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WebRTC and Live Streaming

What is WebRTC and how it applies to live streaming in 2017?
Subtitle – The Rise and Fall of Plugins.

By definition, WebRTC stands for “Web Real Time Communications.” Wikipedia defines it as: a collection of communications protocols and application programming interfaces that enable real-time communication over peer-to-peer connections. That makes a whole lot of sense, right? In practical terms, it means that browsers and mobile devices can talk with each other, hardware on your computer, and other websites in a gee-whiz cool new way. This improves live streaming by making it easier to access your webcam and microphone, and efficiently broadcast crisp clear video and audio across the internet. WebRTC is easier to understand by explaining what it’s not – it is NOT a plugin.

“Howdy, plugin pardner.”
When the wacky web world (www) first started, it was mainly text, with some basic images and logos to make it look pretty. The “browser” was invented to read this text. That’s all it needed to do, browse and display “pages” over the “web.” Hence, the webpage was born. By its very nature, a browser can not – and should not – do anything but read a webpage and display it to the viewer. It could not in anyway have writing capabilities or access anything on your computer. This was a major security feature built into all browsers from day one. A webpage anywhere in the world, presumably even a webpage made by nasty people, could be read. But it could not access your hard-drive and delete everything you owned. Makes sense, right?! That very basic notion of a browser being unable to access any of your hardware, webcams and microphones included, made surfing the internet safe.

In the early days of live streaming, ‘er web-camming, we had to download and install specific software onto our computers to get video to stream. Adobe’s Live Media Encoder (FMLE) was one of the originals. Most of the webcam hardware companies, on the other hand, would also include their own software to get their cams to broadcast. These proprietary bundles usually only worked peer-to-peer with another webcam from the same manufacturer and same software. Sneaky! By the way, this was all before Skype and even the first generation of cam sites. Installing specific software on your computer (remember .exe’s?) was the only way this all worked.

Then along came the brilliant idea of running a mini software program INSIDE a browser and not as stand alone software. We call these gunslingers “plugins.” They still had to be downloaded and installed, but they were a powerful solution that allowed webpages to do more than just display text and images. For us web programmers, the plugin was our hero! We could now make a webpage, and an entire website, act like a real piece of software. We could change an “application” by the next time you returned to our website, without having you to buy or download an entire new version of our software. Oh, the potential we had with the dawn of “Web 2.0.”

Adobe Flash Player was one of the first and most successful plugins for many reasons. The Flash plugin did 99% of all the work we ever wanted to do in a website application. As a programmer, why would you write your own plugin to override the video-card graphics accelerator to smoothly animate a cartoon bird? This was already written and available in Flash, for free! It made our lives much easier. And it made your life better, too. Overnight, websites were no longer static pages, but full fledged software applications. Did Flash do everything we needed for programmers? No. But for the few things we needed extra, we wrote our own tiny plugins. The beauty of it all was that the plugins we created could live side by side with the main Flash plugin that did the heavy lifting.

“This town ain’t big enough for the two of us.”
[Queue the creepy western villain whistling]
As we all enjoyed this web gold-rush of possibilities, the scoundrels out there realized how easy it was to take-over-your-computer with a plugin. After all, a plugin is real software you downloaded from God-knows-where and you gave access to everything holy inside your computer. Yikes. And yes, real exploits existed in this set up. More and more, we learned never to accept a plugin from any website that felt shady. And more and more, Adobe released version updates to make their Flash player – the head-honcho plugin of all plugins – to be safer. To this day, Adobe makes a version update on a regular monthly schedule. It’s remarkable due diligence when you think about it.

The days of the plugin are nearing an end, though. History will recycle them off into the trash heap along with 8-tracks, betamax, and transistor radios. There is a better way, it’s called WebRTC and its brother HTML5. The browser manufacturers have agreed on a common protocol where all browsers, eventually, will be able to access certain hardware on your computer (webcams and microphones in our case) in a safe and secure way. They also will be able to communicate across the internet in a safe and secure way. All this behavior will be built-in and part of the browser itself – nothing to download and install. Plugins are considered so potentially unsafe, that the browser makers agree that they will disable all use of plugins in the very near future. WebRTC has been in the making for a number of years and will replace plugins. WebRTC is currently mature enough to use in a commercial application website …in Chrome.

Wait, what? This only works in Chrome? Not exactly. Firefox and the other main browsers are right up there in implementing WebRTC / HTLM5 with all its features and security. However, the web giant Google makes Chrome. They are the leader and driving force behind this (my opinion). What they create and perfect first in Chrome, like it or not, becomes the de facto standard. StreetJelly is re-writing its broadcasting software with WebRTC first in Chrome. The Firefox configurations and settings are slightly different. We want to make sure all is running smoothly in Chrome, then we’ll tackle Firefox and the rest. In other words, we’ll be broadcasting WebRTC in Firefox, MS Edge, and Safari real soon!

