Category: Editorial

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Radio Station 2.3.3.5 Bugfix & Enhancements Now Available for Download

There are two versions included in this release. Here are the included fixes and updates for this release:

2.3.3.5

  • Fixed: use schedule based on start_day if specified for Schedule view
  • Fixed: day left/right shifting on Schedule table/tab mobile views
  • Added: past/today/future filter for Schedule Override List
  • Added: filter for Schedule display start day (and to accept today)
  • Added: current playlist (if any) to Broadcast Data endpoint

2.3.3.4

  • Improved: auto-match show description to info height on Show pages
  • Improved: allow multiple Related Show selection for single post
  • Improved: ability to assign Post to relate to multiple Shows
  • Added: Related Show Post List column and Quick Edit field
  • Added: Related Show selection Bulk Edit Action for Post List
  • Added: filters for label texts and title attributes on Show Page
  • Added: filter for label text above Show Player (default empty)

Thanks to Tony Hayes, who led the development of this release.

Thanks also to our users for reporting issues in our Support forum and Gtihub Issues tracker!

View the complete Radio Station changelog here.

If you have any issues, please submit Radio Station support requests here.

For bug reports and feature requests, please submit to our Radio Station Github page here.

Support Radio Station by becoming a Patron. Your monthly contribution supports the ongoing development of the FREE and open source version of Radio Station.

You can also now list your Radio Station or Webcast in our new Netmix Directory. Submit your listing for FREE until the end of July 2020 and get a do-follow backlink from one of the oldest domains related to online music and radio today!

2.3.3.3 Bugfix Now Available for Download

2.3.3.3 Bugfix Update includes:

* Hot Fix for Upcoming Shows in Widgets were not displaying times if show spanned midnight, e.g. started at 11 pm and ended at 1 am.

We did release an interim 2.3.3.2 last week, but did not send out an email regarding that release.

Here are the included fixes and updates for that release:

2.3.3.2
* Update: Freemius SDK (2.4.0)
* Update: Plugin Loader (1.1.4) with weird isset glitch fix
* Fixed: Current Show for Shows ending at midnight
* Fixed: incorrect AJAX Widget plugin setting value
* Fixed: use page-load data for schedules before transients

Thanks to Tony Hayes, who led the development of this release.

Thanks also to the following users for reporting issues in our Support forum and Gtihub Issues tracker:

@tonyzeoli
@astevens93
@Ajames0807
@cbeattie89
@larryl79

View the complete Radio Station changelog here.

If you have any issues, please submit Radio Station support requests here.

For bug reports and feature requests, please submit to our Radio Station Github page here.

Support Radio Station by becoming a Patron. Your monthly contribution supports the ongoing development of the FREE and open source version of Radio Station.

You can also now list your Radio Station or Webcast in our new Netmix Directory. Submit your listing for FREE until the end of July 2020 and get a do-follow backlink from one of the oldest domains related to online music and radio today!

2.3.3.1 Bugfix Now Available for Download

2.3.3.1 Bugfix Update includes:

  • Fix to conflict with plugins using AJAX save_post calls
  • Improved accuracy for responsive table/tab Schedule views
  • Added color improvements to Show Shift interface
  • Fix to calculate Current Show (transient no longer used)

Thanks to Tony Hayes, who led the development of this release.

Thanks also to the following users for reporting issues in our Support forum and Gtihub Issues tracker:

astephens93
larryl79
hyde014
fv4s4e
KerryB1
pozitronios
 

View the complete Radio Station changelog here.

If you have any issues, please submit Radio Station support requests here.

For bug reports and feature requests, please submit to our Radio Station Github page here.

Support Radio Station by becoming a Patron. Your monthly contribution supports the ongoing development of the FREE and open source version of Radio Station.

You can also now list your Radio Station or Webcast in our new Netmix Directory. Submit your listing for FREE until the end of July 2020 and get a do-follow backlink from one of the oldest domains related to online music and radio today!

Radio Station 2.3.1 Now Available for Download

This maintenance and bug fix release is now available for download on the plugin page.

Among the issues fixed in this release was a conflict with Yoast SEO, a fix to ensure shows in quarter-hour increments display on the Master Schedule, and fixed conditions for Schedule Override time calculations. We also add a filter for widget section display order.

