The first 20 FAQs are more than enough for artists to get started.
We are 12 gaming levels – songs that beat the game gain a large audience. i.e. Music Stardom.
There are no fees to play the game.
The game is based on fairness: Songs are anonymous therefore all are judged as equals.
Anonymous, mystery songs generate song sales - fans who hear a song they love must buy it while the song clip plays or lose it forever. It's buy or bust.
By converting plays into song sales, our goal is to pay Artists $100,000 to $200,000 per 1 million plays. Which is approximately 100 times what Streaming platforms pay.
Where does the large audience come from?
The game is a multiplier – it harvests extra plays and gives them to the winning songs. At each level, artists have to give 15 plays to other artists and they receive 3 plays in return: they give 12 extra plays at each level.
We don't charge a fee to play the game - the 12 extra plays given at each gaming level is the price an Artist pays to play the game. But hey, scoring songs is quite fun. Besides, if your song beats the game, all those extra plays paid by other artists become yours - a large audience for your song.
The more people that play, the more plays are harvested and the greater the audience for winning songs.
Fans are an even greater audience:
There are two distinct crowds on our platform - Artists and Fans. Fans also generate plays for winning songs – in fact, we estimate that they will generate 10 times more plays than artists . Also, they don't demand any plays because, ahem, they have no songs in the game. It's all gravy.
How do I Play the Game?
To climb the gaming levels, play and score songs by other artists and you will get your song played and scored in return. You give and then you get.
On the menu, click ‘The Game’ and it will tell you how many plays you need to give and how many you need to get to climb the current level.
Songs are a mystery - fans score random song clips (90 seconds long) that have no images, band name or song titles. Fans give their gut reaction to bare bones music,.. does it grab them or does it not? There is no herding or influencing. Apart from some genre bias, this means all songs are judged as equals.
Songs are scored out of 100, You have the option to score a song a 40, 60, 70, 80, 85 or 90. If the fan purchases the song, the song gets a score of 100.
Gaming Level 12 is broken into 12 Sifting Stages - this is where we sift out winning songs (songs with an average score of 85 out of 100 or above). Songs that do not achieve this average score are 'Game Over'.
Removal of Low Ball scores:
We will also remove a percentage of low ball scores - your average score should receive a bump at Level 12 (the Sifting Stages), so don't give up if your average score is below 85. This functionality may not be present at launch but it will be added shortly thereafter.
Gaming Level 9:
In addition to giving 15 scoring plays at Level 9 (and getting plays in return), to get to Level 10, Artists also need to upload a new song at Level 9 ... unless the artist has already uploaded songs into the Play Queue. On the menu tab 'The Game' it will let you know to upload a song.
Gaming Level 10 and 11:
In addition to giving 15 scoring plays at Level 10 and 11 (and getting plays in return), to climb to the next level Artists also need to signup 1 New Artist or 4 New Fans using their Promolink.
Your Promolink is located in the 'Get Paid' tab. When an artist or fan clicks on your Promolink and create an account, you get credit for signing them up.
Sure, signing up New Artists and New Fans may seem like work, but we make it worth your while:
When you sign up a New Artist - you get a 10c cut of every song this artist ever sells on isongU. Forever.
When you sign up a New Fan and this fan signs up a New Artist, you get a 2c cut of every song ever sold by this artist. Forever.
When you sign up a New Fan and that fan signs up another fan (your Grandfan) and this Grandfan signs up a New Artist, you get a 2c cut of every song ever sold by this New Artist. Forever.
Fans do your work:
When your Fans play and score songs, you get credited with these plays. Once you get enough fans helping your cause, your song 'autoclimbs' the levels without you having to do any work.
When Fans Signs Up New Artists and New Fans, you also get credit for this ... meaning you don't need to signup New Artists and New Fans at Gaming Level 10 and 11. Once you have enough fans signing up New Artists and Fans, your songs will also Autoclimb these levels.
The only work your Fans cannot do is upload new songs - that is the Artist's job!
The Game is unbiased - therefore, at the point of Upload, all songs have equal odds of beating The Game,
That said, we estimate that only about 1 in 1000 songs will beat The Game.
However, if you enter song after song into The Game, then, after 10 songs, your odds of beating the game drop to about 1 in 100.
Better songs: Better odds:
And if you write great music that consistently scores very high (say around a score of 80/100) - then your odds of beating The Game may be as low as 1 in 10 or 1 in 20.
The Odds remain pretty much the same:
As more songs are enter the Game, then the quality of songs entering The Game will increase. We estimate that this may lessen your odds of beating the game to 1 in 2000 - but these are still reasonable odds.
Also, if your music quality is also rising over time, your odds will remain pretty much the same even as the number of songs entering grows.
And remember, the more people that play the game, the greater the exposure for winning songs. So even if your odds are slightly reduced, the rewards for winning far outstrip this.
Bottom line, The Game does not become a victim of its own success whereby it becomes basically impossible to beat The Game.
To get paid $1.00 per song sale, your song must be exclusive to isongU - but songs only need be exclusive for the 12 to 24 hours that it typically takes to play The Game.
When a song is 'Game Over', the song is inactive - it receives no more plays and it is no longer exclusive to isongU.
Songs that are not exclusive to isongU only get paid 40c per song sale. This may seem unfair but if you really want to play and beat The Game and gain Mass Song sales, then you really need to have your song be Briefly Exclusive to isongU. Heck, it only needs to be exclusive for 12 to 24 hours.
An impartial judgement of your song
Remember also, you are getting an impartial judgement of your song / music. You can't get that from your friends or family or partner. There is value in getting your song rated without bias.
There are no criteria - just vote how much you like the song.
Does it grab you ...or does it not?
And be honest: Score songs the way you'd want your song scored.
If my song beats the game, will everybody know my name?
The Explainer Video proclaims: ‘Songs that beat the Game gain Mass Acclaim, where everybody knows your name.’ Now, that statement is essentially true but it does hide an important caveat: Songs that beat the game may gain millions of listens but they (and the artist) remain a mystery for a year or two while in Mass Listenership - remember, we are selling a mystery. The reason we generate song sales is because fans have to solve the mystery by buying the song. It is only when a song exits Mass Listenership that we propel it onto other platforms. That is when everyone gets to know your name.
What is wrong with fame and ‘everybody knowing my name’?
When everybody knows your name, everybody can rob you blind. Once you show your hand, it’s like playing poker with your cards face forward. Nobody puts any money on the table. Anonymity allows an artist to convert Mass Listenership into Mass Sales. We see mystery songs as the next great 'music format' of the future.
Please, we need your valid PayPal email
It is absolutely critical that you give us a valid PayPal email.
Under the 'Get Paid' tab, click 'Your Account' and enter you valid PayPal email here.
How do we pay?
We pay Artists and Fans all song sales and all dividends right at the moment of sale.
All payments to users are derived from song sales, including all dividend payments. Therefore, all payments related to any one Song Sale, including all dividend payments, occur during a single sales transaction, typically via PayPal.
All payments are immediate and transparent - there are no quarterly statements or streaming rates etc. It is all taken care of in the sales transaction.
For all these payments to be processed correctly, users will need to provide a valid PayPal account email. If a user fails to provide an email or they provide an invalid email, their PayPal transaction will fail to go through.
The payment error shall be reported to the user so the user can provide a working PayPal email address so that the payment error does not occur on subsequent transactions.
The service will attempt to reprocess failed transactions but it does not guarantee that all payment transactions will be processed to completion.
Multiple payments derived from a Single Song Sale:
At isongU, a $1.39 song sale may involve several payments that all immediately occur during the one PayPal transaction:
1, Artist X who owns the song gets paid $1.00
2. Grandfan A that signed up the Artist gets paid 10c
3. Fab A that signed up Grandfan A get paid 2c.
4. Artist Y that signed up Fan A get paid 2c.
5. The remainder get paid to isongU.
Note: Taxes and PayPal's fees are added to the song's transaction during final processing.
Again, it is absolutely critical that everybody in the payment chain above gives us a valid PayPal email. These daisy chain payments are complex - payments have to be immediately processed.
What happens after Gaming Level 12?
There are only 12 Levels … but Level 12 is broken out into 12 further Sifting Stages. After your first song reaches Level 12, you can navigate to the Sifting Stage table.
The Sifting Stages is where the game separates the wheat from the chaff. Only songs with an average score of 85/100 or greater will clear all 12 Sifting Stages and qualify for Mass Listenership.
The Sifting Stage table is strictly informational. It's only function is to display your song’s progress - here, your song(s) only receive scoring plays, there are no songs for you to score and no tasks for you to complete.
What average score must a song reach to gain Mass Acclaim?
Currently, songs that have a final average of 85/100 or above are automatically accepted to Mass Rotation/ Mass Acclaim.
isongU administrators do not decide which songs gain Mass Listenership, the crowd impartially decides which songs reach Mass Acclaim.
NOTE: If you low-ball or mid-rate other Artist's songs, it will not help your song reach the 85/100 threshold. In fact, when you repeatedly low-ball, mid-rate or rapid-rate songs, this behavior is red-flagged and it will hurt your songs odds (and can even lead to your song being ejected).
