Graphicster Logo

December 23, 2009

The first Graphicster project has been successfully completed.
Grahicster has a logo now. Thanks to all the participants and especially to Djosh for the winning design – we love it!

We hope to see all of you on the site for many interesting projects.

Merry Christmas and happy new year to all of you!

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Being a humble visionary

December 2, 2009

In the excellent blog entry Let pedestrians define the walkways, Derek Sivers makes an analogy to running a company based highly on user feedback.

In agile software development, the idea of evolving design is considered by many to be the ultimate approach to software architecture. Rather than creating a design and then implementing it, you start coding right off the bat and let the structure reveal itself. The underlying idea is to make decisions as late as possible as this is when you have the most information.

Does this mean, then, that you should not be visionary? Should you never decide on anything but just kind of stumble into things and hope something turns up?

I don’t think so. I more or less used to (in fact, in 2006 I told people not to design before coding), but today I think that planning does in fact do some good. However, I still don’t think that the plan is worth much more than the paper it is written on. Sammy and I have spent quite a bit of time figuring out where we are going with this project of ours. We have a pretty clear vision and a quite detailed road map. However, as soon as we realize that there is something that our users miss, don’t like or ask for, we will take that into account and change this plan accoordingly.

Moby’s Manhattan Studio

October 24, 2009

Moby collects vintage drum machines. And he’s a geek. Pretty interesting interview

Graphicster is Live

September 23, 2009

Graphicster is a sister site to Minimum Noise. As you surely have guessed, it is crowdsourced graphics production.

What, you say, another one? Aren’t you just competing with 99designs, crowdspring and lord knows how many other design sites then? Well, yes, we are. However, those sites focus solely on graphics design. Having worked for many years with tv production and video games, we really wanted to applyh this concept to other forms of graphics as well. You can use Graphicster for everything from a cover for your new album through 3D models and textures to logo and web design.

We are going to eat our own dog food by creating a project for the logo of the site itself.
So, if you have graphics skills and want to join in, you can participate in the first Graphicster project – and potentially win $250.

Cheers!
Kristian and Sammy

Interview in MusicKO

September 23, 2009

I was interviewed for MusicKO.
Read the interview here

On Releasing Early

July 14, 2009

Minimum Noise is now half a year old. We released it very early, with a bare minimum of features. There are many things that we want to implement still and there are many feature requests from our users.
We know that we want it to be a platform for crowdsourcing music and audio production, but besides from that, we are generally trying out things. We are in exploratory-mode. And real feedback from a live site is incredibly valuable compared to months of thinking about, planning and perfecting a product. Minimum Noise is evolving very slowly though, mostly because Sammy and I both do consulting which limits our time.

But don’t we risk disappointing people who will then not come back?

Yes.

That will likely happen to some people. But that doesn’t really worry me. After all, we have a small user base, and a rather small number of total unique visitors. So even if they *all* decided that Minimum Noise is an awful site and never come back, that loss is manageable in the larger scheme of things. On the other hand, our users have provided us with an amount of content which means that instead of directing new people to a “how it works” page, they can see for themselves. This means that we are better equipped than if we had just launched, in the event of visitor in-flux from a large site. Also, this has given us some time to make minor adjustments and fix miscellaneous bugs without scandals.

Aren’t we then scared that somebody will steal our idea?

No.

In fact, someone openly stated that they will:
www.minimumnoise.com/ForumPosts.aspx/15 (last three posts).
As I responded, we applaud that. The idea is simple and of little value. We should know – after six months, the site has not generated any revenue. To us, the concept of music crowdsourcing is obvious and the value of it self-evident. However, being first actually means that we have to establish the market which is not necessarily a good thing. While people in various industries could benefit, we have to make them aware that this is in fact an option to them. If we were entering an existing market, this challenge would have been already met by the other players. While there are certain markets that only seem to have room for one, most markets have numerous, profitable competitors.

We feel that the core concept has been proven to work by now. A number of people have had high quality music produced at very low budgets. So while there are tons of features that we still need to implement, I believe that releasing very early was the right thing to do.

Inovaz’ Experience with Minimum Noise

June 29, 2009

Inovaz was the first to use Minimum Noise for a full composition.
Read about their experience here: Crowdsourcing Audio – Minimum Noise Competition

“We now have the opportunity to contact some of the other developers who submitted pieces that may be more suitable for game trailers, cut scene music etc. In the end we received a track that ideally suited what the competition was intended for- background music. The real reward for us was receiving a lot of submissions we didn’t mean to ask for, though ended up liking a lot.”

New category up: “Composition”

May 2, 2009

While it may seem like a small thing, adding the “composition” category to Minimum Noise is a big thing as it means that we are now opening up to having entire songs or tunes crowdsourced. Our focus so far has been solely on musicians and we now have a userbase of talented music producers of all kinds. Now, we will start looking for some serious work for you all 🙂

As of now, the transfer-all-rights model is the only one available but this step could mean that we will start looking into alternatives.

Negative Sides to Crowd Sourcing?

March 3, 2009

A few times, I have been asked if I think that Minimum Noise could be bad for musicians.
NO!SPEC is a campaign to alert people in the design world about “speculative work” and design contests – featured on sites like crowdSPRING and 99designs.
The claim is that by offering payment on a content-based manner, all the non-winners will have spent time and effort for nothing. And not only that; they risk inspiring others with their work without receiving any kind of compensation.
We haven’t yet seen an equivalent to NO!SPEC in the music world, but perhaps we will at some point.
This is a valid concern and one that we pay attention to. However, we feel that the benefits outweigh the potential negative consequences greatly.

Making money on creative work of any kind is difficult if you are not a big name. Sites like these level the playing field in the sense that if you have talent, you have the potential to make money. You are not being judged by your credentials or fame.
Furthermore, they can be platforms for learning. It’s a way to get honest and free feedback on your work. I find that my motivation and inspiration is increased greatly when there is a clear goal rather than if I am just trying to make something for myself with no guidelines. If you make a great bassline or a beat and don’t win, you will still have your work in your private library. Perhaps you can use it for another project or a song of your own.
Participating in something of a crowd sourcing nature should always be done with the clear knowledge that you may or may not win. The amount of effort that you put into the work should reflect this fact.

All that being said, we obviously want to do as much as we can to make both project owners and contributors happy. One suggestion is that we make project owners guarantee that they will choose a winner, perhaps given a minimum of 10 participations. This could possibly work but currently, the community is probably too limited in size for this to work. It could be something we will implement in the future though. Other suggestions are greatly welcomed.

There is an interesting post on the subject on Signal vs. Noise

Speaking of Change..

February 22, 2009

..in the industry, check out what Josh Freese is doing in terms of promotion:
http://mashable.com/2009/02/20/josh-freese-album-promotion/