2.3.1

  • Update: Plugin Loader (1.1.1) with Freemius first path fix
  • Fixed: conditions for Schedule Override time calculations
  • Fixed: schedule table view – 12 hour format with translations
  • Fixed: schedule table view hour column width style
  • Fixed: javascript table/tab arrows to prevent default click
  • Fixed: undefined index warning when saving show with no shifts
  • Fixed: append not echo override date to shortcode archive list
  • Fixed: compatibility with multiple the_content calls (Yoast)
  • Fixed: reset to showcontinued flag in Schedule (table view)
  • Added: option to clear transients on every page load
  • Added: show avatar and featured image URLs to Data API output
  • Added: option to ping Netmix directory on show updates
  • Added: filters for widget section display order

View the complete Radio Station changelog here.

If you have any issues, please submit Radio Station support requests here.

For bug reports and feature requests, please submit to our Radio Station Github page here.

Support Radio Station by becoming a Patron. Your monthly contribution supports the ongoing development of the FREE and open source version of Radio Station.

You can also now list your Radio Station or Webcast in our new Netmix Directory. Submit your listing for FREE until the end of May 2020 and get a do-follow backlink from one of the oldest domains related to online music and radio today!

Partial Screenshot of Netmix Directory View for Netmix home page promotion

New! List Your Broadcast or Online Radio Station in the Netmix Radio Station Directory

  • Time Sensitive Free Offer

    We are excited to announce that we are offering free Directory listings!
    Including 30 days Dofollow backlink from Netmix.com and listing highlighting.
    Interested in more exposure and listeners for your Radio Station, for free?
    Simply sign up for an account and then click Activate Free listing!

 

When we started down the road of taking over the Radio Station plugin and it’s continuing development, lead developer Tony Hayes came up with a suggestion – “Why don’t we give stations the ability to list themselves in an online directory?” We kicked around the idea a few times and came up with a plan that would give stations (and webcasters and podcasters) this ability, by pulling Schedule and Show data directly from a Station’s website into a new Netmix® Radio Station Directory!

Why is this important? Today, Radio Station by Netmix® continues to be free, and we are committed to keeping it that way. While we hope to launch a Pro version and other Add-Ons in the future, as soon as possible, which can further boost the development of both the free and paid versions, we’ve already put a massive amount of time and energy so far just into updating and improving the free version for everyone.

We know and feel there is a lot of appreciation for these efforts from our community of existing Radio Station users! We think it’s time to ask for that appreciation to be shown financially also, and believe that the best way to do this is not by either restricting features or simply asking for donations, but rather, by doubling up on those efforts and delivering even more value! And so, we are now offering listings on the new Netmix® Radio Station Directory – allowing us to financially support our continued efforts to improve the plugin for everyone.

We arrived at this model by looking at what free plugin developers have done in the past. Often there is a one-time “Donate” button (eg. via Paypal) added to a free plugin, but this strategy has proven drastically ineffective because it is often ignored by users, given there is not much incentive when they already are getting something for free. This results in many free plugins remaining unsupported or not being updated, and often in them being abandoned over time. So we wanted something that would turn around this kind of lose-lose situation into a real win-win!

To do this, we arrived at the conclusion a more sustainable model is to provide a value-add benefit for subscription-based giving by offering a directory listing (and other rewards) as incentives for our supporters, similar to how many community-based radio stations offer benefits to their subscribers. We decided the Patreon platform was well suited for this purpose since it provides the ability to offer rewards in return for different gifting levels. As software creators, this allows us to more easily create the win-win situation we were looking for, where we can both provide further value to our users and receive the support we need.

Thus we have created a Radio Station Directory on the Netmix.com website! By becoming an ongoing Patron for the Radio Station plugin, you can get your Station listed in the Directory (which also means a valuable do-follow backlink!) Read on…

Netmix® Directory Listing

Since the major update to Radio Station to version 2.3.0, the Radio Station plugin now includes an innovative new feature to access all your Show schedule data via a Data API. Once you download the plugin (or update to 2.3.0) and go to the Netmix® site to register your support through Patreon, you’ll be able to list your station in the Directory and we’ll pull all your Schedule and Show data from the activated plugin on your site to publish straight into the Netmix Directory. It’s that easy!

