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Singer Songwriter Contest – Tips and Suggestions

Attention Artists! Submit your ORIGINAL song to the StreetJelly “Singer Songwriter Contest” for a chance at prizes, industry recognition, and the opportunity to present your song to publishers. Create a video of yourself performing your original song, and the StreetJelly community will vote on the winners.

Music Contest WinnerHello Ladies and Jellymen, Frankie here!  You all know we’re having the songwriter’s contest.  Let me tell you a little more how we’re handling the submissions, what the judges are looking for, and what to expect from viewer voting.

We have a panel of six judges.  They include musicians, music teachers, music industry experts, and …well, me!  The judges will be picking ten finalists.  The StreetJelly community will then get to vote for their favorite from the ten finalists.

The judges will all be using a form rating sheet to assign points to various categories.  We’ll use these scores to fairly and consistently rank the Top 10.  Here are the categories:

  • Structure – Segments, components, length, and arrangement.  (10 points)
  • Melody – Is it pleasing to the ear?  (10 points)
  • Dynamic – The use of musical rise, fall, sustain, staccato to bring the listener “somewhere.”  (10 points)
  • Lyrics – meaningful words that make you think.  (10 points)
  • The Hook – Is it stuck in your head later?  (10 points)
  • Rhythm and Rhyme Scheme – The groove, the phrasing, the poetics and the feel of the song.  (10 points)
  • Overall Likability – This is the subjective feeling for the judge.  How well do you like it.  (40 points)

So when you submit your original songs, or anytime you write a song, keep all this in mind.  But you already know this.  Let me make a suggestion about the videos.  It’s perfectly fine to submit us a video you already have on YouTube.  (Btw, we want your link to your YouTube channel so you get the benefit of all the new viewer counts.)  Feel free, however, to make a new video and talk a little before and / or after your performance about the song.  You will make a better impression about your song by explaining the lyrics, the story behind it, the day you wrote it, whatever.

This is a great tip not only for the contest, but anytime you upload an original song video to YouTube.  Unless you have the fan-base of The Bieb, chances are few people will find your video and watch it for its merit.  But some people will find and watch the video out of curiosity.  You have a short opportunity to make a lasting impression about your song.

We all like art more when we make a connection with an artist.  Think about it, how many times have you watched a DVD movie that was only average?  But after you watched all the behind-the-scene extras and actor interviews that come with the DVD; you somehow liked the movie more.  Same thing works with music.  We like songs better when we like the musician.  Even taking 10 or 15 seconds to introduce yourself and your song makes a favorable impression on the viewer (and judges).  Makes them feel welcomed.

Ok, you get the idea:  being personable will help in the judging round, AND it will really help in the voting round.  The viewers and fans on StreetJelly will vote most exclusively by likability.  I hate to say a lot of this sounds like marketing, but it is.  However, marketing is a big part in becoming a successful singer songwriter!  Best of luck to everyone entering the contest, we can’t wait to hear …and see, all your songs.

 

Fix Crackle Bubble Noise with Older Version of Flash

Support Topic:  Sound Issues, Install older version of Adobe Flash

Scenario:  Viewers are saying there is a cracking or bubbling distortion in your sound, and you have Adobe Flash 11.7 installed.

Discovery: We’ve found that some musicians produce a crackling or bubbling digital distortion when using a dynamic type mic. These are usually the traditional music store microphones.  Musicians may not be aware of the distortion unless they are told by the viewers or listen closely from the StreetJelly test_broadcast page. The problem seems to have started with the latest version of Flash 11.7. It doesn’t work well with older sound/microphone drivers. The distortion was fixed by a number of our musicians by installing an older version of Flash.  Version 10.3 is a good version to use.

Note: DO NOT USE Flash versions prior 10.3.  They are incompatible with StreetJelly.

Before you get started: Check your version of flash.
http://helpx.adobe.com/flash-player/kb/find-version-flash-player.html

Uninstall Flash 11.7:
http://helpx.adobe.com/flash-player/kb/uninstall-flash-player-windows.html

Download and Install Archived version of Flash:  Choose Flash 10.3
http://helpx.adobe.com/flash-player/kb/archived-flash-player-versions.html

Direct link to Flash 10.3:
http://download.macromedia.com/pub/flashplayer/installers/archive/fp_10.3.183.90_archive.zip
This zip file contains all the different versions of Flash 10.3. You will run the .exe file for your specific computer (Win, Mac, Linux, etc). Instructions are included in the README.TXT file.