What happens if my song beats the game?
If your song beats the game, it will be vetted to make sure it is your original song and to make sure we have the artist’s details and the Artist’s PayPal account. There will also be a song contract - but, at most, this will only contain an exclusivity agreement for this one song. There are no cut-throat loans or draconian record contracts.
What happens when a song's average score is below 85/100?
Well, it's Game Over unfortunately. It will appear with a Game Over status in the Sifting Stages table and it will also appear in the Game Over table. After a week, it will fall off the Sifting Stages table but it will remain on the Game Over table.
We know anonymous songs (that people fall in love with) generate song sales. How? Because we know the Shazam app generates song sales in this way.
When somebody hears an unknown song they really like and they wish to know the song title and who sings it, they can use the Shazam app. With 2 clicks on the Shazam app, a person can identify a song that is playing over the speakers.
It turns out that 10% of the people that fall in love with an anonymous song/artist in this way end up purchasing the song on iTunes. It results in about $300 million songs sales on iTunes each year.
Note: We are using this Shazam phenomenon to project sales at isongU. We are not affiliated, nor do we interface with the Shazam app.
Applying the 10% sales conversion to isongU:
How does this compare to the isongU music accelerator? Well, if 100,000 songs enter our accelerator over a 3 month period, the accelerator generates 300 million reviews for the rare music gems (sample song clips that make it through the accelerator by achieving an average rating of 85/100 or higher).
Therefore, these rare music gems get listened to 300 million times and the vast majority of listeners love the songs, same as with Shazam. If (like Shazam) we assume a 10% conversion, this would result in 30 million song sales (over $30 million in song sales).
Scoring the selling power of Shazam:
Shazam users are voluntarily using the app to identify songs/ artists they love in a natural way. Score: 10/10
But why on earth would Shazam users go to iTunes when they could listen for free on YouTube etc.? Score: 1/10
Cumulative Total: 11/20
Scoring the selling power of isongU:
While music that receives a rating of 85/100 or higher after millions of impartial ratings likely has selling power, isongU is a more forced listening experience. Moreover, the 'Buy the song or else lose the song' scenario may excite many but it is likely annoy freemium loving fans. Score: 5/10
Unlike Shazam, with songs and artists being anonymous, the obscure music is not easy to find for free elsewhere. Listeners that really love a song clip (that's about play out) have little choice but to buy (and support the artist) or else lose the song. Score: 8/10
Cumulative Score: 13/20
We will launch with about 6000 Artists.
We estimate that we will need 20,000 Artists and 80,000 Fans to reach the point where, once an Artist's song beats the game, the Music Stardom is a Mathematical Certainty. Those numbers are just estimates - a lot depends on how many of those artists and fans are active on isongU.
Upon launch, we estimate it will take a few months to reach the point where Music Stardom becomes a Mathematical Certainty.
Again that is our minimum definition of Music Stardom is
Within 1 year:
- At least 1 million plays for the winning song
- At least $100,000 paid to the Artist
A Viral Loop
Once Music Stardom becomes a Mathematical Certainty, be believe this will draw more artists to the game, these artists will signup New Artists and New Fans, driving up Mass Listenership and song sales ... which draws in more artists who signup New Artists etc etc.
In other words, a viral loop. And once this viral loop is established, it just keeps going. In theory, the only way it slows down is when we begin to run out of New Artists and New Fans.
Selling a Mystery:
Well, the short answer is that mystery (and exclusive) songs of high quality that beat the game and gain Mass Listenership will generate song sales.
But we need to look at the journey a song takes in The Game to see how this happens
Beating the Game:
It takes about 12 to 24 hours to clear the 12 Gaming Levels and perhaps the same again to clear the 12 Sifting Stages.
A song that beats the game will gain about 5000 plays in the sifting stages. We need this crowd 'sample' size to accurately determine a song's average score.
If, say, a song beats the Game with an average score of 88/100, then when it goes to Mass Listenership and gathers say 1 million listens, it should reasonably maintain this average score of 88/100.
Converting Plays to Song Sales:
To maintain an average score this high, this means that, of this 1 million listeners, probably 850,000 listeners absolutely love the song. And we're betting that 100,000 to 200,000 of them would rather purchase the song for about $1.39 than to lose it forever.
Since artists get paid $1.00 per song sale (instantly and transparently via PayPal), that means that the artist gets paid $100,000 to $200,000 per 1 million plays - which is approximately 100 times what 1 million plays on a Streaming platform pays.
Quality rises over time:
Quality rise for 2 reasons:
- Our Sifting Process improves in determining great songs
- As the funnel opens up, more quality songs pour in, Let's say we have only 1000 songs, there is a chance none of them will be undeniably great. But if we have 10 million songs in the game, we will have several thousand undeniably brilliant songs of higher and higher quality.
As quality rises, 1 million listens might possible convert to $300,000 or $400,000 paid to the Artist.
Your Promolink is just a hyperlink (a website address)
You will find your Promolink (alomg with Marketing Images that have your Promolink embedded) under the 'Get Paid' menu tab under 'Promolink'
You will use your one and only Promolink to invite and signup both artists and fans.
Your Promolink will look something like this (This is not a real Promolink):
How to market your Promolink:
You can promote your Promolink via email or on Social Media.
You can send out Marketing Images that have your Promolink automatically embedded via email or Social Media.
You may add your own marketing message but please make it appropriate to what we do - we are proud of what our platform can do, but we are not saving lives or ending world hunger here.
With regard to email, when the recipient of the email clicks on the image, they are taken to the registration page where they have to choose between signing on as an Artist or a Fan.
Or you can just email them your actual Promolink.
Also, create a QR code using your Promolink - this can be useful to quickly replay your Promolink to someone on the fly.
On Social Media, there are various ways to embed your Promolink.
Here are YouTube videos that show just a few ways of embedding your Promolink on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok,
To understand Dividends, you must understand that there are 4 distinct types of interactions at isongU.
- Artists sign up New Artists
- Fans sign up New Artists
- Artists sign up New fans
- Fans sign up New Fans
The dividends in 1 & 2 above are called Direct Dividends... because the user directly signed the Artist up.
Now for 1, the Artist gets a 10c cut of the New Artist's song sales,
For 2 the Fan starts out with a 2c cut of the New Artist's song sales, but if they clear all 12 Gaming Levels of the Accumulator, they get paid a 10c cut of all song sales by all New Artists they sign up.
For 3 and 4 are Indirect Dividends and are processed the same for both Artists and Fans.
To understand how Dividends can exponentially scale, this video is the best place to start:
You can track all signups in the "Dividends" tab under the 'Get Paid' menu tab. There are 3 Dividends Tables which you can navigate to.
These 3 kinds of Dividends are: Direct Dividends, Indirect Dividends (via Fans) and Indirect Dividends (via Grandfans).
- The Direct Dividends just show the Artists you directly signed up and, per their song sales, the number of Dividends you have received.
- The Indirect Dividends (via Fans) just show the Artists your Fans signed up and, per these Artists song sales, the number of Dividends you have received.
- The Indirect Dividends (via Grandfans) just show the Artists your Grandfans signed up and, per these Artists song sales, the number of Dividends you have received. This table also shows which of your fans signed up each Grandfan.
Over time, these tables can get lengthy, especially the Indirect Dividends (via Grandfans table). As they get longer, we only show the last 200 entries or so.
If you want to download all table entries, you will need to click the download button.
Exponential Dividends are the Indirect Dividend payments that can be amassed by an army of fans. So, let's first talk about how an Artist can amass an army of fans.
How do artists build their fan base?
Honestly, an Artist should be able to go to venues and signup new fans (using their Promolink). It should not be impossible, say, for a band to signup 10,000 fans over a 3 month period.
And if Artist X brings in 10,000 fans and then each fans brings in 20 Grandfans, the artist family numbers 200,000 fans. And every artist signed up by these 200,000 brings a 2 cent cut of these artist songs sales to Artist X. It is entirely possible that an army this size can bring in millions of dollars and that these Dividends will grow year on year as the platform grows.
Exponential Dividends are the Indirect Dividend payments that can be amassed by an army of fans.
Remember, fans are absolutely paramount. You are leveraging your fan base, making them work for you. They do all the work and are the only means to get to Exponential Dividends
Please view this video to see how Exponential Dividends work: https://vimeo.com/661984288
You must use your Promolink:
You must use your unique Promolink to sign up new artists and new fans. Asking them to signup to isongU.com without sending them your Promolink does you no good whatsoever.
Even if an artist lives in a friendless wilderness, they can always amass new artists and fans by targeted marketing using their Promolink via Facebook Marketing or email marketing etc..
Where is your Promolink?
You can find your unique Promolink under the 'Get Paid' tab in the 'Promolink' tabe. There is a slider with various Marketing Images that you can choose from - all of these images have your Promolink embedded in them.
What is Music Stardom?