This exciting development means new listeners will not only be able to find your Station (broadcast, webcast, or podcast) via Netmix®, but also discover all of the Shows scheduled on your station’s website! This is a major advantage for listeners in using the Netmix® Directory, for example, users will more easily be able to discover a variety of Shows in all of their favorite genres – not just via single genre-oriented stations as in other radio directories.

And of course, we will also be gradually adding improvements over time to the Directory over time in a similar way to the Radio Station plugin… We’ll be adding more navigation, filters, and search capabilities so listeners can find your Stations and Shows more easily.

Expanded View Screenshot of Netmix Radio Station Directory on the Netmix.com Website
Netmix Radio Station Directory (Expanded View)
How to Claim Your Listing

Become a Radio Station Supporter now by clicking the Become a Patron button below. Choose a Supporter Level. Then you can Signup to Netmix® here, connect your Patreon Account and then add your Listing. Netmix® will automatically detect all your Show information via the plugin’s in-built Data API, and display it in the Netmix® Directory automatically… putting YOU in the mix!

Please note, should you discontinue your Supporter subscription, your Listing will be temporarily deactivated until you resume your patronage. As we roll this feature out, we’ll be sure to have a huge list of stations in our directory, which can direct listeners to your site based on genres, languages, or Show details.

Bonus Listing Value!

Not only are you going to list in an advanced directory that listeners will find, share, and utilize to access all the stations using Radio Station, we also want to highlight that via your listing you’ll also get a shiny do-follow backlink from Netmix.com, a 25-year-old authority domain in the streaming media and online radio space. As you may already know, quality authority backlinks are important to your website’s offsite Search Engine Optimization and thus your website rankings. So adding your station to the Netmix can help drive listeners from searches as well as from the Directory itself.

Featured Listings and Sponsors

Want even more exposure and listeners for your Station? We’ve also added extra reward level options for a Featured Listing and/or Frontpage Sponsor Logo position. Featured Listings will get equally rotated top positions in the main directory as well as in the listing positions for their type. And to keep the Frontpage Logo Sponsors reward high value, we are limiting the placements for those levels, so if you want this option, we recommend getting in sooner to claim your spot so you don’t miss out.

If you’re interested in a Featured Listing or Frontpage Logo Sponsors placements, please let us know and we’ll help walk you through the process to reserve your spot.

Next Steps!

What you should do right now, is after you download the plugin and set up your Shows, signup for a Netmix® account via the Station Listing page. You can then click on the “Connect with Patreon” button. If you are already a Supporter then you can just log in to Patreon here, and if not, you’ll be asked to choose a level and add your credit card details via the Patreon interface. Of course, you’ll be on an honor system with what level you pick, so if we determine your site is Commercial, but you’ve picked Individual, we’ll simply contact you to ask you to change your supporter level.

Giving Levels are as follows:

1. Individual (and podcasters) – $5 per month
2. College (or school/university) – $10 per month
3. Community (not-for-profit / LPFM ) – $15 per month
4. Commercial (for profit) – $25 per month

Once you’ve Connected your Patreon account to your Netmix® account, you will be able to add your Station Name, URL, and other details, and the we’ll handle the rest! If your Station isn’t already added via this awesome WordPress plugin, then now is the time to make it happen!

More Surprises! Pro and Add Ons…

Remember, we are in the midst of developing Radio Station Pro and planning the roll-out of other Add-Ons for Radio Station, which will surely enhance the plugin further and provide new tools to help you run your broadcast, webcast, or podcast on your WordPress website. To get there, we need your support and invite you to become a Patreon supporter today to support Radio Station, helping to continue to make this happen!

Stay tuned to the blog for more!!!