Don’t roll the sunset clip yet…
What about Adobe Flash? How can it go away? Half the web still uses it! That is very true. The browser makers are making concessions to our aging hero. Chrome has already blocked all old-style plugins, but has built in their own version of Flash player internal to Chrome. Whether you refuse to download Flash from Adobe’s website or not, Chrome has its own version already on your computer. Google and Adobe are in a close relationship to make sure it’s safe. Firefox will be cutting all access to old-style plugins by 2017. It, too, will have its own internal version of Flash like Chrome. But eventually, our hero – the Adobe Flash plugin – will fade away forever.

It’s a brave new world …again.

Frank Podlaha
CEO and Founder
…and Chief Propeller-Head

Ok, now queue the sunset…

UPDATE about Firefox: As of today, 1/3/17, Firefox is at Version 50 for the general public. In Version 52, they will turn off the old style plugins (npapi). But you will still be able to turn them back on in the browser settings (type about:config in the address bar). Version 52 is scheduled to be released March 7, 2017. In Version 53, they will turn off old style plugins completely! Version 53 is scheduled for release on April 18, 2017.

Are You Prepared?

Are you Prepared… at a moments notice to promote your music and advance your career?

Hello there, this is Frankie, CEO and founder of StreetJelly. I had the privilege recently to listen to a number of original recordings submitted to us that we are passing along to a local indie radio station, WPVM The Voice, in Asheville, NC. We put the call out for submissions in an e-mail to StreetJelly artists last month. Literally within hours, we had tons of music to sift through. There is A LOT of talent on StreetJelly, and we received tons of great songs. But here is one overwhelming observation that became apparent. Not all, but many fired off an unprepared and somewhat unprofessional response.
Are you prepared?Now, I’m not here to point fingers or single anyone out, but I want to raise the notion how prepared one should be when any opportunity comes knocking for your career (music or otherwise). Anytime in life when someone, some business, or even some alien offers a helping hand – make the most of that situation without becoming a burden to every one offering the helping hand!

In our invitation for original music to pass along to the radio station, we had a few specific requests. The main request was to send us up to three songs. Yet, we received numerous responses that came in the form of: “here’s a bunch of my stuff on xyz.com website. Pick whatever you like.”

It’s already tons of work for the StreetJelly staff to gather all these songs, listen to them, and package them off as a favor to another entity. Any extra time and effort just slows the entire process for everyone and will likely lead to your songs not being included.

I believe as a musician capable of writing wonderful original material, you should be prepared to showcase, market, feature, sell, and/or distribute your content to any and all entities that can further your career.  Here are some pro-tips we’ve come up with:

  1. Have all your music ranked by you in order of importance and genre. If someone ask for your “3 best acoustic songs,” pick the three you already have ranked. If they ask for 7, or 10, or 13 – you have that list ready.
  2. NEVER ask someone else to pick and choose your music. At best, that’s an indirect way to try and get someone to listen to your entire catalog. But if whatever song the listener starts with does not match what they’re looking for, there is a good chance they will never listen to (or promote) any of your music.
  3. Have all your original music professionally recorded and mixed (can still be done by you if you have a quality home studio), ready in multiple file formats (.mp3, .wav, etc).  MP3’s are the easiest way to send through e-mail as they are reasonable in size. Many e-mail systems limit attachment sizes (typically above 10megs) and will reject or fail e-mails with huge files (this generally applies to WAV or raw digital files). And WAV files are more true to the original recording, for when audio quality is of utmost importance.
  4. Have the same music available online to download from one of the major cloud share vendors; such as Dropbox or OneDrive.
  5. DO NOT send someone to an obscure website that forces you to create a login account, fight through tons of ads and questionable creepy popups, just to get to your music. (Yes, that happened to us. Horrible experience.)
  6. DO NOT send someone to a streaming site like Spotify, SoundCloud, or your own website with a streaming plugin to get your music. These sites are specifically made to stream and generally have no feature to download a quality un-compressed version.
  7. DO NOT send someone to iTunes, Amazon, etc. to purchase your songs so they can then turn around and help you promote your music.  That’s just wrong.
  8. DO have your website, EPK, and online presence (Facebook fan page, etc.) ready to go at ALL TIMES. If any of these items are not ready – you are not ready to present yourself to the music industry. As soon as you ask someone to listen to your music, assume they will (or whomever they pass your music on to will) look you up on any and every website they can find. They will pass over your entry when it is incomplete.

