone would stop treating the web on mobile phones a toy platform by delivering that great content on m.rollingstone.com too.
The official mobile site of the Eurovision Song Contest is no more. Eurovision is now recomending that mobile users visit the Eurovision YouTupe channel at youtube.com/eurovision
Eurovision, which is televised live throughout Europe is hugely popular with 600 million people viewing the finals which were won this year by Germany.
Music Host Network
Vibe, the hip hop and R&B magazine founded by Quincy Jones which folded in June, 2009, has be revived under new ownership as a web only publication. It features music, style and entertainment news, photos and gossip with an emphasis on the hip hop, R&B, rap, reggae and soul musical genres. Mobile view by Mobify.
idiomag is a personalized online music magazine offering the latest in music news, reviews, music tracks and streaming videos.
While anyone can use idiomag and get generic content, if you register at idiomag.com you can set you musical preferences and import your profile from last.fm Pandora, iLike, Playlist.com, MyStrands, MOG or Songza. idiomag will then be personalized with music recommendations, tracks and videos based on your musical likes.
The mobile edition includes news, reviews and videos. It uses browser detection and adaptation to deliver a "lite" version to basic phones and a richer presentation to advanced handsets like S60 3rd edition phones using Webkit and the iPhone. Opera Mini only gets the basic version, unfortunately.
I'm a little concerned with idiomag's page size. The lite version is a surprising large 28 KB, too large for many low-end phones to display completely. The culprit is poor image optimization. A single 50x50 thumbnail is over 18 KB; By removing the EXIF header and increasing the jpeg compression I was able to get the image size down to 1,191 Bytes. Can you see the difference? I can't - the optimized image is on the right.
The Do's & Don'ts Band
The Do's & Don'ts are a 50's & 60's Rock and Roll oldies band that's been active for over 50 years.They are an Iowa Rock 'N Roll Music Association Hall of Fame Inductee. The bands mobile site has photo's, fan comments, a sample track mp3, click to call contact number and schedule of upcoming appearances.
It's not unusual for musical performers to have a website, in fact it's practically a business necessity. But what about a mobile site to promote your band? The way mobile web usage is growing having a mobile version of your site it get you more traffic, increase CD and .mp3 sales and maybe even help you get more gigs. Jermaine Landsberger & Paulo Morello, jazz players from Hamburg, Germany have done just that with this nicely designed mobile site promoting their latest album "Hammond Eggs" About that name, Jermaine plays the Hammond organ so that explains the first part, don't know about the "eggs". The mobile site has photos and bios of the muscians on the CD, and mp3 excepts of all the tracks. Take a look and Listen, I think you'll like Hammond Eggs.
St. Louis Jazz Notes
Mobile edition of AllAboutJazz.com features news, album and live performance reviews, player profiles and an international calendar of live gigs. The image heavy site is over 185 KB and may be too big to load on some mainstream phones. Source Oh! Mobile Directory
A guide to Tiki bars and Polynesian restaurants around the world. 600 Listings with reviews, ratings on 10 criteria like food, decor, drinks and "tikiness", address, link to Google mobile map, click to call phone number. The site works with Opera Mini and WebKit, unfortunately a markup error makes it impossible to login to Critiki with Openwave, Motorola and some Nokia browsers.
News from the Hip-Hop music industry
Slick new mobile version of AllHipHop.com the leading web destination for HipHop music fans. The mobile site has news, rumors, interviews, editorials and feature articles covering the world of hiphop. There are videos too but they are embedded Flash content and do not work on any mobile phone I've tried.
The official site of the South by Southwest Music, Film and Interactive Festivals which start Mar. 13th this year. View schedules and download your choice of hundreds of mp3's and movie trailer videos in 3gp, mp4 and wmv mobile formats. You can also search for band appearances and movie screenings by SMS.
My taste in music doesn't run to HipHop, but if yours does you'll enjoy this site which features several dozen full length music videos from the likes of Little Wayne, Birdman, Soulja Boy, Sean Kingston and Nelly in streaming 176x144 H.263 format.
Lyricos - Lyrics Search
Song Lyrics is neat little mobile web application that lets you look up the lyrics to popular songs. It's hosted on Twilightwap.com, a mobile portal that claims to be the world's largest with 7 million daily pageviews! The Song Lyrics site has lyrics for 320,000 songs.
When I first heard about this I thought that the way a lyrics search site should work is that you enter a snippet of lyrics and the site does a full-text search to find all songs containing that phrase.
I had this blues refrain, "feel like a ballgame on a rainy day" running through my head and wanted to find out who the artist was and get the full lyrics.
Unfortunately, Song Lyrics doesn't work that way, you have to enter the song title or artist to search for lyrics. Given that limitation the site works fairly well. You enter a full or partial song title or artist name, the site returns a list of matching titles and lets you read the full text of your chosen song's lyrics right on your phone.
Search capabilities are limited and a little buggy. But once you figure out the limitations it's a fun and useful site. Song Lyrics searches for titles or artists that contain any of the words in your search phase. Putting a phase in quotes doesn't change this. Searching artists for "Grateful Dead" returns all artists with either "Grateful" or "Dead" in their names. The Grateful Dead themselves appear 20th in the results.
Searching for titles has an additional wrinkle. Results that match your query appear first, which is good . But after the matching results, Song Lyrics keeps listing song titles that have nothing to do with your search. The irrelevant results seem to be the same ones every time - no matter what you search for. Usability isn't hurt much as long as you know to ignore any results not containing your keywords.
I do think a full-text mobile lyrics search would be cool but I haven't found one yet. But Google's transcoded web search for mobile works pretty well for finding lyrics. I Entered "feel like a ballgame on a rainy day" into Google on my phone and the first hit had the lyrics. Digging a little deeper into Google revealed the song is Chuck Willis' 1954 "I Feel So Bad" which was later covered by Little Milton, Otis Rush, Elvis and The Foghead.
Nightclub calendar for New Zealand.
Part of the Ticketmaster empire,Sound Spike is a Pop Music news site. In addition to news, the site also lists upcoming concert dates and has music CD reviews.
17-May-2009 - Sound Spike seems to have shut down their mobile site, this Mowser version of the Sound Spike RSS feed seems to be the best alternative.
Australians can now search concert and club dates on the mobile web with Moshtix which is part of Rupert Murdoch's News Ltd. empire. Users who have registered a credit card with Moshtix on the web can purchase tickets on the mobile site.
Music News, Photos, Tickets, Videos, Forum, Reviews, Features, Festivals, Festival Guide and Festival line ups, Top 40 Bands, Venue Search, Band, Classifieds (band members wanted, etc.) Image heavy pages (100+ KB/page) may be an issue with basic phones and slow networks.
26-Feb-2013: Site is down