 

Radio Station v. 2.2.7

2.2.7

  • Dutch translation added (Thank you to André Dortmont for the file!)
  • Added Tabbed Display for Master Schedule Shortcode (via Tutorial)
  • Add Show list columns with active, shift, DJs and show image displays
  • Add Schedule Override list columns with date sorting and filtering
  • Add playlist track information labels to Now Playing Widget
  • Added meridiem (am/pm) translations via WP Locale class
  • Added star rating link to plugin announcement box
  • Added update subscription form to plugin Help page
  • Fix to checkbox value saving for On Air/Upcoming Widgets
  • Fix 12 hour show time display in Upcoming Widget
  • Fix PM 12 hour shot time display in On Air Widget
  • Fix to schedule override date picker value visibility
  • Fix to weekday and month translations to use WP Locale
  • Fix to checkbox value saving in Upcoming Widget
  • Split Plugin Admin Functions into separate file
  • Split Post Type Admin Functions into separate include
  • Revert anonymous function use in widget registrations

Radio Station is a free, open-source plugin licensed under the GPL. Submit pull requests on Github.

If you love this plugin, please consider becoming a patron.

Introducing Radio Station by Netmix

In December of 1996, Netmix.com first appeared online as the world’s first DJ mix-show website hosting streaming mixes by the world’s most sought after DJs. In the March 20, 1996 issue of Billboard Magazine, Netmix was cited by former Dance Trax columnist, Larry Flick, as the “innovation and advancement of dance music on the Internet.”

Born out of my bedroom in a four-story walk up at 726 Washington Street, just outside of Washington Square in Brookline, MA, I would move Netmix from Boston to New York City in September of 1996 to partner with a dance music promotion company, with the goal of converging promotion and marketing with online streaming and distribution. While the partnership didn’t work out in the long run, Netmix survived in the dotcom 1.0 economy until it entered a purchase and sale agreement on June 1, 2000 with Polyverse, a youth-culture startup funded by investors in the gold rush of the early Internet era, which saw companies like CDNOW, MP3.com, and Psuedo Networks valued in the many hundreds of millions of dollars.

While I was negotiating with Polyverse, the Internet bubble started to burst. Fast forward to October of 2000 and Polyverse was out of cash. No one could raise money. The doors closed on new capital and thousands of startups on both coasts and around the world failed. It was, in no uncertain terms, one of the most difficult periods for founders and employees of these companies who saw their hopes and dreams fall apart when the Internet economy collapsed.

Over the next 19-years, I would hold onto the Netmix.com domain and keep the website active. In the late 2000s I launched the Netmix Global House Sessions Podcast, which is still ingrained into this site today (and for the foreseeable future). The podcast features my alter ego, DJ Tony Z, in the mix. But Netmix became a side hobby while I focused on working for various corporations and startups in New York City until 2010, when I asked my wife to move to Chapel Hill, NC for a job at the University of North Carolina.

In North Carolina for 9-years now, we skipped across the state; from Chapel Hill to Winston-Salem and now Asheville, NC. My wife and I adopted a baby boy at birth who was born in the Asheville area. My family became the priority while I also ran my WordPress consulting company, Digital Strategy Works. I had ideas for Netmix, but life’s priorities simply got in the way.

A few years ago, I got it in mind to host a radio mix-show on a Low Power FM here in Asheville, AshevilleFM. My friend, Phillip and I created the Asheville House Music Society and hosted the show on the station for about a year, but we had to put the show on hiatus. In September of 2018, we brought the show back on the air on another LPFM in Asheville, WPVMFM.org, where I volunteer as the station’s webmaster. While working on the station’s website, I noticed they were using a WordPress plugin, Radio Station, which was originally created by a developer in Colorado, Nikki Blight. The plugin hadn’t been updated on the site in a while, so I checked in on the WordPress codex to review the plugin and its status. When I learned Nikki was no longer actively developing the plugin and saw that there was an installed user base, I contacted her to inquire about it and let her know that I’d consider taking it over.

After a brief conversation, Nikki passed along the car keys to the plugin in early June (2019) and wished me luck. After 16-years of working with WordPress, I am now an official manager and committer of a plugin listed in the WordPress repository. But, I’m not a developer myself. I’m a product manager and entrepreneur with deep experience managing WordPress projects, so I needed help bringing the plugin up to speed. I put the word out in the WordPress universe and the universe returned Tony Hayes, an experienced WordPress developer living about two-hours south of Brisbane, Australia. Tony’s work includes http://wpmedic.tech and other plugins that check on the health of WordPress websites.