I’m being a bit harsh, but I am nowhere near as tough as any music label or A&R will ever be. Lack of preparedness suggests that the musician does not take their music career seriously and may not be professional enough for the service or promotion it takes to launch a successful music career.

IAAM Radio

Special guest blog by IAAM Radio DJ Taz. I keep in touch with our friends at It’s All About Music – IAAM Radio and the tireless work they do promoting Indie artists. I asked fellow U.S. Army trooper, Johnathan Hurwitz, a.k.a. DJ Taz, to share with us how IAAM came to be. Enjoy! ~Frankie

DJ Taz - Johnathan Hurwitz

DJ Taz – Johnathan Hurwitz

In early 2009 I served as a moderator on a drum forum and thought, why not start a forum about music with an emphasis on Indie artists. I really enjoyed it and then I met DJ Anubis from Hordes of Chaos via Metal Tavern Radio. He got me into internet broadcasting and so in 2010, Its All about Music – IAAM Radio was born. Now keep in mind, this is not my day job. It’s always been a hobby. My real job is no secret, I’m an Officer in the US Army. I have deployed several times and when I do, others have kept IAAM Radio running like my good friend DJ Anubis.

In 2010 we went full bull, Shoutcast Servers with unlimited storage and bandwidth, 24×7 streaming with programed play and it was fun, at first. Costs for what we had then to operate annually was just about $700. I paid for most of this out pocket. We tried various advertisement gimmicks but we wanted the ads to show on a noninterference basis, so the user experience on the web site was not hampered. The demand for our service was very high with bands sending us tracks to feature and listenership was up, but the dollars for support just did not come in. Sadly I was ready to call it a day. Then in 2013 DJ Anubis told me he switched to Podcasting and seemed to enjoy it more. After doing some homework, I drew up a new plan for IAAM.

IAAM RadioIn 2014 IAAM changed from a 24×7 stream to a Podcast and we had something a bit different. We decided to record the shows in Video. There are lots of internet radio stations out there but very few offer a live video feed of what they are doing. We revamped the web site, kept the name and put out a funding campaign to cover the cost of the site, its servers, and our url: www.iaamradio.rocks. Low and behold we raised the $350 required in about a month. Being upfront with our fans, when we hit that amount we told everyone, now some would say why, you could have raised more… True, but at that point all we required was the $350 and we wanted to establish ourselves as trustworthy. Though buying a new sports car and private island did come to mind, we decided nah. We also love to plug business and services that we find outstanding like www.StreetJelly.com The Jelly is awesome, a great place for any artist to perform. I love your site all kinds of talent with live bands streaming their shows to bedroom guitarists. The entire concept at StreetJelly is amazing. Folks have a great time there. I even performed a few times and enjoyed the experience.

You asked me what type of shows does IAAM have? We have three segments, Cool Breeze – Jazz, R&B, Soul and more. Indie Atonal – Pure Raw Indie Bands and The Blender – everything under the kitchen sink. What is neat about Cool Breeze and The Blender is we Feature Indie Bands with mainstream. We have had many listeners ask, who is that band? More than when we do Indie Atonal alone. We took a risk on this and it works well for the bands. We also list every band with a link to their sites so fans can support them directly. Many listeners of our podcast have purchased music directly from the bands we feature and I know the artists appreciate it. When we are live, we social shotgun blast across Facebook, Google Plus and Twitter that we are airing. Not just a band name and track but we actually cross link the artists on our social feeds with hashtags, and such so people see a snippet from their pages.

You asked me how do we choose what Indie Bands to feature? Simple, on our site we have an About Section. In short we are not Pay to Play, there are some Podcasters and 24×7 streams that do that, we don’t. All we ask is the band send us a shout out. We listen to their music and let them know we like it and if they send us tagged tracks with a shout out they are in, regardless of genre. The shout outs are used when we are live right before we feature a track. They are also used when we do Auto DJ. On our site we have a video and chat area where we re-broadcast our shows or simply run every Indie track we have at random. This is not a Shoutcast stream, the server simply hosts what we put in the player. Many get us confused with a 24×7 Internet Stream but we remind them we are a podcast.

Having fun with DJ Taz - Live!

Having fun with DJ Taz – Live!

Big Up to the Artists/Bands who sent us posters, items to give away etc. We know it’s tough for bands to break even and when we receive such items we are truly appreciative. Forgot to mention, we even have video shout outs and those are cool. We post those on the site with a full bio of the band, links to their material and social feeds etc. Fans have sent us shout outs as well, who can’t love those. Some have asked if we would add back the Shoutcast 24×7 stream? Tough question, and it seems for now no due to cost and time.

