June 15, 2006

Six Years After: Who knew we had dreamed up a Music-Based Social Network with a transaction engine inside?

In 2000, when I was working with online marketplace clients in the heyday of ecommerce, George and I had a dream for a site where all the participants in the craft and the business of music could gather to talk, learn, grow, create, and conduct business. Six years later, I realize that it was a concept looking for its context, and the context is social networks. MySpace on steroids with Second Life mixed in + ebay, for music only. You know.

At the time, we called it emusicXchange, and explained it this way.

The "Music without Barriers" Philosophy

Our philosophy is simple--removing the barriers that have historically kept good musicians from making music. Get rid of the pretenses, use plain-language contracts, collaborate, educate, understand, and then play some music. Our vision is to leverage the power of the Internet to create an online community where the business of music can take place in an organic way.

We call this online world for music business professionals emusicXchange--the first and only business-to-business emusic marketplace on the Web. A soon-to-be living example of our philosophy of music without barriers...

As relevant today as it was six years ago? I'd say moreso.

We thought about looking for funding at that time--thinking if we had a prototype site, "they would coome." Then the sky fell in on the online world, I left Ketchum and started my own business, George toured, and here we are.

What reminded me of our emusicXchane idea was this post today from Stowe on the Future of Social Networks. Stowe quotes a gem from Fred Stutzman:
Social networking is becoming content-centric. Essentially, companies are building social-enabled sites around content areas - be they cars, music or to-do lists. In this context, social networking adds the logical next layer to content-driven resources. This is an extremely important trend - in the future, all of our content sites will have SNS characteristics. Sites that move early and implement well could very easily steal a large audience pool from established content sites.

Absolutely right. Sites like LinkedIn, friendster, and orkut were the testing ground for technology and the mindset that would eventually enable new social networks to emerge--the generation that would finally answer the question, "now what?"

That's where we are. Right now. Today. Right this second. And that's pretty cool.

Whereas the early social sites are "social networks for social networks' sake," next-generation networks will have learned the lessons of blogs, of cluetrain, of gonzo marketing: the most compelling places on the net are those places where people come together around an area of interest, a passion, a cause--a joy.

This is where we find meaning, not just faces. This is where we find context, not just content.

And, it's the very core of what makes social networks social.

Learning that you and I know the same people does not delight me. Knowing that you and I both cry when we hear Jaco playing A Remark You Made, means everything.

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