For the past three months, Tony and I have been working together on the open-source, free version of the plugin. We’ve also had a contribution from another developer working at a radio station in Virginia, who helped bring the plugin up to WordPress coding standards. We’ve made some improvements to the plugin and are actively working on building a PRO version with an audio player, time zone switcher, and a few other neat features. But for now, we’re tightening up the plugin and its core feature set.

We’re also looking at integrating the plugin with a few popular radio station automation software packages, like AirTime and LibreTime.

After 19-years of controlling the Netmix domain name and website, I decided on merging Radio Station with Netmix, which is why the plugin is now hosted here on this site and it will carry the Netmix brand going forward, along with all the bells and whistles we hope to add to it.

We’re always looking for contributions from the community. If you’d like to join in the fun, please do visit the Radio Station project on Github and take a stab at fixing something or adding something, then issuing a pull request. We’d love to get contributions from the radio station community supporting open-source projects.

I’m so excited I finally found and merged a worthy WordPress project with the Netmix brand. Over the next couple of months, you’ll see some changes to this website. It’s a work in progress and slow going, but we’re committed to advancing the plugin, building out a PRO version with additional awesome features, and figuring it all out as we go along. We’d love to know what you think of the plugin, so leave a comment on this post below. And, please do share this plugin in your networks, so we can grow participation and installs – that’s how this is going to succeed.

Is the free U2 album download from iTunes really that big of a deal?

Image of U2 - Songs Of Innocence White Label LP
U2 – Songs Of Innocence White Label LP

Are there worse things in the world than getting a free album from one of the world’s greatest rock bands to ever walk the face of the planet? Yes.

There are plenty of things worse than iTunes pushing a free album download to your purchased music bin. You can get hit by a bus tomorrow. Someone can mug you. You can lose your job. You can get a divorce. Your 12-year old can storm out of the room screaming, “I HATE YOU!” You can get kidnapped by terrorists and killed for the whole world to see, in the middle of a desert, which is then broadcast on YouTube. No, I’m not making light of that last one. I’m saying that is one of the worst things that can befall anyone. It’s horrific. But while we’re all texting and driving and complaining about Apple pushing a free download to your iPhone and computer, horrible things are going on around the world that are far more important.

Okay, so it was an inconvenience for you. Sure, it sucked up some bandwidth on your mobile device. Sure, it wasn’t easily removed. You needed a tool that Apple quickly provided after the backlash to remove it from your library. Yes, it’s taking up some room you thought you had and now you don’t, which prevents you from downloading some other crap that you think you really wanted, but you actually didn’t and you’ll rarely ever play whatever that was anyway. It’s really not you that I’m targeting with this post. It’s the media who are drumming up drama to simply direct attention to them and not the fact that Apple spent $100M to give away millions of downloads of a fairly good album to its customers as a thank you.

Let’s just take a chill pill and relax. No one died. Bono was close to Steve Jobs. Remember, Bono convinced Jobs to make a red iPod for his global AIDS project. Getting a free U2 album should be no f**** surprise then. Let’s all take a deep breath now. Inhale. Exhale. Good.

Okay, so you don’t like Bono or U2. You love the throat singers from Tuvalu. You cringe when you hear a U2 song. Well, you’re in the minority. If U2 is offensive, President Obama is Chinese. Right. U2 is not offensive and President Obama is not Chinese. Well, he’s a terrorist according to some Republicans you talk to, but that’s a story for another day.

Maybe Steve Jobs wouldn’t have pushed the album. He probably would have made it optional or done something else. Tim Cook is no Steve Jobs, but he’s no slouch either.

Can we just get over this U2 stuff today? Take a listen to the album. You might even like what you hear.

Why it took so long

Yesterday, someone posted a comment about my former employer, StarStyle, but didn’t use their real name, which leads me to believe they were afraid to identify themselves. Whoever it was actually typed in my name to the Name and Email fields. I moderate all comments so I didn’t let this one through, but I will write about it and if the commenter wants to come back and identify him or herself, then I’ll be sure to publish what they said with attribution to them.