We also share other Podcaster’s shows like DJ Anubis’. If you love pure raw metal, Indie and mainstream, you must check his show out at http://djanubisreviews.blogspot.com/

You asked what is in store for the future? So far we are still having fun. Jan 1 2016 is our sixth year, hard to believe. As we get older, time and interests may change but for now so long as I have the time I will keep doing the shows. I’m not a prolific DJ. I don’t have that voice you can’t get enough of. I do have a passion for music, love to have a beer during the show and chatting with folks in the chat room while we are live. Taking requests is always fun and once in a while we even do live interviews or let people call in to say hello and be part of the show. My wife is super, she supports me and knows I enjoy it so much. My kids like it as well, I have had them on a few times, DJ Mini Taz and DJ Mini Mini Taz, lol.

Any advice for Indie Bands? Yes, always Tag Your Tracks (Band Name, Title, Artist, Album Name if EP put EP in there…), update your social feeds, even drop an update on feeds that support you so you get seen. Never ever attack mainstream. Why? Most if not all mainstream started out at one time or another as an Indie artist, so don’t be a hater. Hate the corporate machine if you like but in the end if your goal is to strike a deal and sign, then you too have just become mainstream. We have a few Indie bands that are Grammy nominees, signed and doing very well. What is neat about them is they still visit us and we really appreciate that. Lastly don’t be a hopper, pick a few good podcasts and/or Internet Stations and be loyal to them and they will do so in return. Just because you send out your tracks to 100s of places does not mean you are getting featured. There are online casters who have 1000s of Indie tracks sent to them and that means you are 1 in 1000s. We have 124 bands so far, that is just under 2,000 tracks of Indie we feature and yea we rotate them or play them if by request. We have a system that helps keep track of when we last featured a band. With 1000s that can get real hard to manage. If we ever got that big, we would have to re-look how we run the place. In the end, send away but at least pick a few and keep in touch with them.

What’s up with your mantra? Ah Keep it Real and Stay Crazy! Well that is me and my real job can be tense at times so it’s always good to step back and just take things in when you can. Be who you are, keep things real and let your hair down, have some fun i.e. stay crazy. On that note, thanks for having me, catch you on the playground.

-DJ Taz

Jonathan Hurwitz

The Power of Music Playlists

I had the pleasure last month of being a guest speaker at the Nashville 2015 Music Technology and Futures Summit. There, I saw a fascinating presentation by Jay Frank, CEO of DigSin music publishing. His talk was about the disruption of the market caused by Spotify. The article below is not a defense of Spotify, nor does it get into the controversy of streaming royalties, musician payout percentages, etc. It is about how the old ways are just that, old. Read on.
~Frank Podlaha, CEO StreetJelly.com

The Power of Music Playlists

Part One – The New Way People Listen to Music!

Playlists

Playlists

Guess what? Few people are searching for new music out there on the internet! Streaming music services like Spotify are transforming how everyday people consume music. “Playlists” are the new aggregators of music and delivery of entertainment.

A playlist is exactly what you think it is. It’s a collection of your favorite songs. Back in the 80s, we called them mix-tapes. Same thing. Unlike radio, or other music catalogs, playlists are not necessarily organized by music genres. Playlists can consist of any song you like. Heck, it’s your collection – add whatever list of songs you are in the mood for!

Two decades after my mix-tapes, we all learned how to make playlists on our iPods and portable mp3 devices. Now, online services like Spotify have taken that concept and tied it into a streaming service with the social component of sharing playlists among friends. Nothing really surprising about all that, yet. Here’s the amazing part, Spotify has stumbled upon a fundamental difference how the modern listener consumes his or her music.

Overwhelmingly, people do not search music sites trying to discover new music. Yes, when they will first sign up for a streaming service, they will search and create playlists of their favorite bands and soloists. But most consumers eventually signup or “follow” public playlists curated by others. On Spotify, anyone can create a playlist and share it publicly with the whole world. Playlists themselves get ranked in popularity. Those in the Top 50 playlists have 100,000s and even millions of followers.

Playlists are popular because they are not categories by music genres. Instead, they have become popular because they group music in how we emotionally enjoy music.