To be honest, we are not big fans of the word Stardom. Music Stardom and the word Superstar are used rather too liberally. One can be a big star on a small island. One can have a billion views and yet not be a household name. Which is to say, Music Stardom likely means very different things to different people.
Our minimum definition of Music Stardom:
At isongU, we have a strict definition of Music Stardom - it is a definition that is specific to our platform only.
Our minimum definition of Music Stardom is:
- At least 1 million plays.
- Generates at least $100,000 paid in full to the artist.
- And all of this must occur within a 1 year period.
The most important part is the minimum of $100,000 paid in full to the Artist. Gaining recognition on Social Media is all very well, but, for us, fair compensation of artists is the critical component that must accompany all recognition.
What is Brief Exclusivity?
Brief Exclusivity is the short window of time (about 1 day or so) during which songs are exclusive to isongU. That means that a song is not on any other platform for that brief period of time, it is only on isongU.
But, before we speak further on the topic of Brief Exclusivity, let's first examine the need for exclusivity at all. It has everything to do with song sales.
NOTE: When you sign up New Fans and these fans do all the work on your behalf, meaning your songs rapidly Autoclimb the Gaming Levels, then window of exclusivity may drop to a hour or two or perhaps just a matter of minutes.
Mystery Song Sales: Buy or Bust
If a Fan loves a song and rates it highly (a score of 70 or higher) they get the option to buy the song. But the option to buy disappears after the 90 second song clip plays out.
Once the songs is gone, so is Fans chance to buy the song.
It's "Buy or Bust".
Unfortunately, if the Fan uses their iPhone or Shazam or SoundHound apps to successfully ID the song, they are unlikely to buy the song. Songs would need to be exclusive to our platform - or else there is no mystery and therefore no Mystery Song Sales.
Brief Exclusivity (Momentary Exclusivity):
Songs only need to be exclusive to our platform for the short time (about 12 to 24 hours) that the song is climbing the Gaming Levels. So, if you created a brand new song, you only need to hold off putting it on other platforms for a day or so while your song is in the game.
To clarify, about 999 out of 1000 songs will not beat the game. So, that means that 999 out of 1000 song will be briefly exclusive until they reach 'Game Over'. At Game Over, these songs are inactive - they receive no further plays and they are no longer exclusive to isongU. The brief window of exclusivity has closed.
Once a song is at Game Over, the Artist can now place their song on any other platform they choose (Unless, of course, the Artist plans on entering this same song into The Game a second time and they still want the song to be exclusive).
Yes, you may resubmit Game Over songs to The Game
And yes, we do allow you to resubmit Game Over songs into the Gaming Levels. Perhaps your song fell just shy of beating the game and you want to give it another spin.
Or perhaps you want to change things up - like you could indent into the song (you can skip into the song by up to 30 seconds via the Uploaded Songs table) so that fans will hear and score a different portion of the song. Or, if you feel 30 seconds is not enough, you could revamp the song or edit its length so that you are presenting something new to fans.
NOTE: As of launch, we have been unable to indent into songs for iPhone devices without the playback skipping,. This means that, let's say you skip the first 30 seconds of a song, iPhone listeners who rate your song will hear the song from the beginning, whereas people on other devices will skip 30 seconds into the song clip. This is not ideal since they are essentially rating different song clips, but at least it is the same for all artists. This is a bug we will work on fixing post-launch.
For Songs that beat The Game:
For the 1 in 1000 song that does beat the game, we will offer the Artist a song contract that requests their song to be exclusive for a period of time - that period could be 3months, 6 months or a year or more.
The song contract will only define the length of time the Artist wishes this one song to be exclusive to isongU - it will not contain any hidden legal small print, no cut-throat loans or record contracts or other legal pitfalls. Just a simple agreement regarding exclusivity for this single song.
Why not allow artists the option to make their songs exclusive to isongU at the point of Upload?
We may offer this in the future. However, as of right now, Artists are unlikely to upload songs once they see the word ‘exclusive’ therefore this option does not appear at the point of upload.
Hence, we place the Exclusivity Checkbox on the Song Upload table. This gives isongU time to explain that songs are only momentarily exclusive (for a day or so). Artists can then select the exclusive checkbox on the song upload table (if their song is actually exclusive).
If Artists click to make their songs exclusive even though they are uploaded to other platforms (i.e. not exclusive) - well, we will not attempt to determine whether an artist is dishonest.
The only time we will exhaustively check whether a song is actually exclusive is when that song beats the game. Needless to say, if the Artist falsely indicated exclusivity, that is hugely detrimental to their cause.
For starters, a non-exclusive song will just not generate the volume of songs sales that an exclusive song typically will. Also, for non-exclusive songs, the artist will only get paid 40c per song sale whereas exclusive songs get paid $1.00 per song sale.
No, we do not demand exclusivity.
You may leave your songs on other platforms and on your own website and still upload these songs to isongU (as long as your label does not own the music copyright that prevents you from uploading to isongU).
You do not have to disclose the platforms on which your songs are located or the parties that represent these songs. You may play these songs live even while they journey up through the accelerator levels.
You are also allowed to be a member of a Performance Rights Organization (PRO) ...such as ASCAP and BMI in the USA.
In the distant future, if we ever do demand exclusivity, it will only be for few days it takes to climb the 20 levels. In this scenario, once a song is no longer in the levels, the exclusivity also ends.
In summary, we demand no exclusivity.
While we do not demand exclusivity, if your songs are on many platforms and are easily accessible, this can hurt your song sales at isongU since your songs are not really a mystery - people have the option of locating your song elsewhere (with a quick lyric or Shazam search).
Work Credits are the system through which Artists get credit for the work of fans.
The Goal of Work Credits is to create this scenario: When you have enough fans working on your behalf, your songs will Autoclimb the Gaming Levels. This gives you the time to create new music rather than chase The Game.
So yes, just as Dividends give you the money with which to pursue a music career, Work Credits give you the time to pursue that career.
How many Work Credit do I have?
We do not report the number of fans from whom you receive Work Credits right now. If we do report it, it will probably just be the top line total number of fans from whom you receive Work Credits rather than a contact list of fans.
The best measure of Work Credits right now is ‘Are my songs Auto-climbing rapidly up the Gaming Levels?’. If the answer to this is yes, then you are in good shape.
You can gain Work Credits in 2 ways -
- Signup New Fans via your Promolink and
- When Fans buy your songs, they have the option to become a fan of you via the ‘Join Artist’ checkbox.
You can lose Work Credits when the fans that you signed up go on to buy a song by another Artist and then become a fan of that Artist via the ‘Join Artist’ checkbox. This Artist now gets Work Credits from this fan.
Let's begin by defining Dividends:
If an Fan or an Artist signs up a New Artist, they get a 10c cut of every song ever sold by this Artist. Forever. This is called a Direct Dividend. But it is also a dead end. It does not lead to any Indirect Dividends.
If Fan A or Artist X signs up a New Fan, well there cannot be any Direct Dividends since fans do not have any songs in The Game.
But if this New Fan signs up a New Artist, then Fan A or Artist X will get paid a 2c cut of every song every sold by this New Artist.
And if this New Fan in turns signs up another Fan (a Grandfan of Fan A / Artist X) and this Grandfan signs up another New Artist, then Fan A / Artist X will get paid a 2c cut of every song every sold by this New Artist.
There are no Great-Grandfans - the dividend tree stops after 2 generations. This stops it from being a Pyramid Scheme.
This makes Indirect Dividends a web of payments that can exponentially scale. This video shows just how wildly scalable this can be: https://vimeo.com/661984288
Dividends VS Work Credits:
Artists and Fans get the exact same Dividends. Only Artists get Work Credits.
Let's say a Music Artist X signs up a New Fan... let's call them Fan A. Music Artist X gets 2 benefits from this
- Dividends: When Fan A signs up New Artists and New Fans, Music Artist X gets paid Direct and Indirect Dividends. These dividends are permanent and irrevocable.
- Work Credits: When Fan A scores songs or Signs Up New Artists and New Fans, then Music Artist X gets credit for this work and their song Autoclimbs the Gaming Levels. This has nothing to do with Dividends, it's just getting simple 'work' credits.
Music Artist X will never lose Dividends above but they can lose Work Credits.
Unlike Indirect Dividends, Work Credits only go one generation deep. Which is to say, you cannot get Work Credits from a Grandfan, only a Fan.
Let's say Fan A scores a song, and then buys that song. From the Songs Purchased table they can click 'Join Artist' to become a fan of this Music Artist. This means that Benefit 2 above now flow to this artist and not to Music Artist X.
A fan can only give Work Credits to one Artist at a time. On the Songs Purchased table, if you click 'Join this Artist' and then later click it again for a different song/artist, the first one rolls off.
The absence of Work Credits:
Now, if Fan A was signed up by another Fan or they signed up without clicking any Promolink, then they would not be connected to any Artist and there would be no Work Credits.
But if the Fan buys a song then, from the Songs Purchased table, they can join this artist and then the Work Credits will flow to this artist.
