Archive for May, 2009

Exclude Video Search Results, Add Youtube links and more

As most of you know, we recently added support for blipping Youtube videos. We think this has been a great addition, but we also realize that we won’t please everyone with every new feature. We like to add new features as soon as they’re ready and then refine them based on user feedback. To that end, you can now type -video along with your search term to filter out video search results. For example:

  • Searching for “Rolling Stones” will still yield the mixed search results of video and audio as it used to.
  • Searching for “Rolling Stones -video” will produce results with videos filtered out.

We’re aware that not everyone has unlimited bandwidth, so we do plan to allow you to skip over video blips in the future. However, there is some groundwork we still have to lay in order to make sure that the user experience of this feels right.

We’ve also had some questions about how to add videos that are difficult to find through Blip.fm or maybe just haven’t shown up in Youtube’s search results yet. Well, you can now paste the full url of a youtube video (e.g. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yIyWrNEeMcI ) into the search field to blip that video.

There were also a couple other additions / fixes in this round of maintenance:

  • Problems with credits being attributed correctly have been fixed and credit counts have been rectified based off our master records.
  • More songs now have iTunes links since we realize this is a preference for many. We’re also working to expand purchasing availability for our international users.

Navigating the Storm

In the past few weeks we’ve had to make a few difficult decisions that will change the way some things work on Blip.fm.  For the majority of you the changes will be for the better, for others they might be less than ideal for the time being. But everyone can be sure that we are doing everything in our power to make Blip.fm the best place to be a DJ and discover music through real people.

The challenges involved in running a start-up in the music space are immense.  To be honest it’s completely nuts, but we are trying to navigate our way through the perfect storm: a struggling music industry, a global economic meltdown, and a fundamental shift in the way people relate to one another and share their appreciation for music.  There is still much to accomplish behind the scenes in order to provide the best possible site for the folks that we care about most: YOU. We are committed to that process and bust our tails every day in order to bring you a game-changing product.

Many of you have been asking why we have had to make some of these changes.  I’ll be direct with you: I can’t tell you - at least not right now.  But, as you can imagine, we are working closely with the parties involved to address their needs while staying true to our initial product objectives.  There are a lot of smart people and groups involved in sorting out a whole boatload of issues regarding an industry in transition: software developers, lawyers, artists, people from the labels and aggregators, ad agencies, merch, ticketing, live event production, management and publishing companies to name a few.  We are working with all of them to create innovation and bring you the best experience possible.

So, here’s what will be changed: Going forward our music will be primarily sourced from the good folks at imeem while we engage with other sources to enhance our content.  Many of you will notice already that there is significantly more music available and that songs are more reliable than before.  Unfortunately, others may notice limitations on what can be streamed. We are looking at ways to improve the experience for everyone, but it’s a slow and piecemeal process.  Beyond that, there will be some other significant changes:

  • Adding urls to public mp3s will be limited to legitimate bands and labels approved in our systems (you can sign up here: http://blip.fm/settings/music).
  • The embeddable widget will still show blip messages, but won’t play the music in most cases.
  • Where applicable, old blips will be replaced with content from the imeem catalog, but anything that doesn’t match will temporarily cease to function. We plan to add tools to allow you to correct any false matches and find replacements for unavailable tracks.
  • We plan to add a preference to skip 30 second clips.
  • Additional media content will be available as it is sourced via new partnerships.

Brian, fuzzygroove, Yan, and I cannot thank you enough for all your feedback and support.  We appreciate your comments (we personally read every one of your emails).  And yes, we know that we have made some mistakes along the way, but we couldn’t be happier knowing that we’ve built something that millions of people find useful and enjoyable;  not bad for 4 guys in a basement. But the real props go out to you, the DJs, and to your blips.  Blip.fm would be nothing without all of you and we know it.

We hope that you will continue to use our service while we work things out.  We’ve got more features coming and will continually strive to improve Blip.fm.  Stay tuned.

Jeff Yasuda
CEO