  1. Mood. So often we flip around the old radio because one station may not match our mood on each song. Sometimes you want Sunday afternoon chill music, or perhaps it’s an evening of love songs, or quick happy pop songs to get you through a long day at work. There is a playlists for each one of those in this new world.
  2. Activities. Getting ready to workout? Put on that techno-beat playlist. Going out on a Friday night, there’s a party dance mix playlist for that.
  3. Time of Day. Our daily schedules also dictate how we feel and what we may need to listen to. That drive-time commute to work each day requires a different playlist of songs to the same drive home in the afternoon. I can’t listen to hard rockin’ metal right before I go to sleep – it’s mellow music time for me.

The millions of users on Spotify generally subscribe to the popular public playlists to listen to the majority of their music. They are NOT searching for new music, and they are NOT purchasing the ownership of music. This is how playlists are changing the very nature of the music industry.

Part Two – Disruption in the Market

Online Music PurchaseOnce upon a time, we purchased music to own. We ran to the record store on new-release day to plop down $10, $15, whatever for our favorite band’s album. If you think of it, however, it was a risky purchase. We buy a dozen songs on that album, but in reality we probably only liked 3 or 4. Plus, we paid our money up front to listen to that music once, a few dozen times, or a few 100,000 times. We took the risk, not the record labels.

When the 99¢ download came out, not much really changed. Yes, we could buy one song and not an entire album of songs for 3 or 4 we liked. But we still had no expectation that we would listen to that one song for decades, or get tired of it after a few weeks. Is the value of a song still the same if we enjoy it 25 times or 2,500 times? Should an artist get compensated more if you play it more?

As consumers, we no longer have to take that risk. With music streaming services, we never actually purchase ownership of that music. We pay only for the momentary rental while we consume that stream. We pay through subscriptions or by listening to advertisers. But unlike radio, we control what we listen to. The musician makes his or her money over time, not all at once with an album sale.

When any market goes through a significant change in how its products are purchased, and when and what moods persuade a purchase; we label that change a disruptive technology.  Entrepreneurs like myself love disruptive technologies. The old businesses who do not embrace that technology, do not last very long.

Part Three – How to Take Advantage of Streaming Services

Yes, you can make money and become successful on Spotify and streaming services. The answer, you guessed it, get your music listed in popular playlists. According to Jay Frank of DigSin, music streaming royalties are significantly higher to any song once it gets listed in popular playlists!

I am not touching the controversy of how much a cut Spotify takes. But an amazing fact has surfaced that new, independent artists can easily make more money on services like Spotify than superstars on that same service. This secret may not last forever, but knowing this now can help boost any music career.

The interesting thing about playlists is that they can be created and managed by anyone. Some of the most followed playlists on Spotify are owned by everyday people who meticulously maintain their songs. How do you get listed in these playlists? The old fashion way, you gotta ask. Nicely!

The playlist owners of today are like the radio DJs of yesteryear. You have to sweet talk them into playing your music. I know, that’s a lot easier said than done. But with a little homework and interpersonal skills, you should be able to get listed in someone’s public playlist. Here are some tips.
Spotify

  • Get to know the playlist owner. “Follow” them on Spotify.
  • Look them up in other social media platforms and make friends with them there.
  • Don’t stalk them! (I know, I had to say that)
  • Learn what type of music they like and fill their playlists with. Don’t expect a classical jazz enthusiast to add your heavy metal EDM fusion tracks to their playlist.
  • Don’t spam playlist owners. Junk mail in any form is still junk mail.
  • Introduce yourself, be helpful, be friendly.
  • Finally, ask politely to include your song in their playlists. These are people, or companies run by people. Treat them as you wanted to be treated if you were in their shoes receiving a 1,000 requests a day.

At StreetJelly, we are also trying to embrace this disruptive technology. We are learning how to network and engage these playlist owners for ourselves. And, we have created our own playlist for StreetJelly musicians, click here. Remember, anyone can create a playlist! So please, help us grow our playlist to zillions of followers. No reason why our musicians can not benefit from more stream plays and royalties.

Become a user on Spotify and follow the StreetJelly playlist. They do have a free-level of membership. If you are a musician and have music on Spotfiy, please send us a message at: support@streetjelly.com, or share your song with us directly within their website (find us under Spotify username “StreetJelly”). We will include up to 3 songs from any of our regularly performing musicians in our playlist.

Who knows where this technology journey takes us? But we won’t sit back and let it pass by!  ~Frankie

Meet Chuck Foster

I love artist interviews where you get to learn about the person behind the skills.  Our Chuck Foster recently did such a TV interview.  It’s a great way to understand the passion and meaning behind Chuck’s art.  Enjoy the show…  ~frankie

Musician, artist, and teacher Lynn Charles Foster, a.k.a Chuck Foster, interview June 2, 2014, on Measure for Measure.