The Absence of Dividends:
If a New Artist or New Fan signs up without clicking a Promolink, then there is no Dividend tree. They are basically the start of a new dividend tree.
Is a Music Artist also a Music Fan?
Well yes, - when it comes to Work Credits but not Dividends
A Music Artist can buy a song and click 'Join this Artist' to become a Fan of this artist and then their scores and Signups will be given as Work Credits to the artist they joined.
Is The Game self-service?
Yes, The Game is self-service - an Artist can hire a manager or an assistant to manage The Game for them but there are dangers to this - read below: "The Danger of not Managing your own Account".
Bottom line, The Game is self-service and the Artist should easily be able play the game without outside assistance.
The key thing is to signup Fans (using your Promolink) so that they do all the work for you. So yes, there is work for the first few months. But once you have a thousand or more fans, they will simply play the game on your behalf.
How do I 'auto-climb' the Gaming Levels?
Well, you get your fans to play the game on your behalf.
In other words, when your Fans score songs, you get credited with completing these scores and your song 'auto-climbs' the Gaming Levels.
Also, when your Fans signup New Artists or New Fans, you get credit for these signups and, again, your song auto-climbs the Gaming Levels.
Even better, you get paid Dividends when your fans signup New Artists and New Fans.
How to Scale Dividend Payments:
There are 3 tiers of dividend payments that are designed to multiply in scale. To learn how Dividends can be exponentially scaled, watch this explainer video: https://vimeo.com/661984288
The danger of not managing your own account:
Having promoters, manager or labels manage your accounts can be an absolute quagmire. They may place you and multiple other artists on a single account and they may divert all song sale payments and all dividends to their PayPal email.
Remember, wherever there is money to be made, there will be predatory people all too willing to take advantage.
Artist: Time and money
Managing an artist account is only work for the first month or two - after that, your fans will propel your songs up the levels and these same fans will generate dividend payments for you also.
The overarching goal of isongU is to give Artists the Time and the Money with which to create great music. Hence, we want your songs to auto-climb the Gaming Levels to save you time. And we want your fans to earn you dividends so you can afford to work at your music full-time.
We never want to see Artists self-marketing themselves to death when they should be creating great music - we see self-marketing as a creative drain and a waste of time. At isongU, all the artist needs to do is concentrate on creating great music and take a minute or two to upload their songs. Once an Artist beats the Game, their song will get all the marketing it needs to propel the Artist to Music Stardom.
And if an Artist does not beat the game, they can still make a very handsome living via Dividend payments.
Yes, all music on this platform is considered royalty-free, so at the point of upload, you are agreeing to the royalty-free use of your songs.
What this means is no Streaming royalties are generated by the playing of partial songs (song samples or clips). In other words, the game is a promotional tool that generates Mass Listenership and Mass Sales for winning songs, and all revenue is derived from these songs sales and not the streaming or playing of songs.
Think of it this way: People are not specifically choosing to play your song clip, they are simply scoring the next randomly delivered mystery song clip in the play queue.
'The Game' is very much a promotional tool that delivers Music Stardom (as we define it) to winning songs.
Minimum definition of Music Stardom:
Our minimum definition of Music Stardom (specific to isongU only) is:
Within 1 year:
- A song must receive at least 1 million plays
- The Artist of this song must get paid a least $100,000.
Anything less that we do not consider to be Music Stardom.
The Game is truly promotional - it's is all about converting Mystery Song plays into song sales.
Secondly, the listener does not chose to play a specific song clip, rather they play a random, mystery song clip as payment to climb towards Mass Acclaim (for Artists) or to climb towards greater Dividend payments (for Fans).
If Artists or Fans score songs dishonestly (by low balling, mid-rating or rapid-rating songs) they may get their accounts disabled for a period of time, say 30 days.
When fans have their accounts disabled, say for a period of 30 days, it does not means they lose any Dividends they have currently gained, What it means is they cannot signup New Artist or New Fans or score songs during that 30 day period.
The same goes for an Artist account that is disabled - Artists cannot signup New Artist or New Fans or score songs during that 30 day period and they also cannot upload a new song. But they do not lose dividends nor do they have their songs rejected.
If there are several artist/ band members, all of these members will have to sign the form.
Can songs be moved in the play queue?
Yes, however, the first song you upload will enter the game at Gaming Level 1 (L1). Only 1 song can enter the game at one time. You cannot swap this song out – this song is in the game and the only way to get your next song into the game is to move the current song up the levels towards Mass Listenership. To do so, you will need to play and score songs by other artists while they rate your song in return.
Further uploads will enter the play queue. If you enter multiple songs into the Play Queue, the position of these songs in the queue can be changed. To move a song, select the song and click the up arrow. You can only step songs up. To move a song down, you just have to move other songs above it.
Can songs be deleted?
Songs cannot deleted - but songs in the Play queue can be deactivated. Songs that do not beat the game receive 'Game Over' status, which is also inactive. But songs that are in the game cannot be deactivated.
Yes, please, please enter all song data into the MP3 tag.
Metadata is very important to music fans: Not just the Artist name and song title, album etc. Metadata such as when and where the song was written & recorded, the players, the message, the influences, the mood etc. can also be vital to fans. Put it right into the MP3 tag.
The responsibility for providing metadata falls on the artist. And, since we do not have an artist profile page yet, right now the only medium they have to provide this data is in the MP3 meta tags.
Artists can use an MP3 tag editor such as www.mp3tag.de/en to provide this vital data.
Why will my song not upload?
The main reasons a song won’t upload are:
- Your file is not in the mp3 format.
2. You used a single quote in your mp3 filename. Eg: Jason O’Toole - Dark.mp3. Our database will not accept single quotes. You will receive this error message when you try to upload a file that contains single quotes. The best way to resolve this is to remove the single quote or else use the Grave character (also called the backtick or back quote). This looks a lot like a single quote. On your keyboard, it resides just below the ESC key. Using the example filename above, just rename the file to: Jason O Toole - Dark.mp3 or Jason O`Toole - Dark.mp3
3. You lost web connectivity during the upload. This may result in a partial / corrupt upload and this corrupt file blocks the next upload from entering the gaming levels. Or perhaps your MP3 file was corrupt to begin with and will not play. If this occurs, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are looking into ways to prevent corrupt files becoming ‘game blockers’.
How many songs should I upload after signing up?
It is best to upload 2 songs to begin with: Only one song can climb the levels at any one time.
If you upload lots of songs, those songs just sit there in queue until the songs before them exit the game (either by entering Mass Exposure as a top rated song or by being rejected).
One a song is sold, won’t the artist’s anonymity be completely blown?
Well, yes and no.
The key for us is that these songs are not placed on the databases of SoundHound, Shazam and its Apple equivalent or other such song detection software.
Mass Listenership songs must be exclusive to us for this very reason. Sure people can spill the beans on the web, but for someone listening to a mystery song clip real time, it is almost impossible to co-relate this to information online - certainly not in real-time while the song is playing.
Yes they can record the clip and ask people to ID the clip online, but this is a lot of work and they may receive backlash from pro-artist folks online. We can also put red herrings out there to give them false answers. There will also be many thousands of songs in Mass Listenership, so this will likely lead to a confused space. It would be like trying to identify the ‘killer song’ from an endless lineup. They may or may not ID the song and if successful, it make take them hours, days or weeks to locate it.
Bottom line, they would have to work very hard to try to save a dollar and potentially get nowhere. Essentially, a song can stay in Mass Listenership for years.
It's really up to the band members. If they do not joins as fans of their own band, all revenues will flow to the bands single Promolink / PayPal account and then the band can equitably divide the proceeds among the band members.
If they choose click their band's Promolink and sign up as fans of their own band, then these band members can signup New Bands and New Fans which will of course benefit the band (Indirect Dividends) but they themselves will also earn Direct Dividends separate from the band. This is probably fairer since if one band member is doing all the heavy lifting, they should get some of the rewards away from the band.
Of course there can be other complications, like when band members are also involved with another bands or band members are also solo artists.
Probably the best thing is for band members to collectively decide what to do so that it does not become a sticking point.
Hey, these issues are only issues because there is money on the table. I guess money is evil but it is also a necessary evil if bands and artists are to survive.
To answer that question, we need to describe how songs are played.
In the Game, all songs enter a Play queue - this is a circular queue.
Let's say there are 10,000 songs in the circular play queue. Now, imagine this circular queue as a clock whereby songs get played at 12 O'clock. After your song get's played, it has to go all the way around the horn while 10,000 songs get played until it is played again.
The person hitting Play get the next song at 12 o'Clock, but they have no idea what mystery song they will receive. If 1000 people are simultaneously playing the game, there is no way of knowing who will hit play next. It's unknowable.
Now, we at isongU are aware of what song is at 12 o'Clock, but we have no idea who will press Play next, so again, it's unknowable. And that which is unknowable is not possible to scam or game out.
Can bots automatically rate songs?
Well, yes, quite possibly - but to what avail? Nobody can determine the next song in the play queue or whom is going to hit play next. Such a bot would benefit no one artist and could not be monetized.
