Posts Tagged ‘Social Media’

Partnering With Musician Roy Zu-Arets To Create A Musical Micro-Blogging Project

November 23rd, 2009 No comments

ARoy Zu-Arets on piano few weeks ago my friend Roy Zu-Arets (disclosure: I created his wikipedia page) who is the most gifted musician and very original composer I have had the luck to meet and I began working on a fun side project that involves music & social media. We call it “The Vibe Of Now”.

The idea behind “The Vibe Of Now” is to create a musical micro-blogging experience – release of original compositions that are created in a spontaneous, immediate, unplanned and instant way and reflect what the composer is feeling at that moment. The entire production process is also very fast. We meet at Roy’s studio in Hollywood three times a week (Mon, Wed and Fri) for 1 hour. It takes us 45 minutes to record a piece, mix the video with stereo audio that we pull out of the recording console and publish the clip to YouTube.

Both of us have worked and released products that reached millions – I have done it in the internet space at Snap, JDate and ICQ and Roy has worked as a composer, pianist and producer with many artists, performed in prestigious halls in front of thousands and produced platinum and gold albums. But this small side project has its own magic and is very exciting for both of us. Users from all over the world send us their feedback on the music videos and how they touch them. Our YouTube channel metrics are growing week after week – the number of daily views, subscribers (now is a good time to become one), friends, comments and ratings.

Roy Zu-Arets - Confessions of a Composer - coverA few days ago we reached a new major milestone with the release of Roy’s first solo piano solo album (after a 20 year career of playing, producing and composing with and for others) called “Confessions of a Composer”. The album features selected tracks from the first series Roy released to YouTube during the summer of 2009 plus a few bonus tracks recorded with guest musicians. You can buy the album on iTunes , Amazon or order as physical CD.

We are also about to put the “The Vibe Of Now” concert. It will be a very original and different show from a typical piano recitals, and it will feature the album pieces, variations on a theme of known songs but with some twist, and original compositions that will be composed during the concert together with the viewers similar to the process that happens at the studio. If you are interested in bringing Roy to your venue, university, tech-conference, town hall or your next corporate event, please contact us.

Next for us are a few additional mini projects:
* A special album for the holidays which is being finalized these days (Update: It is now live)
* Collaborations with some of LA’s finest musicians
* A 100% live session that we will stream to the web using UStream and twitter
* And probably a few more fun projects since the tools we have in our hands allow us to do almost anything and take it to the masses.

Last thing – this project would not exist without users’ feedback. So if you have one for us, a request, suggestion, media inquiry, touring/booking request or a testimony/album review, please contact us using this form or on twitter – royzuarets or jaym.

Soon One Of Roy Zu-Arets’s Piano Improvisation Videos Will Become A YouTube Hit

August 18th, 2009 No comments

I have known Roy Zu-Arets since our sons attended the same day care a few years ago. Since then I have been closely following his unique journey in life which includes music, Judaism and a constant struggle of a musician trying to make it big.

After all, it is not easy to do what he is trying to do given his background. He started playing piano at the age of 3 and began his professional music career at the age of 12 (!). In his early twenties he was already a busy music producer, composer and pianist in Israel. He played with many artists, produced mega hit records and concerts like Rita‘s “A Great Love” 4 times platinum album and tour, HaYehudim (The Jews) debut album called “Separate Reality”, one of Meir Banai’s albums and many others including Guy Zu-Aretz (his brother) upcoming album. He wrote scores for movies and theater and had a successful and busy career in the Israeli music industry. But then he decided leave everything behind and went after his dream – move to the US to become a musician in the premier league. He first spent a few years in New York where he attend Julliard & Mannes music academies, and then he moved to Los Angeles where he is trying break into the small, close group of Hollywood movies score writers. In the mean time, he is slowly establishing impressive milestones n the US which including producing Taking Back Sunday’s “Where you want to be?” platinum album, and writing MacHeads soundtrack, but he has not gotten to work on a really big movie since in Hollywood it is very difficult for a “nobody” to become “somebody”.

This might change though, very soon, thanks to the way he uses YouTube to share his talent, music and work process with the masses. Every morning, as part of his warm-up, he improvises melodies based on his mood and feelings. None of these melodies were composed before and he does not memorize notes – he “simply” plays the melody that is going in his head at that very moment. His studio neighbors, owners of a video production company, heard him play and suggested to video tape those short improvisations and publish them to YouTube as part of a documentary series called “Confessions of a Composer”. The videos are recorded using two iPhone 3GS phones, the sound is recorded separately using Roy’s studio equipment (thus the high quality), and then they mix and edit everything to a short video clip that gets posted to YouTube. This entire process happens 5 days a week, Mon-Fri.

