As an artist in the digital age, you are faced with a bombardment of ‘guidelines’ on promoting your music. The idea of being everywhere is great, but most of us just don’t have the time and resources to do so. With that being said, as of writing this article, there are two kingpins that have established their dominance as must haves for musicians. Of course we are talking about Soundcloud and for diehard dj’s that gave up mixtapes, mixcloud. Fairly new on the scene however, is a social platform for musicians that is showing day by day that its bite, may even be bigger than its roar. Will this be our new crowned king in time to come? With so many newcomer websites, most people will sign up and probably glance at it once in a blue moon, this is not the case with HearThis. HearThis is worth your time and effort, let’s take a look at some of the key features of HearThis that are promising.
The site is very clean. With a new beta having just rolled out, it is that much easier to browse. Some competitor sites feel like bread and butter others, a soggy cookie or some weird as hell exotic dish that you are probably allergic to, HearThis tastes more like nanas baking. Menus are easy to differentiate and understand, a classic L shape creates a nice distinction between your personal menu and the music browsing menu. Profiles have prominent imagery with bios and links being clear, quick to spot and best of all non-intrusive.
Live chat, account switching, smart feed, easy commenting, set commenting. There are so many things you wish you could do with platforms like Soundcloud that come to be frustrating. These frustrations are obviously understood by the HearThis team. Likes are re-shares go to your feed, your profile is easy to get to and manage, messages work like an e-mail system while an online chat function with friends built in allows you to stay on site and converse in real time. No more having to switch to Facebook and find your friends message in the mountain of spam. For those that run blogs, record companies or multiple aliases, there is also a very easy account switch option, which feels familiar to the styling of gmail.
Filter by Genre, Sub genre, Length, Upload date & Artist location. Categories are something we expect. We want to differentiate rock from dance, hell we want to differentiate break beat from house. With most spots though, that is where it stops.We all know not all house is born the same. HearThis allows you to filter by sub-genre, length of upload (so you can skip listening to mixes and just stick to singles or vice versa) and upload date. Oh but they don’t stop there. Anyone looking for artists in THEIR area, can find them by simply adding a location to their filter! You can literally find all deep house artists located in any country, and any city! This tool is nothing but amazing for people looking to discover local talent, and local talent wanting to be found.
Playlist / Sets
A clear cut difference between the two. Playlists are a play history. Sets are an interactive feature allowing you to share and co create. Playlist: simply a list of tracks that you have played. It sits nested on the right of your screen and you can add tracks to it and take tracks off. Played a song 30 min back and closed your browser? You’ll easily find it again if you look at your play list. Sets: if you have an ep, a dj set you played at a festival (or in your mum’s basement) a top 10 list of an artist you love or an archive you want to build you can create a set. You can also share these sets with typical social media functions.. So what makes sets on HearThis special? Sets can be co-created. At present you can allow open access for others to add tracks to your set. We would love to see this feature be built on and the option to only allow specific people to add to sets or only allow followers or people you are following to add to a set. With HearThis being in beta, maybe we will see this built on further. Either way, it is a feature we love!
Privacy, Wave display, color, video
Customization might be built on further in the future, it is nice as it is though. First of all, you are able to add background images to your song, change the display bars theme and time progression color. There is also the option to display a music video from Youtube at the same time your track is being played. This is really neat especially if you have forked out for a good video and you want to show it off at any chance you’d get! Not to mention it goes that much further in standing out. Perhaps most importantly we should mention privacy. Not limited to one category, we see control over privacy at every corner. This is a great feature and it has been executed extremely well.
Played by, in sets, shares, color coding, country, city & purchase filters. Statistics on HearThis have a few key features. First of all, when looking at a track itself, you can see who has played the song, who has shared the song and what sets the song (or mix, podcast, show etc) has been placed in. Now in your navigation menu, you can break down the plays to Country and City like with other platforms. However, you can also color code based on the songs selected, and also filter by sells. Filtering by sells allows you to see where your music is being bought the most. You may have a fan base you never knew of in Romania! This feature allows you then to approach promoters in the given region where you may be an attractive draw card. This brings us to our next point – selling your music.
Sell direct through Hearthis.
This feature is great. HearThis allows you to sell music through HearThis at a price that you specify. Payments are made to you through Paypal and you have the option of selling based on package with set or as an individual track. A great additional feature is also selling the file uploaded, or uploading a separate higher quality (*wav perhaps) file that will become the sold item. You can also have the sale option alongside a download option, basically giving people the choice of downloading your music for free, or also paying for it. HearThis does make a cut, but its no way near the likes of iTunes with a modest 10% cut.
Re-shares for downloads, paid placement
The whole site itself works with you to promote yourself. All of the mentioned features aid in this process. Mores specifically however, for a few euros, your upload will be featured for 24hrs in the main genre, and give it a permanent display of background in the genre feed. We hope this feature stays as it is as it doesn’t spam and does a great job of allowing everyone a bit of spotlight. It may become tricky to manage and have to be reviewed when the site gets more users though..
The team at HearThis are working hard. But they are not working in the dark. Feedback from users seems to be a constant, contacting the team is very easy and communication is strong. This is a crew that have our best interests at heart and obviously want to provide an innovative, highly functional, beneficial, social music platform to take us in to the future.
So.. is Hearthis.at better than Soundcloud?
HearThis.at has a lot of potential. We hope they keep on delivering. For now the site still doesn’t have many users, especially compared to soundcloud. However we are seeing more and more record companies and influential bloggers and artsits joining up. With its advanced social features, new connections and friendships will surely be formed, and much talent will see a new spotlight shine their way. This site is worth the time, and if you want a place to host your music, it’s a lot cheaper for premium features compared to soundcloud. If you’re looking to get hits and be discovered though, you’ll probably have to look elsewhere.