Yes, we only support the MP3 format at the outset. We prefer a minimum of 192 Kbps, but we recommend 256 Kbps MP3s for relatively fast uploads with fairly small compression loss.
We will likely support other high definition / lossless formats in the future.
Yes, all songs must be original. We cannot have samples or covers of any kind because we cannot afford licensing fees and we also don't like lawsuits. Even when you have permission to use a previously released song (or a sample thereof), we will not accept the song on our platform. The same goes for traditional music and songs: We do not allow it. The same goes for fair use, parody covers, creative commons music and beats: We do not allow it.
However, if you can mix music so expertly that our algorithms can find which sample you used, we have no choice but to consider this an original piece of music. And it's not just our algorithms that you must fool; many music fans that rate your song may identify the sample that you used... and click on the plagiarism button.
The Bottom Line:
Even if you managed to get a sampled piece of music through our accelerator and it qualified for Mass Exposure - our experts will take that piece of music, deconstruct it and do a deep search for any samples used. If we find that it is simply not original, it will not be allowed into Mass Exposure (Mass Sales). We have no other choice - we cannot afford to pay for licensed music and we believe that any transgression with the use of unlicensed music will lead to lawsuits.
People are often confused about the need to be anonymous. -because the last thing an Artist wants to be is unknown. How on Earth can an Artist be insanely popular and yet be unknown?
All is revealed in Mass Exposure:
Yes, Artists are primarily anonymous in the Accelerator Levels (where anonymity ensures a level, unbiased playing field).
But once an Artist reaches Mass Acclaim ...mass audiences get to know this Artist's name (and they do so by buying the Artist's song).
Discovery = Song Sales
Yes, the only way for fans to discover an Artist is by purchasing the Artist's song - and the place where song sales (discovery) occurs exponentially is in Mass Exposure.
Why? Because songs in Mass Exposure have both the highest ratings and they get a far greater number of listeners.
Fans are not just purchasing a song - they are discovering the artist behind the music: The artists biography, discography, tour schedule etc.
So, while songs are also anonymous in Mass Exposure, there is a far, far greater conversion to song sales and discovery.
Discovery and song sales are the same thing at isongU - we do not believe in empty 'freemium' exposure. Rather, we believe that great art has value and that great artists deserve to earn a living.
Can Artists choose to remain anonymous in Mass Exposure?
Even when a music artist makes it to Mass Exposure and becomes a ‘star’, they can choose to remain absolutely private if they so wish.
It is the artist’s call.
Artists can operate under pseudo-names, if they so choose -releasing their songs using animated videos and other artwork without ever releasing their true name or image.
No, you have a new song at Gaming Level 1. It's a different song.
The song that was at Gaming Level 12 has moved to stage 1 of the Sifting Stages. The Sifting Stages are where the lesser songs are removed (Game Over) and winning songs qualify for Mass Listenership.
If the long-term dishonest scoring of songs (low-ball, mid-rate or rapid-rating of songs) is plain to see, then the user's account is disabled.
We would typically disable an account for 30 days, but if the dishonest behavior continues thereafter, the disabled time period will lengthen.
You really do have to be habitually dishonest to get your account disabled - a couple of errant / drunken scores will not cause you account to be disabled.
The song you upload must be complete and ready for sale.
When you upload a song, you must upload the complete song and that song must be at least 2 minutes long (or marginally under 2 minutes). We need at least a 90 second clip to be played and scored.
So yes, even though only 90 seconds of the song is played when songs are rated, we must have the complete song so that listeners can purchase the complete song.
So please... do NOT upload a 90 second clip of a 3 minute song!!
On another note - you can index into the song up to 30 seconds. There must be a minimum of 90 seconds remaining for the listener to hear.
In the future, we will put controls in place to ensure that, for every song, a 90 second song clip will be played and scored.
Yes, when you or your Fans signup New Artist and New Fans, we keep track of all these signups.
In other words, if a New Artist or New Fan was signed up say last year, you still get credit for this when your song is climbing the Levels several songs later. We keep account of all signups.
What if my artist name / band name is already taken?
- Check to see if a band member, band manager or label has already set up an account for your band using their email.
- If a label or band manager has set up the account using their email, you should ask for access to the account so you can ensure PayPal payments are going to your account. Keep in mind that when songs reach Mass Acclaim we will want to meet with the actual artist/ band members to ensure that payments are going to the music artist/ band PayPal accounts.
- If your band name has been taken and you’re not sure if it’s your band or a different band with the same name, we can help resolve this uncertainty – email email@example.com and we will look into it. If the band of the same name is in fact a separate entity, the best solution is to enter your band followed by your city or country in brackets). Eg: Dead Roses (UK). Once you get a song into Mass Listenership, we can then possibly look into duplicate naming issues but we just don’t have the resources to iron out duplicate artist / band names for all artists.
What if another artist is using my trademarked band name?
If you have registered/ trademarked the band name, send an email titled: ‘My registered artist name has been taken” to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please send up to date copies of your registration/ trademark, the country (or countries) of registration and the date that you first registered/ trademarked the artist name.
What if there are band disputes?
If there are disputes over songwriting credits or disputes between former band members, or disputes over band names, or disputes with artist managers or labels, these disputes will need to be legally resolved and only when legally resolved will we enact this legal resolution.
Yes, it starts from scratch. It does not get a 'leg-up' based on the Artist having already beaten The Game.
Our platform is equal opportunity - everyone from the Stars to the starving get treated as equals. And that must include 'stars' that have beaten the game previously.
You haven’t actually cleared Gaming Level 12.
Gaming Level 12 is a big level, the second half of which contains 12 Sifting Stages.
Gaming Levels 1 up to Gaming Level 12 are designed to harvest extra plays which is where Mass Listenership comes from.
Gaming Level 12 (complete with 12 Sifting Stages) is where we separate out the rare, brilliant music gems that qualify for this Mass Listenership. Songs must have an average score of 85/100 or greater to clear all 12 Sifting Stages.
Songs that clear all 12 Sifting Stages will receive 5000 or more plays - it may take some time to get all these plays. Because the sifting can take a while, your next song enters Level 1 while the last song is at the sifting stages.
You may end up with several songs in the sifting stages. All song average scores can be viewed on the Sifting Stage Table (and also on the Songs Uploaded table).
What does Game Over mean?
Game Over means a song did not score high enough to clear all 12 Sifting Stages. This means the song is no longer exclusive to isongU. Game Over songs receive no more plays.
Game Over will be displayed as Game Over songs, on the Sifting Stages table for 1 week. This table will display the Sifting Stage the song reached, the song's final Average Score and the total number of plays received as well as any song sales, This information will also be displayed on the Game Over table.
After 1 week, Game Over songs will be removed from the Sifting Stage table, but they can still be viewed long-term on the Game Over table. Some information is also shown on the Songs Uploaded table.
The reason songs that fail to beat The Game get no more plays is because, well, they are no longer in The Game.
Music Stardom the Efficient way:
The Game is basically a filter, and removing Game Over songs means we are effectively cleaning the filter. We are the only music platform that 'cleans their music filter'. Without this clutter, it means we are far more efficient at creating Mass Listenership for winning songs (the crème de la crème).
Yes, only one song can enter the Accelerator at any one time.
When a song exits Gaming Level 12 and goes into the Sifting Stages, a new song enters Gaming Level 1.
When you upload multiple songs, they queue up to enter the Accelerator in the order in which they were uploaded. If you wish to change the queue order, you can move song around in the queue.
For instance, if you decide that the last song you uploaded should be next to enter the Accelerator... you can move it to the head of the queue.
We want musicians to work about 5% as hard as they work today in terms of marketing. Artist's today must brand themselves, constantly market and self-promote themselves. And create a constant stream of content to engage fans. And fund themselves. And create a constant stream of new music to stay relevant.
Ideally, we don’t want the music artist to put any work into self-promotion on Social Media etc. We want them to concentrate on their art - their music. For this, they will need Time and Money.
A music artist must work hard for the first few months to gain enough fans whereby they can earn a continuously growing revenue stream through Dividends. This way, they can have a successful career in music even if they never sell a single song at isongU.
A music must work hard for the first few months to gain enough fans whereby they can gain enough fan Work Credits whereby their songs Auto-climb the gaming levels. The goal is for the artist to put zero work into playing The Game and all their time and efforts into creating great music.
Your fans complete reviews and Invite new artists & new fans on your behalf… and in doing so they drive your song up the Levels, earning more time in Mass Exposure for you and your song.
PS: Into the bargain, they also earn Dividends for you when they invite new artists.
When your fans (and grandfans) sign up new artists & fans, you get credit for their work. They are counted towards you.
You will see these signups at Gaming Level 10 and 11.
How do early adopters benefit?
This is a land grab – you want to sign up as many artists and fans as you can at the outset so you can lock in future dividends before it becomes competitive signup landscape and New Artists and even fans become scarce on the ground. Once you sign up New Artists and New Fans, nobody can take them away from you, ever.
