Can we Work Together to Keep Blip.fm Alive? (I think so!)

Team Blip,

I wanted to move this to a separate post.

I can’t thank you enough for your outpouring of support and kind words.  Quite honestly, it’s the community of wonderful and diverse diehard music fans that keeps me incurring the painful personal debt for server and bandwidth costs every month.  I have read every single one of your comments and I’m really impressed with the level of passion and excitement that you write and describe blip.fm… some of you are amazing writers btw!

Since I can’t help myself, here are some of my favorites:

All of us appreciate this site, as it has grown to have special meaning to many of us.” - @LindyLuv

There is nothing like Blip anywhere else.” - @Bob0

Many of the other music sites do a better job of streaming high quality music, but no one does a better job than Blip of connecting music lovers socially.” - @Foggieloaner

To us, the dj interaction at blip is the site’s primary advantage over any of the other music sites, and so this feature of blip.fm should be enhanced by whatever means possible in the future.” @webbedradio

Blip may be small compared to other online services but we are a close-knit community.” - @surreality

There were so many more great quotes that I want to include, but this one floored me!

I’m a musician. Music is my life. I’ve performed it and participated in it in many different ways but almost always with others. I’ve purchased tons of music, yet there’s something missing when I listen to it or perform it alone. This is why Blip.fm is so important to me. Psychologists agree that relationships are a basic human need and that humans seek “belongingness” defined by Wikipedia as the “human emotional need to be an accepted member of a group.” It also states, “This desire is so universal that the need to belong is found across all cultures and different types of people.” Blip.fm is more than just a music [site]. It’s a community of avid music lovers.

That said, Blip.fm is much more. It is unique. It is therapeutic. It is a support system. It is an outlet for creativity. It is entertainment. It is a vehicle for advertising/discovering new music and becoming educated/educating others. It is a place to make friends almost anywhere in the world and foster understanding/respect for diversity worldwide. It is a way to expand one’s foreign language skills. It is a musical “Twitter”. It is art. It can promote physical education, dance, studying a musical instrument, or music history. It is fun. And all of this in REAL TIME. You can’t get much more amazing than that!” - @GeorgeSand / Kathyrn

Thank you to @Scott-hn @8Oclockstart @playfulx and many others for the helpful brainstorm of ideas as well!

To summarize, here’s what I’m hearing from the group.  Please let me know if I missed anything.

Blippers would be open to:

1) periodic donations

AND/OR

2) a monthly subscription

In exchange, Blippers would like:

1) periodic maintenance of the site

2) better communication from me (sorry folks, I’ve been really bad about this admittedly)

3) fixing outstanding bugs (please help point these out)

4) a way to integrate more music content or partner with other streaming services like Spotify, Rdio, and/or SoundCloud (this one is harder than you think due to a whole host of issues)

5) Upgrade the totally outdated server infrastructure (this one will not be easy either)

6) I’m sure more - please keep adding them in the comment section

Also, I would like to address a few questions.

1) What are you going to do with the money if the Blip.fm community helps out?

First and foremost, I would likely need to hire engineering support to keep the site up and going.  Second, there are ongoing server and bandwidth costs.  Third, Blip.fm still resides on some completely outdated and brutally slow (and expensive) servers.  (This will be a PAINFUL cost and process, but let’s not get into detail here.)  Finally, I would like to slowly try to dig myself out of the massive debt of paying from these servers month after month.  I know that making a donation requires trust and I hope you can put that trust into me to help keep Blip.fm alive.

2) Where have you been and why have you neglected Blip.fm?

I’ve been focusing my efforts on building Feed.fm.  We also built Fuzz as many of you know as means to showcase the API behind Feed.fm.  As many of you acknowledged in your comments, I’m grateful that you understand that I do need to run a business to support my family.  Feed.fm is the latest endeavor that best meets that need.

Forgive the brief commercial, but for those of you that don’t know what it is, Feed.fm provides a legal way to add popular music (THINK: Deadmau5 to Zeppelin) to websites, apps, and games to drive engagement, retention, and revenues.  If any of you run a US business interested in adding popular music, please hit us up at support@feed.fm.  I’d love to work with you!

Running a start-up is brutally hard and quite frankly, I need to focus my energies on efforts that show the most promise.  Blip.fm was once that glimmer of that promise and maybe with your help we can grow it again.  Maybe a mobile app?

3) What’s the timing of the changes if we decide to contribute our hard-earned dollars to the cause?

To be honest, I don’t know.  I still need to think this through and figure out what resources I would need.  I would also like to understand what in your mind is a reasonable monthly charge.  $5, $10, open for what you think it’s worth?