“Children of Rock & Roll,” “Life is an Elevator,” and more…


http://www.streetjelly.com/chuckfoster
http://www.lynncharlesfoster.com/
http://www.youtube.com/rockandrollgrandpa
http://www.facebook.com/chuckfostersongwriter
http://www.reverbnation.com/chuckfoster

Year Two – We Keep Rolling

Happy 2nd Anniversary, StreetJelly!  August 17th, 2014

Anniversary TwoOn August 17th, 2012, the very first musician performed on StreetJelly.com!  …and to quote a great lyric, “what a long strange trip it has been.”  Yes, year two is now in the books, and we keep on truckin’.  It has been an intense busy year.  The site has grown tremendously and we are most proud that we still keep it a friendly fun destination for pure live music on the web.  Here are some quick stats to date:

  • 70,000 unique visitors came to the site 300k times
  • 1.3 million page hits
  • 696,000 minutes of streaming video, 11,600 hours
  • 14,800 musical performances
  • 1,540 musicians on StreetJelly
  • 306,400 tokens tipped to musicians, that’s over ¼ million tokens – $50k
    THAT’S A LOT OF TIPS ! ! !

Read about Year One click here

Timeline Highlights

Jellypalooza 2013August 18th, 2013 – Jellypalooza Online Music Festival! We kicked off our one-year anniversary with the first ever truly Online Live Streaming Music Festival. 12 hours straight of continuous multiple streaming musicians.  The Second Annual Jellypalooza is scheduled on 8/31/2014, Labor Day weekend.

August 25th, 2013Meadow Ryan Album Release Party.

October 19th, 2013 – Big Deal Extravaganza!  Awardees of the Big Deal rocker pin (a 500 token value) perform special back-to-back shows. Clifton Printy, Image and Family, and Lana Mason.

Halloween JamOctober 31, 2013 – Halloween Jam!  StreetJelly musicians perform live shows in scary …and silly costumes.

Mini-Merv

Mini-Merv

November 10, 2013 – The Merv Roast  Amanda secretly plans a surprise roasting of Merv.  Mini-Merv looses his shins!

December 15, 2013 – Jelly Jingle  Oh, this was so much fun.  All day, SJ musicians performed Christmas and Holiday carols.  We are totally doing this every year.Christmas Jelly Jingle

December 31, 2013 – Another tradition continued.  Our second New Year’s celebration by SJ musicians singing Auld Lang Syne in every US timezone.  19 more timezones to go for next year.

January 28, 2014 – StreetJelly wins 1st place in the Tennessee Veteran’s Business Associations business plan competition.

Purple Lana

Purple Saturday

February 14, 2014 – Sing me a Love Song Night  Who needs dinner and chocolates when you get great musicians singing all love songs live on Valentine’s Day.

March 1, 2014 – Purple Saturday  Purple what?  It’s a StreetJelly thing, you gotta know the SJ anthem – Purple Rain.  “Purple Saturday” was our tribute to all things purple.  It was a ton of …uhem …purple fun.

May to July, 2014 – Street Jelly Media, Inc. participates in a media business accelerator program, MediaWorks, hosted by the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center.  This is behind the scenes stuff, but nonetheless an important step in growing StreetJelly to the next level.  It takes a village (not my words) to build a great and successful start-up.

July 2014 – The Great StreetJelly Guitar Giveaway Music Video Contest  :flatley!This was the battle of all jelly battles for a beautiful brand new J. Backlund Retronix R-800 guitar.  There was jelly-blood everywhere by the time the dust settled.  But only one musician was victorious – Alex Mason of Nashville, TN.

Here are all the great music video entries…

What’s Next?

Two big things coming for 2015.

  1. Website Updates: design and features.  Yep, we’re not going to keep it the same forever.  Stay tuned for pretty layout changes, and as always, new features.
  2. Mobile App.  Yes, let’s get our jelly-fix everywhere and anywhere.

The Hay-day of the Drum Corps

The Hay-day of the Drum Corps, by Frank Podlaha

GlocksWhen people ask me if I am a musician, I usually say, “no, I’m a music lover.”  Well, that’s not entirely true.  When I was a kid, I did belong to a few musical marching bands known as drum corps.  I played the glockenspiel, or “glocks.”  The glocks are the marching version of xylophones, in the percussion section.