Final Thoughts: With an older version of Flash, remember not to automatically choose to upgrade to the latest version of Flash. Adobe will most likely popup notifications for a later version. Just ignore those.

Still have questions? Ask them below, or contact us at support@streetjelly.com.

Record your Performance while Streaming

Special guest blog by Tom Rule from Macon, GA.
Tom Rule

Tom Rule

StreetJelly is, of course, all about live performances. The user agreement even has a requirement to never use a recorded performance when streaming. But it says nothing about performing live AND recording the live performance! […….and even Frankie said it was OK!]

After getting a few StreetJelly performances under my belt, I began wondering if I could do just that – record a performance at the same time it’s being streamed on StreetJelly. I have a website of my own over at http://www.tomrule.info where things are for sale, and I thought a video might make a useful marketing tool [youtube, anyone?].

My parents would probably like a copy as well! They did pay for all those piano lessons……

This is one of those things that might be useful to know that (A) it CAN be done, and (B) HOW it can be done….at least on a Mac. [If you run Windows, see below!]

So the idea is to have ONE webcam streaming live out to StreetJelly AND have the computer taking the SAME audio and video streams and saving it to a movie on the computer – which you can then ship up to youtube, burn to a disk, email to distant relatives, or use the video to scare off small rodents and annoy your neighbors.

QUICK NOTE ON MY SETUP

I’m a keyboardist AND an audio guy, so it really doesn’t work for me to put up a mic when streaming – I get MUCH better audio running the keyboard into the computer. I’ll use a mic to talk to the audience – it and the keyboard audio feed into a little Mackie mixer, which plugs into the audio interface [an old M-audio Firewire Audiophile]. I’m using an iMac that is a couple of years old…..so it is NOT the “latest greatest”.

I’m using a Logitech webcam, although this would also work with the builtin iSight camera.

HERE’S HOW

You’re going to use your web browser and Quicktime Player.

1. Surf over to StreetJelly and setup your broadcast as normal. You can go ahead and start broadcasting, or just keep it on the test screen for now – it doesn’t matter.

2. Fire up Quicktime Player – it’s in the Applications folder.

3. in QT Player, select File–>New Movie Recording.

4. In my case it automatically selected the webcam. If it doesn’t, then click the triangle in the bottom area of the window and select the correct video and audio sources.

There are some other settings there as well … quality levels, where to save the file, etc. If you don’t know what something does do a test and see what happens.

5. Click record.

That’s it!

6. When done, click the record button again to stop recording, and then stop the broadcast. My version of QT Player will actually upload to youtube from within the application – so the performance can be on Youtube pretty quickly after it is completed!

WINDOWS?

From some cursory research it appears that there are a couple of programs that will allow this same thing to occur on Windows. You can either get a program [ManyCam is one] that creates a “virtual camera”….i.e. you select the “virtual camera” in the settings in Flash and whatever program you are using to record [your webcam probably came with some recording software].

In this scenario Camera talks to Cam Software [i.e. ManyCam] which then splits the video/audio out to StreetJelly AND your recording software.

It is also possible that you have an app like Quicktime Player that will work in a similar fashion as on the Mac – where you just fire it up, select the camera, and it works.

There are waaaaaay too many variations of Windows to even begin writing about it – my suggestion is to try something and see if it works. Just another piece of technology magic that allows us to create in our living rooms/studios/barns/wherever!

Thanks Tom!  Do forget, everyone, put your YouTube channel in your StreetJelly artist profile so we can all get a link to your videos.  ~frankie

Random Token Winners

New Feature: Random Token Winners

SJ Winners CupWe’ve added a new fun feature on StreetJelly.  Every time someone tips a musician, they have a chance to win back Free Tokens!  Yes, every tip is run through our Jelly Randomizer Engine to determine if that viewer wins free tokens.  The more tokens one tips, and the more often one tips, the better chances to win.  It’s simple – tip the musician and we give away tokens.