An initial donation might really help to get things started.  We would then possibly move to a monthly subscription.  I’m honestly not sure yet, but I just want to share some of my initial thinking here.

Also, some of you asked about the ads.  They barely provide any revenue.  If we can figure out a reasonable revenue model, I would be open to turning the ads off… again, I need to think all of this through but more on that later.

Anyway, thank you again for your efforts here and all of the great comments.  I’m going to periodically check back and I’d love to start the conversation if you are up for it.  Also, let’s all agree to be civil to each other as I’m sure you will have differing opinions.  Please also be patient with me as these things take time.

Looking forward to your comments!

Best,

@jeff

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Blip.fm YouTube Search Should Be Working (Hopefully)

Hey everyone,

We are working to fix the broken search functionality when blipping a new song via YouTube.  In order to fix the problem we needed to upgrade from version 2 of the YouTube API to version 3.  We are also working to remove broken links that appear in the search results.  We apologize for the inconvenience, but please bear with us as we work to find a solution.  As you know, we are not actively supporting Blip.fm due to a lack of resources and bandwidth.

Please let us know if you encounter additional issues.

Best,

Jeff

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Announcing FUZZ: Calling All Blippers in the US to Test New Product

Jeff here from Blip.fm.  As some of you may remember, we started our music efforts with an artist marketing product called Fuzz Artists back in 2006.  Despite our efforts, it never really went anywhere and we were lucky when our engineers came up with an idea for a “Twitter-like” product for music.  As you know, this eventually became Blip.fm and we made the painful decision to shut down our first product when Blip started to take off.  With your help, Blip.fm grew and things were going great… at least for a little while.

Things took a downward turn when we encountered some “content challenges.”  We lacked the resources to close content deals, and the decent content sources we had all dried up. In order to stay in existence, we changed many aspects of the service (needless to say, for the worse).  We lost some of our favorite Blip DJs, users were extremely upset, and the community forever changed. To be honest, it totally sucked.  My staff shrank to just me, my co-founder and part-time engineering help.  We kept Blip going on a shoestring by running it out of my basement.

While it was yet another difficult time for us, we regrouped, put together a new team, and started thinking about a new product.  In the meantime to my surprise, many Blipppers stuck with us and continue to do so today.  You know who you are and, on a personal level, I can’t thank you enough.  I would’ve called it quits a long time ago, if it weren’t for your support.

The elephant in the room is the question many of you want answered: what is going to happen to Blip.fm?  The honest answer is I don’t know for sure.  For many reasons, some personal and business, I want and will try to keep Blip going as long as possible, and to fix things when they break.  I hope that I’ll be able to do more than that some day, but the reality of limited resources means that day may not come for a long time, or at all.

That brings me to the new FUZZ.  Think ‘People-Powered Radio’.  While it’s not Blip.fm – nothing could replace it – we have built some of what we think are the best aspects of Blip into an internet radio service.  Most importantly, we continue to believe that the most compelling recommendation is when it comes from REAL PEOPLE and that thinking forms the core of FUZZ.

Since most of you have strong opinions about music, we think you would be perfect to help us test, provide feedback, and build stations as early adopters.  If you are interested, sign up at http://fuzz.com/register to be next in line for new batches of invites.  Over the next few weeks, we will open it up to more and more Blippers.  For a temporary period of time, we will reserve your Blip user names so make sure you use (and check) the email address tied to your Blip.fm account.

One major downer is that, for now at least, FUZZ will be available only in the United States due to licensing restrictions.  To all the international blippers out there, we understand the anger and disappointment this will cause.  As we move forward, we will look for the opportunity and resources to add other countries to FUZZ’s reach.  This is a bummer for our international users, and for us U.S. blippers who have benefited from all of their efforts. For more about this topic and internet radio regulations, you might want to check out http://www.broadcastlawblog.com/articles/internet-radio/

FUZZ is in a private beta stage and still figuring things out so we appreciate your patience and feedback. You’ll be helping us to make a better online music experience. Sign up for an invite, and stay tuned!

Hope to see you on FUZZ.com soon!

@Jeff

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ALO at the Sessions TODAY (February 24th) at 11AM Pacific

Hey everyone!  One of our favorite bands, ALO will be playing at the sessions today at 11AM Pacific.  Check it out here

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Blipping and Propping not Properly Working

We understand that there are currently problems with blipping, propping, and re-blipping.  Please bear with us as we sort this out.

UPDATE: Yan has found a temporary fix and we will continue to investigate over the next 24 hours.  Please let us know if you come across any issues.

Best,

Jeff and Yan

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