Oh, and you can score your own songs - there will be about 6,000 songs at launch, so you have a small chance of finding your own song. And if you can find your own song, you deserve to give yourself the highest score. Good luck!
We have no immediate plans to release mobile apps. Right now, we are a Website application that works for both mobile and laptop/ desktop devices and across all browsers. All desktop features are also available on mobile, except that, in vertical mode, some features are turned off because of screen limitations. For instance, the Vertical screen only shows 3 menu items ‘Home’, ‘The Game’ and ‘Rate Songs’ whereas the Horizontal screen shows all 5 menu items.
There is a lot of functionality and also real time reporting of Game data and we felt it was too difficult to co-ordinate this data with mobile apps.
Going forward, we will go from a website application to a Windows App rather than develop unique iOS and Android mobile apps.
Actually, we will never claim 'the highest quality' because quality is in the ears of the beholder. One person's pleasure is another's poison, and that is especially true when it comes to music.
Quality by the Numbers:
Let's say a song gets 1 million plays and, of those, 980,000 people love the song while 20,000 dislike it intensely. Who is to say the 980,000 are right and the 20,000 are wrong. The 20,000 could be gifted musicians with a large grasp of music and its histories.
However, if 200,000 of the 980,000 purchase the song, then that is a measure of quality, even if it is shallow. Song sales have long been how music charts work, and they have sometimes placed trite songs at the top of the charts. Using the Wisdom of Crowds, we would hope to do a lot, lot better than that.
The Rise Of Quality:
- As isongU grows and more artist's enter their music, the statistical likelihood is that, with this greater breath of music, we get higher and higher quality songs into our platform.
- Secondly, if a song is impartially rated by 10 listeners who all say it is brilliant, that is not a very substantial measure of quality. But if 1 million listeners impartially rate the song and say it is brilliant, statistically, we believe them that much more.
So while we do not claim to be an exact measure of quality, this 'Quality by the Numbers' very likely means that quality rises as isongU grows (becomes more popular and mainstream).
This is very different to how the mainstream normally works. For many, popularity today is often synonymous with plastic pop music. It is exactly the opposite here at isongU. Our goal is to make greater popularity synonymous with ever greater quality.
No Data Exploitation:
With regard to privacy, isongU has absolutely no interest in exploiting metadata. We do not sell user data. This follows our zero tolerance for adverts -which we believe contaminate music.
Our interest is in the democratic promotion of crowd powered music and that is all.
Of course there are also sensitive banking details, PayPal accounts, Song Sale transactions and Dividend details that must be protected behind firewalls as well as encryption both within our website and on all data transfers, such as on ftp.
How do we protect your data:
At isongU, we have a green bar (SSL) encrypted transactions which is the absolute highest level of encryption for merchant transactions. In addition, transactions typically take microseconds and the transaction link immediately disappears after the transaction, limiting exposure to possible hackers.
In addition, isongU takes further steps to protect your bank account (as well as emails & passwords) information with further layers of encryption to thwart hackers.
At launch, we will not be giving Artists record contracts or supporting them on tour. We are at the startup phase right now,
But, in future, we will certainly be open to these avenues. We just need to be certain that, whatever future direction we take, the fair treatment of Music Artists and Music Fans comes first and foremost. And that we need to put systems in place to ensure fairness - we cannot simply rely on human goodwill.
No, fans cannot choose a specific genre. However, we do allow them to specify an audience type.
When you upload a song, you choose the type of audience from 2 categories: 1) Easy Listening or 2) Loud-Hardcore. You can also choose both categories - not sure why an artist would do this unless perhaps a song starts out easy listening and becomes loud at the end.
Fans can likewise choose what type of music they'd like to hear from these 2 same categories. To do so, they go to their Your Account page and click on the category/ categories of their choice. By default, both audience types are selected.
For instance, if a fan chooses only the 'Loud/ Hardcore' category, we will select songs from the 'Loud / Hardcore' category and deliver these to this fan.
That said, Mid-Tempo songs will be delivered to all fans regardless of which audience they choose.
Yes, we accept all genres.
A music artist may loosely define their song as easy listening or hardcore ...and the song will, for the most part, be delivered to an audience that matches this style of music.
We don't break it down by genre because it would complicate the process, plus we want fans to be eclectic in their listening habits.
The system sometimes appears to allow you to rate extra songs for no reason.
This happens when there are other requirements for climbing the level that you have not met.
At Gaming Level 9, you may need to upload a new song (if you do not have any songs in the song queue)
At Gaming Level 10 and 11, you may need to signup New Artists or New Fans.
You may have scored a lot of songs, but perhaps your song has not received the requisite number of scores in return.
Yes, you have to score songs, but you also need your song scored - the number of times your song needs to be scored can differ at different levels.
Go to The Game tab - this gives you all the information (criteria) you need to climb each level. This is the only map you need.
At isongU, fans are probably less motivated than artists. After all, Artists have a clear motive - beat the game and gain Mass Acclaim (Music Stardom).
To motivate Fans, we pay them Dividends:
Well, we give them the same dividends as we do for Artists. They get Direct Dividends, Indirect Dividends (via fans) and Indirect Dividends (via Grandfans).
Yes, it is weird that a fan can signup fans - it begs the question ' What does it mean to be a fan?' Well, it the case of dividends, the term 'Fan' and 'Grandfan' really have nothing to do with being a fan of a Music Artist or band.
But why would Fans bother to score songs?
To some extent, a fan could signup New Artists and New Fans and not bother to score songs. So, why would they score songs?
1. To get a 10c cut of song sales
However, to get paid a 10c cut of song sales by Artists that they sign up, a Fan must beat a different game. They must climb 12 Gaming Levels of a game we call the 'Accumulator'. To climb the levels, they must score songs - At Gaming Level 1, they only get a 2c cut of song sales, but as they climb the levels, their cut is increased until it reaches 10c after they clear Gaming Level 12.
All fans can clear all 12 Gaming Levels of the Accumulator simply by scoring songs. This game does not eliminate any fans.
2. Artist rewards (Tune Treasure Hunt)
We will have several famous music artists / bands place an exclusive mystery song on isongU. The Artist will then ask their fans click their Promolink so they can join isongU and then go on a 'Tune Treasure Hunt' whereby the first person to successfully ID their mystery song will get rewards such as:
a) Large cash prizes
b) A one of a kind pressing of the song single complete with autographs and original artwork. And other collector items.
c) Tour with the Artist, VIP passes, dine with the Artist etc.
Yes, the winner would need to purchase the song in order to successfully ID the Artist and Song. And yes, a major Artist could well sign up a hundred thousand fans or more who may well score a million songs or more . In addition, the Artist will now have an army of fans who may well signup New Artists and New Fans (Grandfans) leading to Indirect Dividend payments to the Artist.
We see Tune Treasure Hunts as the catalyst to getting legions of fans to score songs on the isongU platform.
3. Song Dividends
In the future, we will likely add yet another Dividend called a Song Dividend. Basically, if you are the first person to score a newly uploaded song, you get perhaps a 5c cut of all sales of this song. This encourages fans to score songs.
To be clear, there will be no Song Dividends at launch.
In the age of Streaming, most fans will not want to purchase songs:
Yes, the very idea of having to purchase a song may alienate and perhaps cause revolt among some fans. Perhaps 80% of fans will feel embittered by the prospect of having to pay for a song.
But, as Bandcamp has clearly shown, there are fans who want to support artists and support great music. These fans are likely in the minority - perhaps only 20% of fans, but it is a starting point.
Our goal is to make isongU the home of the highest quality music imaginable and, over time, to win fans over because of the sheer brilliance of the music. And, because they will not want to wait 2 years to hear this brilliant mystery song on a Streaming service. And, of course, there is the payment of Dividends that may offset any resentment in paying for songs.
Will Dividend chasing Fans bother to score songs fairly?
Well, this could be an issue. If fans are only there to earn Dividends, will they just 'phone it in' when scoring songs. And by 'phone it in' we mean they may low-ball, mid-rate or rapid-rate songs.
Low-balling means giving every song a low score. Mid-rate means giving every song say a score of 70 and be done with it. Fortunately, these behavior is very easy to detect and can result it the Fan account being disabled for a period of time.
Rapid-rate means you score every song immediately after the required 20 second listening period and never listen to any song for longer than this. Again, fortunately, this rapid-rate behavior is very easy to detect and can result it the Fan account being disabled for a period of time.
What does it mean to disable an Account:
When fans have their accounts disabled, say for a period of 30 days, it does not means they lose any Dividends they have currently gained, What it means is they cannot signup New Artist or New Fans or score songs during that 30 day period.
The same goes for an Artist account that is disabled - Artists also cannot upload a new song.
Not at this time.
In the near future, the artist will be able to choose to index into a song up to 30 seconds into their song so that when fans listen, they will hear a sample of the song further into the song.
We may add further indexing options in the future.
There are 2 channels on isongU through which an artist can sell songs:
Sales may occur inside the 12 Levels as songs journey toward Mass Acclaim: A fan can fall in love with a song clip while rating it in the Gaming Levels, and they may purchase it.
