One of the most interesting projects I have worked on recently has just been launched!
It’s called Bandcamp, and is the brain child of Ethan Diamond and Shawn Grunberger, both from Oddpost (which you’ll know these days as Yahoo! Mail).
In short, Bandcamp is a “free hosted publishing platform for musicians”, although there is much more to it than that, including…
- Design customisations and clean, SEO and user friendly URLs for every band
- Automatic transcoding of uploaded tracks to a variety of formats (including lossless)
- The option to give away tracks for free, or to sell them (at either a fixed price or one nominated by the fan who’s buying it, they call it “Name your price”)
- A stats page in the band’s CMS, which shows all complete and partial track listens, incoming links and the general state of the band’s internet rep’, whether it be blog mentions, reviews or who’s embedding their Bandcamp player and where.
- Cool music visualisations as part of their player (more on that in a moment)
My job was to help make the site even more unique (and sexy!) by creating a library of music visualisations – these provide some eye candy whilst you listen to tracks on a band’s page (or in their embedded player). We strived to avoid the clichéd, generic approach to visualisations (you know what I’m talking about) by giving the user something a wee bit special to gawk at. It wouldn’t be fair if ears got all the love!
Here’s a few quick screengrabs of the first 5 visualisations (more visualisations are on their way soon)…
The power behind the visuals is a customised version of the AS3 music visualisation engine I’ve been working on for some time now, which includes beat detection and a whole host of other methods for interpreting a stream, ready for visualising.
The guys at Bandcamp have been really supportive in allowing me to develop this library with a view to releasing the API in order for Flash developers to build and upload their own visualisations for use within the Bandcamp player.
Furthermore, because the visualiser has been a pet project of mine since the release of AS3, come December I’ll be open sourcing the engine so that anyone can build on it, or simply use it out of the box to produce some optical delights of their own.
Anyway, I’m really excited that Bandcamp has been unleashed on the public and I encourage you to check it out, especially if you’re a musician, or like music, or pretty visuals, or cool technologies, or great ideas, or websites…