Anyway, the comment from the mystery poster said, “Surprised StarStyle.com gave you a laptop. The execution was amateur and the music came out 4 months after our video release dates.”

Now, I’m not defending StarStyle here, because I have absolutely zero faith in their current management team, including their CEO, who I don’t believe has the experience or understanding of new media to have been placed at the helm of this company, but I digress.

I will say from experience that building the music division of StarStyle was a Herculean task that was one of the most difficult jobs of my life, and here’s why.

First, just to get approval to be on set for a video from a major record label was difficult enough. The major labels want minimum guarantees to allow web sites to air the videos. And, the artist has to convinced that the StarStyle opportunity is right for them. Once you’ve paid the minimum guarantee (one major label wanted 1 Million dollars regardless of how many videos we could get on set for) then you have to have someone at the label approach management to get their approval. The video commissioners are busy enough as it is. Understaffed with everyone working freelance and deep budget cuts (videos cost a fraction of what they used to), they didn’t want to take on the role of negotiator with management. So, you had to find someone at the label to be your cheerleader and make that call to the manager get your resource on set to track the styles. Then, while on set, you had to navigate through the hours and the participants to get what you needed, which sometimes took a bit of cunning and ingenuity to shake some information from the tree leaves.

Managers so tightly control the artist experience, their permission is critical to getting the access that you need in order to cover the video. Since posting the video on StarStyle and linking to commerce is revenue generating, it’s illegal in most states to use an artist’s name, likeness or image (or anyone’s for that matter) in commerce unless you get written permission.

There are some managers, like Mary J. Blige’s, who totally understand the offering and were willing to experiment and build on the results. They realized that artists are selling products through music videos and were looking for ways to tap into that revenue stream. There are other managers, like Gwen Stefani’s, who wanted a minimum guarantee to use her image on the web, above and beyond what we were paying her label to show the video. At that point, you have to make the call and decide if it’s worth it.

With Gwen, the ask was $500K up front. That’s a lot of money for a small company. From management’s perspective, a web company like StarStyle is building its business on the backs of their artists. With that being the case, they want to see those dollars up front in order to protect them from exposure and ensure that the companies they are working with have the resources to represent their artists correctly. This is a fact of life in the music business, which investors don’t understand or think will just go away because they have the next big idea. I believe that ideas are great…but they’re not worth anything to anyone unless you can execute on them.

Artist managers aren’t stupid. Many of these Internet companies are here today, gone tomorrow. With that goes your artists reputation for being tied to something that failed. If you are a manager for Gwen, you’ve got an artist who’s at the pinnacle of her career. Most artists careers excel for a few months to a few years at best. For every superstar, there are hundreds of failures. With so much competition and short time frame to make an impact, you’d better make all you can, as quickly as possible, so you can live a long comfortable life once you’ve left the spotlight.

Once approved to get on set to track all the styles, then you have to bring that information back to the office and for your operations teams scour out database of partners looking for exact matches. If no match exists, you go for similar and looks for less. That can take a few days to complete, depending on the number of resources you’ve assigned to the project and the level of detail you want to get into. Once that’s complete, you hope you have the right video asset from the label and permission to air that video on the site.

There are times when it took weeks for a label to deliver a video to StarStyle, even though it had already aired on MTV or BET. The reason for this is that those sites with large audiences, for example AOL Music, Yahoo! Music and MTV Networks properties, were given exclusive windows to air the videos before any other web site. Just as they get exclusives on TV, the same goes for the web.

Okay, so let’s recap. Once you get word that a video is shooting, you contact the label to make the request. The label has to get approval from the manager. Then, you have to get on set and work your magic to track all the products. After you’ve done that, you bring it back in house, find all the products you can through your partner retailer feeds and get those products and the video ready for launch. Once that is done, you have to sit back and wait for the label to finish editing the video, which can take up to two weeks in many cases. You have to wait out the “black out” period to allow a larger networks to air the video. And, finally, you have to schedule it internally so as to be able to promote it through your own channels, like email newsletter and home page promotions. We were sending bi-montly newsletters, so we wanted to update the site every other week with new video content. Sometimes, we would put up something on a Friday and announce it on a Tuesday. That seems like eternity in the music world.

