Songs might be considered the atoms of recorded music distribution — they can form molecules (albums) or merge with other atoms (mash-ups).
Given that the 74-minute length of a CD is an artificial construct, possibly derived from the length of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, it seems a bit odd that bands still release albums now that digital formats have exploded physical constraints on what constitutes a release.
Earlier this year, we took a look at SongPier, which promises to turn any song into an app. Today we’re exploring viinyl, a music distributor that creates a web page for each individual song in an attempt to compete with services like Bandcamp, Spotify and YouTube, which also assign individual URLs to songs, facilitating sharing on Facebook, Twitter, and whatever comes next.
Viinyl, still in beta, purports to help musicians claim that URL for their own and take advantage of SEO (search engine optimization) techniques to help fans find their songs on their pages, rather than somewhere else.
Is this this idea of breaking down recorded music to its atomic level brilliant or crazy? We interviewed Viinyl founder Armine Saidi to find out why he thinks each song should have its own URL (interview edited for length and clarity).
Eliot Van Buskirk, editor, Evolver.fm: What’s the main advantage of associating one song with one URL?
Armine Saidi, founder, viinyl: A web page offers more features than the typical MP3-with-JPEG, or than displaying a song title and artist name in a generic playlist format. It is an excellent medium for showcasing music, because when the consumer is attracted and seduced by the site, the experience can easily be pushed further to Facebook, Twitter, blogs, purchasing an album, etc. This is all accomplished using the same URL.
We strongly believe that the URL format is the future of new music discovery and share
this opinion with many of the large industry players, such as Spotify. [Users can link to any song on Spotify using a regular URL or a Spotify URI].
Spotify believes that the URL is poised to become the next universal format for music, and will be the primary way for fans to be exposed to music. We want to empower artists and music professionals to take control of their own branding, online presence and music distribution, one URL at a time.
Evolver.fm: What sort of bands are signing up so far? Any big names?
Saidi: We span a huge range of artists from international acts such as Stromea and Yanni, to the Band of Skulls, Yoav, Armistice and Misteur Valaire — as well as emerging bands and relatively unknown artists. [Ed. note: Interestingly, most of these bands use their band name as their Viinyl URL, rather than a song title.]
Viinyl not only enhances the music experience on the web, but provides the artists with effective tools that can help them bring new songs to market more efﬁciently while giving them maximum control over music distribution, reach and branding.
Evolver.fm: Do most bands and labels fail to capitalize on SEO [search engine optimization], and if so, what are they missing?
Saidi: One way in which they tend to fail is by using Flash-based websites, which are virtually invisible to most search engines, Google included. While a Flash site may look good, search engines look for speciﬁc text and content and a site should be organized in such a way as to allow search engines to easily understand your site.
Evolver.fm: How does Viinyl’s handling of SEO solve their problems?
Saidi: Viinyl sites are optimized to get the best search engine results. All the basic elements are taken care of, and we use simple HTML code that’s easy for search engines to read. We also encourage bands and labels to create a viinyl for each song they have, and to continuously promote them. The artists can increase their online presence by multiplying the amount of times their band name, song titles, metadata, etc. appear online.
Here’s a great example: Montreal-based band Misteur Valaire used viinyl to launch their
single “Ave Mucho” featuring Bran Van 3000 in October 2010. The band chose this
specific viinyl as the go-to source for their song when dealing with fans, media/bloggers,
etc., and directed all traffic and promotional efforts to it. Fans and prospective fans were then guided to the band website, where they could purchase the album, register for the
mailing list, see concert venues, etc. Today their single “Ave Mucho” still ranks first when
you do a search on Google.
Evolver.fm: Have you noticed any interesting trends lately with how people are using viinyl since the service first attracted media attention in December?
Saidi: Some artists have adopted the viinyl format for their ofﬁcial website, redirecting their domain name to viinyl. We’ve seen other artists use viinyl to launch contests, EPKs [electronic press kits], and as a promotional tool, using viinyl’s video feature to introduce themselves, an upcoming event/tour, or an album launch. It makes the whole experience much more personal and fun, since the artist is talking directly to his/her fans. For example, see the Dutch band Novackʼs viinyl.
I think the most interesting and fun trend to date is how fast our brand “viinyl” has been adopted by artists and fans as a noun [ed. note: we have yet to hear this]. Instead of using the word “music” or “song” to relate to their art, we see “listen to my viinyl,” “I like this viinyl,” “I discovered this new viinyl from so-and-so,” etc.