ASK STEVE #4 – Idea Brainstorm for MusicExplained.net

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Hi Steve,

Have you ever stayed up late at nite pondering what the deeper meaning of 50 Cents smash hit “in the club” was?
Is it a metaphor for life? Well maybe not, but this is the premise of www.musicexplained.net, developed and co/founded by myself and by my founding partner.

musicexplained is –

-a reference point for song lyrics, meanings and interpretations

-a social network with all the usual network features

-a resource like urban dictionary where users vote for the most interesting, plausible or humorous explanations

Right now, content is king and we are at a loss how to obtain this without having to input a zillion lyrics ourselves, which kinda defeats the purpose.

So what ideas do you have to promote, generating content and any other suggested thoughts?

As a side-note, enjoy your blog immensely and glad to see new posting being made.

All the best
Andrew


I like the idea — I’m an obsessive music fan, but not so much with lyrics. I’m more about beats and rhythms — unless I’m going through a break-up, then I’m listening to every single lyric in every single song. But I think there’s a market for people that love to discuss lyrics (and poetry).

I think there are Rights issues with lyrics — there are tons of lyrics websites out there that republish lyrics, but I don’t think they have the rights to do so. Yahoo recently launched a lyrics search engine — I don’t know if they secured lyrics for all of them or what.

I think you need to get the lyrics. Find out if you need rights to reprint them — if you don’t, then I’d go scraping some other lyrics websites (using an offline web browser possibly — or some kind of linux-based crawler). Without lyrics, I think you’re in a bit of a bind — it’s an assumption that if I’m going to discuss lyrics on a site, that I’d read the lyrics there.

You also need to get artist names populated into your database. Look at either scraping (once again), or becoming an affiliate of Amazon.com or iTunes — and getting a product data feed sent over to you. Then parse the feed, rip out the artist names, and populate them into your DB. Or look at like Musicbrainz.org or I’m sure there are other artist databases that exist out there (definitely ones you can pay big bucks for from Muze or AMG).

Then you need to get people — users — a community formed. Easiest way to tap into a preformed community seems to be building your site as a Facebook application initially. Then people start seeing friends in their news feeds — “Steve Poland just explained how ‘Gin & Juice’ by Snoop Doggy Dogg changed his life.”

You could focus on both meanings of lyrics, but maybe also what people’s experiences/remembrances are with each song? Songs trigger memories — I’m sure everyone has specific memories for many many songs out there (like your first kiss with someone, etc).

Last.fm allows users to comment on specific songs — but doesn’t have lyrics (probably because of the Rights issue I’d assume).

Also, you’re using parameters in your search query for a specific artist’s page. I’m just being anal with this comment, but I’d get rid of parameters — make it easy like “www.musicexplained.com/modest_mouse/dashboard/” — I think this would help with your organic SEO efforts as well. You can do this cool little trick by using your 404 page — basically, when the server doesn’t see that page exists, it’ll call your 404 page, in which you’ll have a script that knows how to break that URL up — and can then display http://www.musicexplained.net/s/lyrics.cfm?a=Modest+Mouse&s=Dashboard — but the user (and search engine) simply sees the proper page load (with the URL of www.musicexplained.com/modest_mouse/dashboard/ ).

Overall, not something I’d personally pursue given what I believe to be a Rights issue with the lyrics — and lyrics seem essential to being on this idea’s website.