Social Songs

This new feature in Bittunes has been in planning and refinement for over a year. It was not something we originally thought about when we first conceived of the platform, it grew out of feedback and suggestions that we received from Bittunes Artists. We started to understand some particular issues and frustrations that some of our Artists were experiencing, and realized that they were significant ‘pain points’ in their music careers.

The Social Songs feature in Bittunes extends the platform in exciting new ways
What did we learn from our Artists?

The frustrations that these Artists were feeling were not primarily related to issues about selling music, they were mainly about engaging with fans and building a following. Let’s take the case of Anthony from Pludo:


Anthony engaged us in a conversation about what he really wanted, as a Street Performing Artist. His problem was that when his street performance ends, the crowd quickly disperses, and he loses a lot of the value of attracting that crowd. He is selling less and less CD’s every year, and works hard to build a following. He currently uses Facebook for this process of giving updates about his gigs to his Facebook followers, but Facebook charges for this and he is paying more than a thousand dollars a year to send bulk messages to his own followers.
So he wanted us to help him solve two problems.
  1. He wanted a simple way to sell (or give away) a digital download to as many people 
in the crowd as possible.
  2. To collect contact details of these fans so he could contact them (for free) when he had a gig coming up.

So this presented us with a challenge we hadn’t expected. We’d been focused on ways to monetize music distribution, so the idea of helping Artists to give away music to build a following was something we had not considered. However, as discussed on the Overview page, an understanding of the potential of the Artist as Primary Publisher in the Bittunes paradigm leads to some interesting conclusions.

In Bittunes 2.0 the power of the Artist to build an engaged following will be significant

If an Artist wants to give one track from an Album away to stimulate interest, there’s absolutely no reason why the people who receive that track cannot send it to dozens or hundreds of other people. A free track cannot be a Pirated track, and the more people that share it, the larger the group of followers that the Artist can gain.

We had already been closely examining Changetip, and its viral growth characteristics

In late 2014 we became very interested in seeing how ChangeTip was working with Bitcoin tipping. There was a fair bit of excitement about this startup and it was clear that it was potentially a very viral mechanism for spreading awareness of Bitcoin. The first idea we had was we could improve on the ChangeTip model by allowing users to send songs (that kept on earning) instead of simply sending small Bitcoin tips.

For various reasons, we realized that it this would not be a scalable model, as songs would have to be purchased twice by the sender for the system to function, and bitcoin adoption was still not extensive enough for this kind of process to ride any kind of popular wave to become a main stream success.

However, the process that Changetip used to quickly build membership was very compelling

Both the social media engagement method that Changetip used and the way existing users could recruit new members so easily became a strong inspiration for us in designing the new Social Songs features in Bittunes 2.0.

A brief description of the ideas inherent in the Social Songs feature

When tracks are displayed in the Bittunes 2.0 interface, they will have some unique properties. Music tracks will be able to index or reference people associated with those tracks. In this way songs can display a ‘people history’ relevant to that user. This can be applied in various ways. A song authorized by an Artist to be provided for free to users, could be sent to a list by the Artist, or could be ‘pulled’ by fans, (without the Artist knowing who they were beforehand). In these various circumstances, Bittunes 2.0 will offer visibility of the social side of music sharing. 🙂

Introducing Bitcoin to millions of new users

Although enabling Bittunes Artists to give away songs for free may seem like we are decoupling Bitcoin from the application. In fact we see this as a way to introduce millions of people to Bitcoin who are not currently using it.


(more details soon)

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