Unfortunately, we had to constantly make decisions based on everyone else’s schedule. Unless we funded and shot the video, which we never did (we should have), we were the last people on the food chain to get access or anything else for that matter. And, truth be told, it’s not their concern. At the end of the day, the bottom line was: how is StarStyle going to make us money? On the reverse, we were providing a new revenue stream. It’s a catch-22 situation. If you don’t participate, then we can’t make you money. Which comes first, the chicken or the egg?

Now for my independent artist and label friends. Love them, but they’re not the most organized bunch either. For example, we did an Angelique Kidjo and Joss Stone video. It never aired because I didn’t feel comfortable putting up a video using Joss Stone, without her express approval that we could use her name in commerce. At the time, she was managing herself, so that conversation never took place, because after she did the video, she was then on tour overseas somewhere and couldn’t be reached. And, she was a guest in the video and not signed by the label. Even if they wanted to, they couldn’t approve it. One more thing was that because there was a social message to the song, which was about the disparity of rich and poor in this country, I wanted to donate proceeds to Oxfam, which is a charity I believe Angelique supports. I contacted the label to work out the details of that and nothing ever happened. So, like any job on this planet, getting something done can be quite difficult, especially given all the characters that have to say “yes” for it to happen.

Another problem was that most of the indy videos we did we were not on set for. My team had to send a request to the artist to determine what they were wearing. By the time we got back any information, the video was in the marketplace and it was becoming stale. My thoughts were that any content is good content. Let’s take the video and help the artist get some exposure, no matter what. If a video became instantly popular, like Brooke Hogan’s first video with Paul Wall, that would generate a buzz about the site and show that we were not only selling clothes and generating profits, but breaking new artists as well.

The record industry is used to doing one thing very well: selling records. In today’s world, there are so many other options to generate revenues. You’ve now got strategic marketing departments selling their artists image to car companies, hair and make up products, clothing companies and more. Anything to get a dollar in the door to help pay the high cost of artist videos, packaging, etc… There are so many variables in play that it is extremely difficult for a small company to come in and get content to prove the model, especially with indy artists who aren’t mainstream. They generated the least revenue for the site, but I did them anyway because of my personal commitment to artists.

Unlike downloading, for things like StarStyle, you have to be close the artist and a trusted friend. Because you need the data on what they are wearing, it’s not as easy as just starting an illegal p2p or music site and testing the waters by generating an audience and letting them catch up with you later. Doing something like StarStyle is probably one of the most difficult endeavors you can work on. Like People mag or TMZ, you have to have money and resources to make sure you can buy the content you need, package it and then distribute it. It’s no easy feat. There are so many people with their hand out, unwilling or unlikely to budge until the dollars hit the palm of their hand. That’s why providing a way for music fans to buy what they see in videos is so hard to do. If the labels had the right to say yes, then it would be a little easier. But artists want to control their image, and rightfully so, so where do you win here?

It took patience and perseverance just to get to the point that we got to, which was over 50 videos in about a year and a half, give or take. That’s more than ANYONE has EVER done and we were the ones to do it. It’s very, very hard to accomplish. That’s why when people ask the question, “why can’t I buy what I see in music videos,” they’ll learn the answer is, because it’s not that easy to do.

A final example of that is AOL. We went down the road to provide this service to AOL on 3 occasions. Each time we started down the path to success, the person heading up the effort at AOL left to go to another organization. The ball dropped and we had to start all over again. Such is the business development process.

I personally met with Kevin Liles at Warner Brothers who asked me, “why aren’t we doing this?” And I told him it was it in business affairs hands. Once he bounced it back down to them, they were so busy with other major priorities, that if StarStyle wasn’t giving them a huge upfront fee, it just wasn’t worth it to them to pay attention. With labels, you have to come with your “A game.” They don’t play the “B or C game.”

Wherever you turned, there was a battle to fight, a negotiation to ensue, a handshake and promise to make. It was and remains to this day, the hardest undertaking I have ever gone through. Even harder than Netmix in some ways.

Hope that helps explains things in more detail.

It’s Finally Fixed

Many of you may be wondering why I’ve been so quiet over the last few weeks? The answer: lot’s of reasons!