Mass Listenership (aka Mass Acclaim).
If your song makes it past all gaming levels, it qualifies for Mass Listenership: This is by far the greatest means of generating song sales.
How will 'The Game' launch artists globally?
Once you have achieved Mass Sales and you exit Mass Listenership- we will then place your song at the top of Streaming playlists, onto movies etc. and support you on tour if that is what you wish. In other words, we need to launch you globally because you have to overcome the loss of song sales upon exiting Mass Listenership.
Now, some artists may prefer not to tour and they may wish to remain largely anonymous - and that is fine also. These artists can remain in Mass Listenership
Yes, there are no fees, no ads (and also no bias).
By no fees, we mean we don't charge any fees, ever, on the journey through the Accelerator towards Mass Acclaim. And it doesn't matter how many songs you enter, the platform is always free.
In fact, we depend entirely on song sales, just like the artist ... although the artist can also earn revenues on sales by new artists that they (or their fans) sign up.
We do not like ads associated with music. We think that ads often devalue and perhaps contaminate music. We'd prefer if band and brand were never packaged together, unless the artist wishes it to be so.
It means we are checking whether your song is indeed original. We are checking to make sure the email using to signup the Artist does in fact belong to the Artist and that the PayPal email is also the Artists. Also, if the Artist checked ‘Exclusive’ we need to check to see if the song is actually exclusive to isongU.
Without question, musicians have always been the largest and most vital component of the music industry. It has always been something of a mystery why musicians have never had a proper say in the music industry.
Why Musicians are Divided:
The reason musicians have never had a say in the industry because they’ve always been in competition over the limelight. Because they are constantly competing, they are constantly divided.
This natural divide has allowed labels and others to divide and conquer.
Musicians ...united by Paying it Forward:
isongU essentially uses the same limelight (Mass Listenership) to unite musicians.
By Paying it Forward:
At isongU, musicians have to rate songs by other musicians ...and in return, other musicians and fans will rate their song. Musicians cannot journey towards Mass Exposure unless people rate their songs.
So, in order to beat The Game, they have little choice but to continuously pay it forward. And as more and more artists continuously pay it forward, these artists are continuously (and permanently) united.
Mass Listenership is the glue that holds Artists together:
isongU has flipped the limelight whereby it now unites instead of divides.
The larger the number of musicians, the greater becomes Mass Exposure and the stronger the bond between musicians.
This bond is essential because it enables musicians and fans to together decide the future of music, not corporations.
We are a rules-based Crowd Engine which controls, harnesses and intensifies the power and wisdom of crowds.
Sure, it may seem like we are just a game and there is no obvious technology at play here. But, in the background, there is a Crowd Engine which controls, harnesses and intensifies the power and wisdom of crowds. The control part is really the secret sauce. Control ensures a large degree of non-bias among individuals in the crowd, it ensures zero herding or influencing and it ensures that The Game cannot be gamed.
Harnessing the power and wisdom of crowds in a controlled environment may not seem like a technology. It probably appears both blindingly obvious and probably also appears ‘made up’.
To which we answer: 1) To harness the power and wisdom of crowds, you need control 2) Such control has never been achieved before and 3) Control is the key to unlocking the true power of crowds.
Are there other technologies at play?
Well, the other reason for songs being Mystery Songs is to create a Buy or Bust scenario. This is a rather unique construct - purchasing an unknown entity before it disappears.
It is a lot like an Auction except instead of competing with other bidders, you are competing with time (and the price does not change). Also, unlike an Auction, the item on sale is anonymous (listening to the song clip is the only information provided) which, again, makes it rather unique.
So yes, this is a unique construct that is certainly a new sales tool, which, in some circles, could be considered a new technology.
OK, people have complained that 12 gaming levels are too much. Most video games have limitless levels.
The 12 levels are absolutely necessary because -
a) The multi-levels mean scalability.
b) The multi-levels act as filters which are needed to distill out great music.
Are 12 levels really too much?
A typical video game has far more than 12 levels.
Also, if you look at a show like ‘The Voice’ or ‘American Idol’ – each episode of those shows acts like a filter since lesser acts are removed during each episode. These talent shows typical have over 40 episodes (which are akin to levels) per season, which is far more than the number of ‘filter’ levels at isongU.
Yes, well, we are obviously not a video game but we do try to mimic Video gaming levels.
In the same way that video games require players to have skill and perseverance to climb levels, so too does The Game. And, just as a video game rewards the player that clears all levels with the highest score, The Game rewards artists that clear all Levels with Mass Listenership leading to mass song sales.
The skill required to climb levels is the ability to create a truly great piece of music. The perseverance is the effort required to climb a level: A level may require you to rate other artist's songs before your song gets rated in return. Or a Level may require you to sign up a new artist or new fans.
Video Games are impartial:
A video game whereby it's just human vs machine is completely impartial and fair. The machine does not care who you are, what you look like or whom you know. It does not matter whether you are royalty or penniless - every player has to pass through the exact same digital hoops.
Now, we wish that isongU's gaming levels were as impartial as a Video Game. But they are not because we employ the power of crowds and crowds involve individual people and people tend to harbor biases. But, my making everything anonymous and getting rid of herding and influencers, and by having a large enough crowd, we can drown out the vast majority of these individual biases.
Because we're not your typical music website: Artists, songs and even Fans are anonymous, so we cannot post artist images etc.
Well, we are artists ourselves, and we are sick to the back teeth of the way artists are being mistreated, Fairness is the last word you could use to describe the current music industry. Often, it seems that the music is just background noise and it is the bling, youth, beauty and sexuality that s the real product. Brand before band.
Here at isongU, all songs are anonymous, therefore all songs are judged pretty much as equals. There is no brand. With a fan hits 'Play' they get a random, mystery song. What mystery song clip you will receive is unknowable - not by the fan and not by us at isongU. Hence, there is no herding or influencing and it is not possible to 'game' The Game.
The Game is not perfectly impartial:
The game is not fully without bias - there may be some genre bias. For instance, let's say a fan hates country music and tends to score country songs lower than other genres - that makes The Game less than perfect and not 100% equal opportunity.
How do we limit this genre bias? Well, to beat the game, a song will receive 5,000++, scores. By having such a large crowd sample size, it is highly likely that there will be fans that love country music and then these genre biases will tend to null each other out,
It may be possible that some genres have greater social biases against them - to offset these biases, we also plan to remove a percentage of 'low-ball' scores across all genres - this tends to benefit genres that are hampered by social biases.
At launch, we will not remove these 'low-ball' scores - we want to gather more data which will enable us to accurately implement this correction.
Bottom line, we believe all Music Artists really just want a fair, unbiased shot at Music Stardom. Our goal is to build an absolutely equal opportunity music world - and that's kind of a crazy thing to say, given that today, the industry is riddled with biases.
At isongU, it does not matter whether you are a Star or starving. All artists enter as equals. Stuff like bling, fashion, body image, sexuality, age, race, beauty etc. carry no influence.
There is no residual bias: If you beat the game with one song, it does not give your next song a leg up.
There is also no location bias. Today, location bias exists whereby artists located in London, NYC, Nashville etc. tend to have better odds that a band from the wilds of Patagonia or Mongolia or Australia - basically the current music industry is biased against artists that exist anywhere outside the music capitals of the world. We completely remove this bias.
Well, right now, fans interact with Artist's mystery songs - if they purchase the Artist's song, then they get to know the Artist's name and Song title... and they can research the Artist from there.
Yes, we have purposely limited the prism through which fans can interact with Artists because we want it to be purely related to the quality of the music. It's an anti-hype stance, if you will.
We have considered adding an Artist-Bio page that is only available to fans of the Artist and we have considered adding a chat function that would further connect artists to fans, but we worry that this would just bring distraction and passive, low quality interactions and, moreover, this would destroy the pure-play wherein only the quality of the music matters. That is the basis of real, meaningful connections between fans and artists. After all, if a fan buys an artists mystery song, these are the type of fans that will also likely want to see this artist in concert. Not the fan who 'passively liked' an Artists song on Social Media.
In a way, there are plenty of Social Media platforms out there already that provide passive interactions between artists and fans without us adding to it.
Unifying the artist and fan relates to the way artists and fans reward each other and by doing so, join forces.
For instance, let's say:
- Artist A signs up Fan 1
- Fan 1 then signs up New Artist B.
- Fan 1 gets up to 10% of Artist B song sales.
- Artist A gets 2% of Artist B's sales.
- Artist A gets 2 additional weeks in the limelight.
As you can see, Fan 1 has done a heap of good favors for Artist A all while helping him/herself to a hefty dividend. This creates a growing bond between the Artist and the Fan.
Also, all of the good news events above get posted to Social Media and since they mean a lot to both artist and fan, this furthers the bond between them.
isongU vs. Streaming:
What we have done is put Artists and Fans on the same side, whereby they are going to bat for each other and a relationship forms. This is precisely the opposite to Streaming, where most fans want free music while Artists want to get paid - this effectively divorces the artist from the fan. There is no relationship, they are just bitter rivals.