When best describing a drum corps is NOT to think of a school “marching band” like you may remember back in high school or college.  Although we primarily marched in parades, a drum corps is really nothing like a school band.  The drum corps is made up of much fewer instruments.  The groups I belonged to were mainly fifes and trumpets on the brass side, and glocks and drums on the percussion side.  The repertoires generally consisted of patriotic parade songs, Sousa marches, etc.  For example:  The Stars and Stripes, Yankee Doodle, Yellow Rose of Texas, and so on.Drum Corps

Firemen’s Parades
I know drum corps exist all over, but in my day they chiefly existed as a local town civic organization with close ties to the volunteer fire departments.  I grew up in a small New England town, New Fairfield, CT.  Drum corps were big back in those days, 1970s to the early 80s.  At the time, the local fire departments would host the town’s yearly carnival.  Just like today, the town’s carnival was the highlight of the summer.  Where I live today in Tennessee, they call them County Fairs.  But back then, these firemen’s carnivals were always kicked off with the annual town parade.  Firemen's ParadeThey would invite fire departments from other towns (Connecticut and New York) to participate in the parades.  The parade itself was actually a competition among fire departments to display their best fire trucks and equipment.  Prizes were handed out for best truck, best marching unit (firemen – yes, they marched too), best drum corps, etc.  The fire departments would hire a drum corps to help them march in the parade by keeping time with a continuous drumbeat.  The New Fairfield Volunteer Fire Department would always hire the New Fairfield Sparklers Drum Corps.

Now you get the picture, this is where the fun starts…

The 70’s Were Crazy
I belonged to the New Fairfield Sparklers in the late 70s, early 80s, from about age 10 to 15.  The Sparklers were a kid drum corps, most of them were.  Later in college, I belonged to the Newtown Striders, a “senior” drum corps of adults.  The Sparklers traveled to and from parades in old Bluebird school buses painted in our colors.  Yes, imagine the Partridge Family bus!  Now imagine these buses filled with young teenagers.  The parade season lasted all summer.  At least two, sometimes three, times a week we traveled to a parade and firemen’s carnival in a nearby town.  It was heaven for a kid.  We were carnival junkies.  I think I’ve been to every town’s carnival in western CT and south-eastern NY over the years.

What a blast they were, too.  After each parade, the host fire department would offer free food (hotdogs), beer, and soda for those in the parade.  Most parades were evening time, and we’d get a few hours after the parade to eat some hotdogs and check out the carnival.  It was usually late by the time we all piled back into the buses to head home.New Fairfield Sparklers

They’d all get Arrested Today
Parents, cover your ears!  We did some crazy things back then.  Oh, I forgot to mention: we changed in and out of our uniforms on the bus before and after the parade.  Young girls and boys stripped down to their undies two feet from each other.  I know, what can I say!  I got my first peek at a you-know-what on the drum corps bus.

Firemans CarnivalThe free food and drink after the parades were off to the side of the carnival grounds, roped off from the general public.  We called them “bullpens.”  They were full of 100s of drunken firemen.  You do remember the free beer part?  It was also very easy for a crafty kid to sneak over to the beer side and grab a brewsky.  Uh-em, so I’ve been told.

After the festivities, we all loaded back onto the retro groovy buses for the ride home.  Dark buses were full of hormone filled young teens.  Oy vey!  That glass you hear clanking was a spin-the-bottle game rolling away as the bus made a sharp turn.

Times were definitely different back then.

Lessons Learned
Besides the things I can’t mention, the drum corps was the coming of age for us New England kids of the 70s.  We did learn music, marching, discipline (some), team work, and even a little respect for one another.  Drum corps still exist today, but I’m sure their hay-day has come and gone.  Thankfully, we all made it out safely.

More Testimonials

Last week we posted a question on Facebook about what you love about StreetJelly.  Here are some of the responses…

“And what do I love about StreetJelly?  It’s the great people on the site like the ones below.”  ~Frankie