Okay, let’s start with the fact that my WordPress blog broke. That’s right, it broke after I tried using a plug-in from a 3rd party developer to backup my blog’s database. After I ran the backup program, I couldn’t (for the life of me) login to the admin to post anything new. Oh, I tried upgrading again. When that didn’t work, I started my online search for an answer. One I actually never found.

I spoke to php/mysql guy and he wasn’t sure why I was getting “500 Internal Server Error” warning from my server. He suggested I simply add an asterisk after the file name of a plug-in in the plug-in folder to see if one was breaking the site. Sure enough, the first one I changed, “database backup,” was the culprit. Well, at least I thought so. It did allow me to finally log into the administration tool to look around and see what else was wrong.

I went to check the plug-in administration tool, which quickly returned another 500 Server Error. “Huh?”, I thought. Maybe there was another plug-in acting up. I perused the window of my Fetch FTP client to see which one would I choose in the hopes that it would bring everything back to life. I added an asterisk at the end of the filename for the Podpress folder and voila, entry was granted! Podpres is an important plug-in that handles podcasting on the site. I’d received a recent email from someone on Going.com looking for a mix, which said that they couldn’t download from the URL. Now I know why.

While I was trying to fix the issue, my 2 GHZ MacBook Pro–the one StarStyle kindly gave me as a parting gift when they LAID OFF OUR ENTIRE MUSIC DIVISION in December (we’ll get to that later)–went on the fritz after installing OS X 10.5, also known as Leopard. Over the course of the last three weeks, I installed Leopard approximately 10 times after experiencing delays, crashes and other problems. I backed up (very important) and wiped my drive to reinstall. I tried archive and install. I tried everything! You can’t even imagine the frustration. So much lost productivity, especially in the middle of a job search and working on my school projects.

In the middle of the last install, the computer froze at 19 minutes remaining. I shut it down, which was a no no. When I booted it up, the screen showed me the dreaded flashing question mark and folder. A few choice words later, I finally gave up, jumped in my girlfriend’s Honda Accord, and rushed it down to the Genius Bar at the Apple store in the Westchester Mall. Passing off my problems to one of geniuses, I was hoping they’d have some magical solution, but that was too ambitious. I had to settle for sending the computer to Cuptertino for an Apple Care tech to have a look-see. They may have to swap out the the drive he told me.

My optical drive was on the fritz anyway, so I agreed to have that replaced at the same time. Fortunately, to do so is about $300, which is far cheaper than purchasing a new computer altogether. I’m also hoping they grant me some kind of credit for having this problem occur AFTER I installed Leopard, which I’d purchased only three weeks earlier. And, after I called into Apple Tech support and NEVER received a return call from Reggie (ext. 7390). Reggie told me he’d call me back as he’d heard there was an issue with MacBook Pro 2Ghz machines. He said he needed to check in with the engineers to find out more. After four phone calls and left messages, I gave up on Reggie and decided the store might be a better option. Reggie, if you’re reading this, thanks for your excellent customer support.

Now, I have my fingers crossed that I’ll get my work machine back and leave my music computer, which is running absolutely fine on Leopard (it’s a 2.16 Ghz) to my mix show production. Being a technology enthusiast has its ups and downs. Believe me, I’m well aware. Especially, after purchasing Adobe CS3 Design Premium so I could start on building out my new consulting site, Netmix Media. I don’t want that package or Office 2008 on the same machine as my music apps, so I’m biding my time until everything is back to normal.

As for the blog issues with WordPress plugins, I’ve figured that out too. I learned that there are a few plug-ins that are not playing nice with the latest WordPress upgrade. Those plug-ins are as follows:

  • WP Stats
  • WP Stats Widget
  • Adsense Manager
  • WordPress Database Backup
  • AMM – Amazon Media Management Extension
  • All in One SEO Pack
  • WP Ajax Edit Comments

Now, these plug-ins may be working for others, but they’re not working for me. I’m going to try to delete and reinstall each to find out which ones have serious issues. For the time being, I’m going to steer clear of these plug-ins, unless someone has any information to the contrary.

With things finally getting back to normal, I can start blogging freely again without worrying about “500 Internal Server Error” issues and the like. Stay tuned for more.