No, absolutely not. Streaming has it place in the Music Industry and we are not trying to change that.
Our place is prior to Streaming. Think of it this way - let's say a song has a value of $1.50 per download. Well, the instant the Artist places that song on a Streaming service, the market price for that song instantly drops to $0.00.
Our goal is to keep a song's value at $1.50 for months or years by keeping it a mystery. And after it has received millions of mystery listens (and song sales) we propel it onto every platform and Streaming service and onto the airwaves. We give the song top billing on all these platforms.
Control the input, Control the Output
In other words, we want to control the input (discovery and exposure) and therefore have a large say in the output (distribution on other platforms and across the airwaves and even into the Live scene).
The 'i' represents the Music Artist.
The 'U' represents the Music Fan.
And the 'song' is the thing that unites the two of them.
Also, replace the word 'song' with the word 'love' and you get 'i love U' ...which ties into the concept of uniting artists and fans. Sometimes our Logos include a heart around the word song.
Lastly, isongU is a little bit like 'music speed dating' between random anonymous artists and random anonymous fans wherein music is the uniting medium.
No, isongU plays zero part in choosing which music makes it through to Mass Listenership. We have no play. Musicians and fans govern all music on isongU. Together, they decide the future direction of music.
Fair and Repeatable:
Our only job at isongU is to firstly provide a fair pathway to Mass Listenership and to secondly ensure that it is repeatable. By repeatable, that means that, let's say a song scores 85/100 after receiving 6000 scoring plays - we should be able to re-enter it into The Game and it should again get 85/100 after 6000 scoring plays, within a small margin of error. We need to ensure this repeatability through a lot of a/b testing like this.
Once we have established fairness and repeatability, our job is done.
So, if an Artist believes that their song should have beaten The Game and they are looking for someone to blame, then blame it on the impartial crowd that decided your song was not quite good enough. It has nothing to do with us - we just provide a fair and repeatable pathway to Mass Listenership. We have no other input. We have no say whatsoever.
The Wisdom of Crowds:
The Wisdom of Crowds depends on a few things
- The crowd must be large enough to give a good statistical decision with a low margin of error
- The Crowd should be diverse so that a wide range of opinions are taken into account.
- Each individual in the crowd must act wholly independent from other crowd participants - there can be no herding or influencing. In the case of music, there can be no imagery or anything that identifies the artist name or song title. An artist cannot speak or sing their Artist Name or introduce band ,members in the song either - obviously a song title can be sung, that is acceptable.
Only when all these conditions are met can a crowd be truly wise.
And with wisdom, Musicians and fans impartially and democratically determine the future of music - they decide the best songs; isongU just provides a constant, impartial, repeatable review platform (that just happens to generate Mass Listenership).
Let's look at some definitions of a pyramid scheme and examine how this compares to our organization of Dividends payments.
Payments are for enrolling participants:
One definition of a pyramid scheme is a business model that recruits members via a promise of payments or services for enrolling others into the scheme, rather than supplying investments or the sale of products.
In other words. if the opportunity for income is primarily derived by recruiting more participants or salespersons rather than by selling a product, then it is likely a pyramid scheme.
All income at isongU is derived directly from song sales. All Dividend payments are a percentage of these song sales. Therefore, there are no payments derived from the recruitment of participants or salespersons.
Organized in the shape of a Pyramid::
Another definition of a pyramid scheme is one that organized in the shape of a pyramid with one or just a few people on the top and multiple layers of organization beneath them, with each layer of organization containing more people. Also, the top layer typically does not grow in number and the greatest rewards are funneled to the few people on top with ever decreasing rewards for each descending layer.
We are not that. Our Dividends are arranged in just 3 layers of organization 1) Artist/Fan 2) Fan and 3) Grandfan.
The first layer does not involve one or a just few people, it can involve many thousands of people. And while layer 2 contains more people that layer 1 and layer 3 contains more people than layer 2, it stops short of being a pyramid because
- It is limited to 3 layers of organization and is therefore not shaped like a Pyramid
- The top layer contains a large and ever increasing cohort of people.
- Rewards are spread fairly evenly among layers.
How about The Game itself?
Again, all income in The Game comes from song sales.
Furthermore, pyramid schemes are permanently biased towards early adopters, with less and less benefit to later adopters. The Game is unbiased. The rules are the same for everyone no matter when they join.
Also, the amount of exposure increases exponentially. Therefore, the benefit to later adopters is far greater than the benefit to early adopters. This is precisely the opposite of a pyramid scheme.
isongU is definitely not a pyramid scheme.
- To keep songs from being easily pirated, we keeps songs anonymous (no artist name, no song name etc.) for as long as possible, even when songs enter Mass Listenership.
- If a song is exclusive to isongU, then we will go all out to ensure that this song is not of the database of SoundHound, Shazam (or its iOS equivalent) or any other other song ID service. This is our primary and most effective means of preventing piracy.
That's about it. Perhaps, in the future, we may l also give these songs and artists false names on various sites to make piracy a red-herring minefield. Or perhaps we will watermark songs so that we can determine the exact source of the leak. But, honestly, these efforts are probably overkill and will probably just put a bad taste in people's mouths.
Building a culture of Fair Compensation:
Ultimately, we hope that people will embrace the concept that fans (and musicians) get to decide the future of music at isongU, and that the community will take it a step further and insist upon the fair compensation of music artists.
We also believe in the education of young consumers; the simple message being that the theft of music is criminal behavior. Yes, we understand it’s incredibly hard to say no when a friend offers you free music. None of us are above temptation.
Certainly not. We go out of our way not to favor today’s big name artists.
All artists remain anonymous, so fame or image doesn’t enter the picture, so to speak.
The Superstar music artist will have to succeed past all levels, just the same as the starving music artist. The rules are the same for all comers.
And even for those that make it to Mass Exposure with one song ... they have t start from scratch with their next song, same as everyone else.
Yes. Anyone, from any nation and any culture is welcome at isongU. Everyone, pretty or not, outrageous or shy, has, at the moment they upload a song (The Game sees all songs as equals), the same chance of success as anyone else.
At the point of entry, all artists and all songs are equal.
Our goal is to have no bias right across the board: A democratically fair, equal opportunity music industry, wherein all men and women (from every walk of life) are absolute equals.
That said, we are presently an English Language medium, so while songs from other languages are welcome, there may be a natural language bias against them. This is an issue we will need to address going forward.
Artists can achieve longevity by remaining in Mass Listenership for years. How long a song stays in Mass Listenership is, in part, up to the artist but it also depends on how well the song is scoring and selling in Mass Listenership.. If the artist writes a brilliant song that gets rave ratings and converts to song sales, they will spend a great deal of time in Mass Listenership.
isongU wants brilliant artists to enjoy long lasting success. In other words, more like Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark side of the moon’ decade long success and less like today’s instant hit turns instantly forgotten folly.
isongU is all about giving musicians (as a community) control over their music world - and once they take a viral hold over a fair, incorruptible music industry, their is no going back to the old ways.
The goal is for Musicians to take permanent collective control of their music.
Yes, we are, but crowdsourced A&R is only the first part of what we do; the Sift part.
Crowdsourced A&R is our impartial filter – our means of sifting out the rare gems. And yes, what is brilliant and rare is valuable … but it is only valuable if people know about it. It is only valuable if it reaches a lot of ear buds and headphones. And that is the second part of what isongU.com does: drive Mass Listenership to those rare gems.
We Sift and then Expose. We Sift and then Expose.
The 'Saturation of Social Media with meaningful posts is a feature that has not been launched yet. It would basically involve hosting our own 'Buffer' so we could automatically schedule Social Media posts. It will likely take at least 6 months of coding to make it a reality.
These posts would be Good News auto-posts but would feel authentic. For instance, we would auto-post when an Artist beats the game and these auto-posts would appear as posts on the Artist's social media (Twitter, Instagram etc.).
We might also auto-post when a fan signs up a bunch of New Artists and again, these would be auto-posted on this fan's social media pages.
With so much authentic Good News being generated, we would look to saturate Social Media with these automatic Good News posts. To be honest, we don't like most automation - it feels anything but authentic. But here, these posts are triggered by real events in The Game, lending a sense of authenticity.
. Of course, the isongU user would have to agree with these auto-posts on their accounts.
Auto- promotion on Social Media:
A lot of events take place at isongU. Songs are uploaded, levels are cleared, songs get to Mass Exposure, musicians invite new fans, fans invite new bands, fans get dividends when they successfully invite bands, artists get dividends also when they directly invite bands and when their fans do,
It’s an event laden process, but these events have real tangible meaning to both artists and fans. Even though we automatically post these events onto social media, they carry a distinct air of authenticity. Because these posts carry meaning, the odds are favorable that musicians and fans will respond to posts.
These posts automatically promote Music Artists and Fans (as well as isongU) across social media. This removes the need for Artists to work as hard on social media promotion –we take care of this for bands as well as fans. Again, we just want bands doing what they love; making music.