Streetjelly is the best live music site on the web. Why? Because you can listen to all kinds of different artists from all over the globe with just the push of a button. It doesn't matter what type of music you're into, there is truly something for everyone. And for artists it is especially cool, because you can actually get paid just for performing right from your home. That's right, people actually can tip you with tokens that are converted to real money, meaning you can make money for your efforts. Whether you're a music fan that just enjoys listening to live music or an artist looking for an outlet to perform in front of a live audience, Streetjelly is the place to be. So don't waste any more time reading this...go to Streetjelly.com now and have some fun, because the people there are truly awesome as well. See ya soon on the Jelly!!!!!I was introduced to StreetJelly from my Brother Trevor Holmes ,..and since then I find myself going to the site on a daily basis. I have met SO many wonderful people on there and have never laughed so hard in my life. I not only get to hear Great Musicians play daily,.. but can just be myself and have intelligent conversations in chat while quality Music plays wether covers or originals. I feel very comfortable here playing and also listening . I tell all my Friends, Family & fellow Musicians about it so they can enjoy what I have been honored to enjoy. A quality LIVE webcast sight. I try to send out links on social media to bring other people in to see what they are missing. I don,t always use jelly on my Hot Peanut Buttered toast,...but when I do,...I use " StreetJelly " lol Long live StreetJelly ! Streetjelly is the most awesome site for both musicians and fans alike!. It gives musicians the opportunity to hone their trade in a relatively safe environment. It give fans the opportunity to discover new music and to see live shows of artists they like no matter where in the world that artist is based.My family and I are 100% addicted to Streetjelly. It is a great outlet for us to share the music we love with others. It has also be instrumental in helping my son,Robert, to come out of his shell and interact on a social level with amazing people across the globe. We absolutely adore Streetjelly and wish this great site nothing but the best. Streetjelly ROCKS!!!!!!Streetjelly is the best experience I've had. There are so many talented performers. And really once you've tried one your hooked. Its so much more than just listening. Once you listen You really become a part of a group of friendly people, that is more like a family.I love Streetjelly for so many reasons! But my top two would probably be, I get to share my talent in a fun and easy way and that I have made so many huckleberry friends and almost every show I make at least one new friend WHY I LOVE STREETJELLY? EXCELLENT MUSICAL ARTIST COMMUNITY, RECEPTIVE AUDIENCES, PLUS EXCELLENT INTERNET INTERFACE. STREETJELLY PROVIDES HIGH QUALITY AUDIO AND VIDEO, ALONG WITH FAMILY-FRIENDLY CHAT.

Always would love to hear more! And don’t forget to Like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.

With a Little Help from me Friends

FriendsWe live in interesting times.  Anyone with a few free computer programming tools can create an internet company.  Anyone with a guitar and webcam can broadcast their music to the world and reach millions.  Oops, did I just peg the Bullsh!t Meter?  I did.  While those statements are technically true, they are extremely hard.  Extremely hard!

It’s so hard, we often think it is purely a one-in-a-million chance to make any headway in this world.  Reality TV shows like The Voice and SharkTank give us this sense that we have to “win” our way to the top with luck.  Having great luck does help, and most humble, successful people will tell you that luck did play a major part in their accomplishments.  But I also believe helping-others-to-the-top exposes us to the best opportunities …and is the most satisfying way to get through our busy lives.

It’s really simple, when you can help another person – just do it.  It doesn’t mean you have to fall over everyone you meet (people will think you’re creepy), nor does it mean you have to give-away every product or service you sell for free (people understand you have to make a living, run a business, obey your boss).  But it means a simple gesture of support, an email or phone call to a new contact, or even a purchase of a product or gift can make all the difference in the world to someone.  StreetJelly people are the BEST at this! <3

Yes, I’m starting to sound a bit preachy – but it’s something I try to do as often as possible in my tech world and, of course, on StreetJelly.  Let me tell you about the community I live in and the support StreetJelly gets.  I live in Knoxville, TN, a medium sized city in the foothills of the great Smokey Mountains.  Three main industries prevail in the area: the Oak Ridge National Laboratories (technology/engineering), the University of Tennessee (education/research), and Media/Entertainment.  After the big cities like New York, LA, etc., Knoxville is the 5th or 6th largest city in media and entertainment.  Most of your cable TV programming comes out of companies in Knoxville like HGTV, the Food Network, and so on.  It’s a great place to live and work.

We also have a thriving entrepreneur community supported greatly by these industries (see more about the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center).  As a young start-up business, StreetJelly receives support from a slew of these organizations.  It’s the “rising tide lifts all boats” thing.  This support system works not because of some mandated budget by any one organization, but because the folks involved enjoy (as much as I do) to help others succeed.

LineSharkAudio.com

LineShark Audio

I tell you all this because in the coming weeks, StreetJelly is going to do its part and help promote another music start-up from Knoxville.  The company is LineShark.  It’s a new business where a pair of engineering geeks (I say that affectionately) and part-time musicians have invented a cool universal connector device.  It allows musicians to plug their instrument into an iPad and perform LIVE music back out to an amp with a full studio console of affects.  Yes, Androids work too, but most of the cool music apps are on the iPad.

LineShark is in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign, set to end April 24th, 2014.  We are going to host a “Kickstarter Party” on StreetJelly, April 9th, to help promote their venture.  The actual event will be held at the entrepreneur center, downtown Knoxville.  We will stream a live demo of the product on StreetJelly, plus have guest musicians perform with the device.  It will be a hoot.  It’s the least we can do!!!

~frankie, a.k.a. The King of StreetJelly

ps – Be on the look out for more fun StreetJelly partnerships with local music businesses.