I predict that it is just a matter of time until one of Roy’s improvisation videos will become a major hit on YouTube. Naturally, the variation on a popular songs tend to get more traffic and views (probably not enough views given the quality of these videos), like Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours” (see embed below), Michael Jackson’s Earth Song and Black Eyed Peas – I Gotta Feeling. But the improvisations are even more fascinating to watch, as they truly show his qualities as a composer and pianist.

From what I have gathered from Roy, the amount of feedback he has been getting after a few weeks of daily videos submissions is unbelievable. This includes comments, ratings and many emails from YouTube viewers from all over the world. More than that, a well known Hollywood director who stumbled upon one of his videos and loved it, already came to meet Roy at his Hollywood studio.

So, here are two video clips that illustrate how talented and versatile he is. My recommendation is to subscribe to his channel as well as go back and watch all the videos uploaded since the project began on July 13th. You will get a daily injection of heavenly and inspiring music from such an extraordinary & gifted talent.

Social Media Services As A Growing Source Of Traffic

March 12th, 2009 2 comments

My blog gets a fairly small number of visitors and page views every month. But just like TechCrunch, Fred Wilson and Sean Percival, I decided to take a look at my Google Analytics account and see how much link love social media services like Twitter, Facebook and others send here.

Below is February 09 referring sites data and a couple of observations:

  • February was not a usual month for this blog in term of traffic. At the begining of the month, my Tropicana’s poor re-branding post was picked by FastCompany and the blog recieved (and still continues to) large number of readers.
  • As pointed out by the bloggers I mentioed above, social media services are becoming major traffic drivers in the overall mix of referring sites. Specifically in my blog’s case, StumbleUpon, Twitter, Ginx (a Twitter interface), Facebook and Outbrain appear high on the list. In addition, their positions improved compared to previous months.
  • Users referred by social media services seems to be of “better quality” than users referred by Google. These users tend to spend more time and often read more than the specific page they land on. In addition, a smaller percentage of them, compared to users referred by search engines, hit the browser’s Back button immediately after seeing the landing page (bounce rate %).

I will keep following whether this trend continues to grow over time and post about it.

meydad_com - referring sites feb 2009

Tropicana Orange Juice Gets A New Design – The Old Carton

February 23rd, 2009 5 comments

Consumers are consumers no matter what online service or product they use. Once we use a product and like it, we are emotionally attached to it and become very passionate about it. This has not changed for years, but in current days, we (the consumers) have powerful tools such as blogs, twitter and facebook, to express ourselves quicker, louder in order to make a change.

Seeing companies make a (stupid) decision and then revert back as a result of users protesting against it using all sorts of social media applications is a pretty common thing in the online world. The last example was Facebook and its T&C fiasco. Seeing more an more big offline companies acting the same way is a nice surprise for me.

Take these two sentences:

“We underestimated the deep emotional bond they had with the original packaging. Those consumers are very important to us, so we responded.”

“I feel it’s the right thing to do, to innovate as a company. I wouldn’t want to stop innovating as a result of this. At the same time, if consumers are speaking, you have to listen.”

If you think they were told by Mark Zuckerberg or another executive of some popular web company you are wrong. They were said by Neil Campbell, president at Tropicana North America, who is about to announce today, according to the NYTimes, that Tropicana is going to scrap the new packaging and return to the old one. Why? Because we , including myself on this blog, complained about the new design and asked for the old one.

Just like Wheeler & Katz wrote in their book “Brand Atlas, Branding Intelligence Made Visible” : “Stay customer centric. The best brand decisions can only be made with the customer’s needs and experiences in mind. See the world through the eyes of your customers.”

So, I applaud to PepsiCo for listening to its loyal customers and acting fast. I can’t wait to see the good old carton, with orange & straw, in stores.

The Missing Label

October 25th, 2007 No comments

Since June ’07, a MyBlogLog user can add services to his profile. These are the user’s online identities on over 30 popular social services (Digg, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, YouTube, and others). This is very useful and creates a richer profile.

But viewing someone’s profile and figuring out which username belongs to which service is a frustrating process that involves trial and error. Labels (text or favicons) would greatly help here.

Make labels for data fields distinctive, so that they will not be readily confused with data entries, labeled control options, guidance messages, or other displayed material.” (Jakob Nielsen, Sixty Guidelines)

No labels on MyBlogLog user profile pages