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Digital Predictions for 2013

30 Dec

So last year I was rather swept up with hype (buzzwords / what the tweeps were raving on about at SXSW) during my 2012 Social Media predictions. Explains why most were a little off-course. This year looking out is a little more reserved. Grounded. But this isn’t just a reflection of another year of experience under my belt. Maybe a little wiser. I’m sure as hell not getting smarter. This is a reflection of how we, as a society, are embracing these platforms and new technologies. Below are my thoughts and predictions for Social Media the Digital landscape in 2013:

The slow death of social media as you know it (agency side at least)

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Ridding the term ‘Social Media’ would be a great place to start. It just feels a little beguiling. Who titled platforms such as MySpace, Bebo, Facebook that anyway? Was emails to and from a friend not social? How about MSN. You’re telling me messenger and those chat rooms (emo, punk, ska, whatever was my gang) wasn’t social? Platforms aren’t social, people are.

Apart from being descriptively inaccurate the title also suggests compartmentalised activity,”I’m just going to make a cuppa, take Marly for a walk then do some Social Media.” Social isn’t just a stand-alone piece of activity. It’s a layer on top of everything we do. Equipping us with the tools to share our thoughts and experiences to our family, friends, communities and complete strangers.

With a better understanding of the above we will see a shift away from building Social Media platform ideas towards Digital solutions that are inherently Social.

MySpace will fail

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There’s a key ingredient for the success of a community platform – critical mass. Without it the platform, as an enabler, holds little worth. Take mobile phones for example; wonderful little things that connects us to our friends through a call, text, Whatsapp, tweet etc. We all take these devices for granted but what if no one else was using one? Wouldn’t be as appealing would it? Now add to the mix a host of rival communication methods that your friends already use. Not much incentive to stick to the ol’ dog and bone if that was the case. That’s what MySpace is facing in the other corner.

4G will accelerate smart phone consumption

A few reason why 4G will be a massive game changer for digital:

  • 4G will accelerate media consumption on mobile: The speeds at which we can download / stream data to 4G-enabled phones will boost adoption of media streaming services and create a stronger lean towards consuming more video clips, show and movies on our phones than ever before.
  • User experience: I’ve been part of BBH Labs for 10 months now and one thing more than anything that has stood out in the wealth of learnings is UX. This is an absolute deal breaker if you’re hoping visitors to enjoy their experience and want to come back to your page, app or thing for more later on. As you’ve probably experienced at some point, 3G has a habit of being pretty slow whether loading the next level of a game, waiting for content to populate on a page or buffering streaming content. This won’t be such an issue with 4G providing a richer and smoother mobile UX that will see users coming back for more.
  • 4G will drive down the price of smart phone devices: As we trade up for 4G, 3G and other smart phones will be looking to still attract consumers; driving down cost-to-purchase seems a clear path. This will mean more people will be able to afford an internet-enabled smart phone increasing the percentage of us who is connected to the web and everything around us. That leads nicely onto my next point…

A more connected world; the internet of things

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The Internet of Things (IoT) is the concept that the internet can be harnessed to enable us to communicate with the machines around us, and the machines with each other. By using the internet, the objects around us become capable of communicating for us.

Technologies such as radio-frequency identification (oyster cards), sensors or cloud-computing, the machines you use everyday could send you updates – when your washing load is done or when the kids are raiding the fridge for a midnight snack.

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There are many examples IoT in action already. Take your Sky+ box which can be commanded by your iPhone no matter where you are in the country. Philips’ Hue LED light bulbs allow you to control the colour and mood of lighting from your phone. Even the garage door that opens when it senses your car is approaching.

This is just the tip of the iceberg and as our smart phones becoming not just the hub of communication but our lifestyle remote we will continue to see ways how objects around us serve to benefit our lives and experiences.

– So that’s my thoughts for what to look forward to in 2013. Technology has been moving a lot faster than the people using it so I personally look forward to the industry taking one step back and designing on-message campaigns of real value and mass reach. In short, let us put the people first 2013 and begin serving them branded content and services that benefit, entertain and connect.

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Djay for iPad: Everyone wants to be a DJ, now you can!

5 Dec

If you’ve long held the dream of rocking a crowd from a pair of decks but lack the cash, you should check out djay for iPad. For just $20, Djay can turn Apple’s tablet into a pretty sweet DJ setup.

The user interface is laid out like an actual DJ system, with two turn tables and a mixer. There are a ton of mixing options, like automatic beat and tempo detection, as well as visual mixing with audio waveforms.

But let’s be honest: You’re not here for the mixer; you came here to scratch. With djay, you can mix in any track from your iPad music library. An auto-cut scratching feature enables you to hit the ground spinning without ruining anyone’s night. And when your hands get tired from dropping phat beats, you can switch to Automix mode, and djay will keep the party going by spinning through your iPad music collection!

Design: Turn your Ipod Nano in to a Multi-Touch watch!

22 Nov

Have you ever thought how sweet it would be to turn your iPod in to a watch? Nah… neither did I! But thankfully Scott Wilson, who has designed for clients including XBox and Nike, has designed a new multi-touch watch based around the new iPod Nano!

Click below for more info!!!

Continue reading

Beatles collection available on iTunes

16 Nov

Finally. Phewww! The battle between Beatles and iTunes has been resolved as 16 albums and individual went live at 5am GMT.

