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iTribe, Therefore I Am...

In these fast-moving days, a person could be forgiven for thinking that they don’t really exist unless they have an internet presence. It appears that every second person has a blog, most of us have multiple email addresses, and some even live out alternative lives in role-playing games and other interactive environments such as ‘Second Life’. I, like many other people, maintain a website. It is largely there to promote my music but, I have to be honest, if I didn’t have music I’d still find a reason to have a website.

I love the internet. I have been web-enabled since 1995 or thereabouts, and had a website since around that time. I use the net every day; as a communication tool, for reading news & other information, listening to digital radio, shopping, as a problem solver and as a vehicle for my music. The web - like television, red wine and chocolate - can prove beneficial when used with care and intelligence.

I am always on the lookout for ways to promote my music – the internet has given me a better chance of being heard in this crazy, chaotic world. I have songs available for listening/download on a number of sites other than my own, and the latest corner of the internet universe to which I have appended myself is iTribe.

iTribe is a new way for artists to present their music to a wider audience, and allows punters to purchase your songs if they are so inclined.

My iTribe experience is as follows.

Something for nothing

Sometime shortly after the release of the SCALA ‘Over The Edge’, I received a letter telling me that iTribe was offering to host the David Robinson track that had been included on the CD, waiving the fee normally applied to those entering into a hosting arrangement. It sounded interesting.

Of course, life gets in the way and it was some time before I actually got around to doing anything. In fact, it wasn’t until August of this year that I managed to get organised.

The first thing I did was contact BJ Thomas, who heads up iTribe, and see if the offer was still there. I was happy to discover that it was. BJ was very helpful and provided all the information I needed. He was happy to answer all the questions I posed.

The process proved to be, when all was said and done, quite simple. In fact, it was all managed via the magic of email. I sent some information about myself, a photo, and the track ‘Better Go’ to iTribe and within a few days my site was up and running. I got a password so that I could modify and update my information and, in keeping with my experience thus far, it has been very easy to make changes.

The details

Sometimes I am a little anxious about uploading my work to third party sites, and I imagine that there are lot of others who are similarly wary of this brave new-ish world. I was happy to read that ‘copyright, ownership and control of the music remains with the artists at all times’. This is clearly stated in the material you receive upon signing up for iTribe.

Artists must be independent and unsigned. I suspect that applies to the majority of readers of this article.

Artists’ music is made available in the form of MP3 files encoded at CD quality 192 Kbps. If you can’t do this yourself you can send a CD to iTribe and they will perform the conversion.

If you are fortunate enough to be considered a desirable commodity by listeners, they will pay to download your music – they will pay 99 cents per song. Once the nine cent GST component has been removed, iTribe credits the whole of the remaining amount to artists – there’s no commission, administration charges etc – quite refreshing in this day and age. Artists will be paid monthly by iTribe once the total amount payable exceeds $20.

People can actually purchase (using PayPal) and download the music direct from your website via a link provided by iTribe. The link is included at my site – check out http://users.adam.com.au/drobinson/music/songs/songs for an example. It is fairly easy to insert the small piece of html coding (supplied by iTribe) into your web page.

For what I consider to be a reasonable fee, iTribe offers hosting packages of either 30 or 60 minutes’ music. This means you can make a whole album available for purchase/download if you desire.

If you want to see what an artist’s site looks like, go to http://www.itribe.com.au/artist/drobinson and have see what I have done.

Artists can choose to leave the service at any time. No hassles; just close the door on your way out…

Other cool bits

ITribe has a streaming radio service - you can access and listen to music with the click of a button. If you are lucky you might even hear one of your own songs being broadcast… Because iTribe hosts an eclectic group of artists, you never quite know what is coming next. It adds some interest to boring afternoons spent at the computer writing study assignments, job applications etc.

iTribe presents featured artists on its pages and rotates them often so you might catch a glimpse of yourself on their home page (www.iTribe.com.au) from time to time.

There are links to other Adelaide music sites, including the affiliated site adelaidebands.com which also highlights iTribe members. I have seen my own visage peering back at me when I have visited on more than one occasion.

Lord of the files…

I am very happy to be part of iTribe. Not only has it been easy to create my new page, it is also pretty cool to retain total control over my music and related information. With other sites there are often delays while photos are vetted, content is approved etc. Changes to my iTribe site have happened within minutes of me making them. And, as mentioned earlier, you can pull the pin whenever you like.

Now that I am on iTribe, my internet empire has grown a little, and I only hope that more people will listen to my songs as my music becomes increasingly available.

Check out iTribe and see if it suits you. Sure, you’ll most likely have to pay to join, but it just might be just what you’ve been looking for. If you crave more detail, you can find out more by visiting the iTribe site.

See you in cyberspace!

© Copyright David Robinson, 2006

Not to be reproduced without the permission of the author