When a viewer wins tokens, they will see this pink message popup in the chat window.  The winning tokens will be added to their account.

Screenshot Winner Message

The Jelly Randomizer Engine will continually run different winning amounts, odds of winning, special promotion nights, etc.  You never know what you may win.  So check in with the site often, follow the Facebook page, and ask the folks on the site what’s new.

 

Watch StreetJelly from your iPad and iPhone

Q:  Can I watch StreetJelly from my iPhone?
A:  Yes, with the Photon Browser app.

There is a Flash compatible browser, called Photon, that can stream StreetJelly performances on an iPad, iPhone, iPod.  Below is a screen shot taken from an iPhone 4.  Photon is an alternative browser to Safari for mobile Apple products.  It works the same way as any browser:  just navigate to a website as you would on the regular browser.  Photon works for any Flash enabled website, including those with Flash games like Facebook.

The StreetJelly website is obviously very small on a phone, the better experience is on an iPad.  But this gives us good insight as we develop our mobile apps for StreetJelly.  It’s not just a matter of “shrinking” down a website to fit on a mobile device.  We want to make sure the experience fits for when you are mobile, verses sitting at home or work in front of a pc.  In the meantime, check out the Photon Browser.  Cost as of this time is $3.99 on the iTunes App Store.

Photon Browser for iPad: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/photon-flash-video-player/id430200224

Photon Browser for iPhone: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/photon-flash-video-player/id453546382

 

Taken from an iPhone 4 with Photon Browser

Taken from an iPhone 4 with Photon Browser

Let Flies be Flies

Jelly FliesFlies are our friends.  Of course, I’m talking about Jellyflies!  A Jellyfly is a term created by the StreetJelly community to indicate viewers watching a musician but not participating in the conversation.  They are just “flying” around a performance.

There is a great discussion on the Do’s and Don’ts blog post how to increase your tips while performing on StreetJelly.  This topic of flies is really a continuation of that post, but I think it’s worth to talk a little deeper about Jellyflies.

So here is my tip to musicians: Let the Flies be Flies.  Odd advice, you’re thinking?  Some musicians are great at engaging their StreetJelly fans and prying the flies out of anonymity.  But others try too hard to get the flies to talk.  There is definitely a fine line between being inviting and being too aggressive.

I speak from experience because I am a fly on the site sometimes.  I know, “how dare you Frank?”  Yes, it’s true.  There are two reasons why I end up being a fly.

  1. I only have about 5 or 10 minutes before I have to go do something (I have a crazy schedule).  I choose not to become part of the conversation because otherwise I’ll enjoy myself too much and never leave.
  2. I like to listen to the music while I work.  Again, I may be very busy and really have to get some work done – even at 2am.  I have to force myself not to look at the chat.  After all, StreetJelly is a music site, and sometimes I just want to listen.

I know that on a few occasions, I’ve heard musicians lay on the guilt trip pretty thick to get the flies to talk.  That’s probably not going to help get them to talk nor tip more tokens.  They may even leave the performance.  Performing art is a lot like marketing.  If a potential customer (i.e. token tipper) is driven away, they may never come back.

There are probably many other reasons why someone may be a fly.  As a matter of fact, StreetJelly was built around the fact to allow anyone to listen in, find great musicians, and jump in only if they like.  Think of a street musician, they could never possibly stop everyone that walks by and ask to see their identification.

You never know who is watching on StreetJelly.  If someone needs to be a fly for whatever reason – that’s fine.  Say, “hello.”  Remind them they can login to chat (maybe they don’t realize that).  And thank them for stopping by.  They will be happier if you did.

Thoughts from the artists?  How do you engage the flies?  Continue the discussion below…

How to Video – Simple USB Mic and Cam Setup

StreetJelly musicians Merv and Amanda from ImageAndFamily demonstrate the Samson Meteor Mic USB Studio Microphone and a Microsoft Life Cam for use on StreetJelly. It’s very simple to get a clean sound and clear video with these easy to use products. You don’t have to be a computer geek or sound engineer to get up and running quickly on StreetJelly.

 


Got any questions? We’d be happen to answer them. Add them below…