Single tracks were for sale at iTune’s U.S. “hit single” price of $1.29 wach with full iTunes LP’s at $12.99. The Beatles went live on iTunes UK this morning as well.

Jay Z’s sexy new website to celebrate his greatest hits

14 Nov

To promote upcoming anthology, The Hits Collection, the rap god has launched a beautiful new website for all to see.

The entire site, which was built with Flash, is fresh and visually intense, executed in stunning black and white with atmospheric, New York City photography and classic typography.

The site is rich with multimedia features, including full-screen images and gorgeously produced videos. These highly visual elements dominate and recede at the click of a mouse; user controls are intuitive and unique at the same time.

 

SignMe To Roadrunner Records: Crowd-sourced A&R

12 Nov

From Hypebot: Roadrunner Records has launched a new service called SignMeTo. The idea behind the site is to allow fans and unsigned bands to take part in the A&R process. Users operate as scouts and seek out unsigned band profiles, rating them according to their preference. As users interact with and rate more artists, the amount of influence they have increases.

 

Such actions influence the charts on the site. Along the way, bands can also earn badges, some of which are handed out by real staff at the label. For instance, an unsigned artist gets a badge if enough scouts play their song or if an A&R rep reviews their album. At present, SignToMe has 12,000+ active band profiles, still better than Ping, and 32,000+ scouts. While there are ultimately no promises, if the right band caught the interest of Roadrunner Records, they could get signed. For rock, alternative, and metal bands, this site could be a good place to find more focused fans. Also, it makes A&R easy for Roadrunner too.

How to get noticed: Go Viral | Google Demo Slam

11 Nov

I’ve spoken to many artists in the past discussing what they are trying to do to make it. The typical response is your standard band template, playing live show and writing more songs. Foundations yes, but nothing distinctive. [editor’s note: this isn’t remotely directed to one of my mates who messaged me!!!]

One simple and quick route to being noticed is to embrace the internet and the power to share content! Sucks if it’s your own music which you’re stubbornly hoping to make a buck on, but what if it’s not!?

I think covering popular songs of the moment is probably one of the most sure-fire ways to get exposure. Here a killer Beyoncé track, hit the studio, add some indie-math-core sounds  or some ikea-folk melodies and upload it to all the music sites you know!

You will be getting hits for anyone who searches the title of that popular song, but you will also grabbing the listener’s attention as they already love the original! From there, I’m sure they’re thinking “Ok, that was pretty damn sweet! Lets see what other tunes these bad boys have!”

There is however a second viral method hitting the underground web… Real-Time

You probably have seen it a bit through that Chat Roulette Piano guy, but real-time music seems to be making waves underneath. And who is taking it to the next level? Yeah you guessed it! Google!!!

Google’s Demo Slam

So this is pretty cool. It’s inventive and an education on how web 3.0 music entrepreneurs are working to get exposure. All you need is that one big break and you will have a whole digital army willing to give the rest of your (authentic) music a listen!

Click the picture or the link to check it out!

Playstation phone “Zeus”: Pictures and details

1 Nov

So there is a lot of talk with all the smart-phones kicking about! iPhone’s (lack of) dominance seems to be the trending topic with ground being made up by Android while Blackberry seems to be slipping. Here’s hoping Business is able to meet Fun! On the topic of fun, the Playstation phone is an exciting contender!

It kind of makes sense too! Most iPhone users are that because of the apps and most of these apps are primarily for music or gaming. What better company to come in for a phone centered around gaming than Sony!? Continue reading

Mashable’s best music website design award: The Sixty One

1 Nov

Mashable, the popular tech-savvy blog, named The Sixty One as their best music site for web design. With so many emerging sites for listening to music it is difficult to distinguish one site from another. TheSixtyOne.com has managed this with a different kind of listening experience. Here is what mashable had to say:

“When it comes to consuming new music, there are “lean forward” experiences and “lean back” experiences. Thesixtyone manages to offer both.

Formerly a convoluted, music-focused social network, this year the Thesixtyone controversially relaunched as a site where musicians of all stripes, especially independent musicians, can interact with fans and peddle their tunes. The “new” Thesixtyone.com scrapped a ton of clutter from its former iteration, paring down the entire site to its most fundamental and beautiful element: The music itself.

The new site offers a full-window music player that gives users as interactive or passive an experience as they desire, and the huge images and solid typography make the page a pleasure to behold.

The site’s new features also include mood-based listening, similar to what we’ve seen from MySpace’s new (and quite awesome) Romeo iPad app and Getty Images’ MoodStream.

While many users revolted, we have to give Thesixtyone a huge hand for creating such a simple and gorgeous showcase for independent music.”

5 great digital services to listen to free music

31 Oct

With all this talk about piracy and all it is surprising knowing how few of us know about the legal alternatives!

So stop using YouTube as your source for terrible quality and slow loading times and have a play with these:

GrooveShark – This is easy as it gets for listening to any music!

TheSixtyOne – I really like this player. It plays music you will like depending on the mood or what’s trending.

Pandora – The best Internet radio player out there! It’s so good Ford is having the service installed in to all of their new models.

Last.fm – Last.fm lets you effortlessly keep a record of what you listen to from any player. Based on your taste, Last.fm recommends you more music.

We7 – is a music destination where you can listen to, share and discover music for FREE, legally and safely.

Enjoy music without the viruses or crap quality!

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