#HowWeListen – Marc Brown

December 10, 2018 Byta #HowWeListen

How We Listen is an interview series where we interview artists and everyone else working in music about how they find and listen to music, new and old.


Who are you?
Marc Brown

Where are you based?
Gothenburg, Sweden

Where do you work? What do you do?
I’m the founder of Byta https://byta.com

What are you listening to?
New Skee Mask, Cloud Nothings and Daniel Avery LPs. New Mary Lattimore is beautiful. Plus a little Gill Scott Heron and as always some early Guided By Voices for good measure. Been revisiting Palace Music again recently, since Drag City records are now on streaming services. Honestly though, still listen to Ride The Lightning a least once or twice a week.

How do you find new music?
Via friends, like it always has been but now it happens online. I found out about Rolling Coastal Blackouts via @wichitarecs insta. Lots of Facebook. Used to like Spotify’s Discover Weekly but that got pretty predictable pretty fast. Four Tet’s playlist is exceptional. Plus always try to remember to scan Mix Mag’s “Best New Techno”. Jay from Sloan’s “the Jaylist” too.

I still check records via local promoter’s gig listings a fair amount. If I hear about a new record or band I Youtube it first. If I am going to check something out digitally I prefer the visual element instead of Spotify (only service I subscribe to) which gives me zero vibe around the band/artist. Even if I can’t hold it in my hand I still want some sort of visual context.

I still check P4K reviews but purely for the score and solely out of habit. I read longform articles about music but never reviews. Used to buy and read Sonic Magazine here in Sweden but not sure if they even publish the physical magazine anymore? Good Spotify playlists though.

What formats do you usually listen to? LP, CD, Cassette, Digital, Streaming Service and why?
My stereo and records have been in storage since 2016 so I listen 100% digitally. I ripped then sold all my CDs back in London anyway so when someone gave me a CD last year and I had no idea what to do with it.

Have not bought a record in a record store in years. Plus, no record player means no mail order vinyl either sadly.

Where do you do most of your music listening?
When I was a radio plugger it was pretty easy to listen to music 8-10 hours a day. For some reason now I can’t seem to listen when I work. So pretty much exclusively listen to music when walking. Aside from when I am watching live stuff Youtube.

How do find and listen to pre-release music?
My artist and label friends send me a lot of early records via Byta, PR types usually via Byta or other “watermark promo services”. Otherwise, I’m not in a rush to hear everything right away so generally happy to wait until it’s on Spotify.

What are your frustrations with listening to music digitally? Any benefits?
Listening only digitally it’s pretty noticeable how ephemeral everything actually is now. Most of the time it’s not a problem but other times it has weird effects. For example someone passed me a private Soundcloud link of that last Ariel Pink record and I remember liking one track in particular but didn’t register the name. Cut to listening to the album on Spotify and slowly realising that song disappeared at some point. Was it on the private streaming link but then not on the actual release or did it get pull off Spotify after release?! Either way I can’t find the private listening link again so it’s like the song never existed! One point in favour of physical advances, or ripping a stream depending on how you see things.

I basically only use iTunes to listen to the odd record I own though which doesn’t exist on Spotify, say a couple of Built To Spill albums or Dre’s The Chronic.

How do you keep track of everything you are listening to?
Short answer is I can’t keep track. I stream anything I receive via Byta because I can actually find it in my account. Seems all the downloads (Watermark Services, Dropbox, WeTransfer) I receive get moved to a folder to be added to iTunes at some point in time yet which never comes.

I like deleting my Spotify app and re-downloading things again over time to avoid listening to the same records over and over. I share Spotify links a fair amount but mostly just tell people to google shit. Again same as it was before, just digitally,

Do you tip other people off to new music? How?
I share Spotify links a fair amount but mostly just tell people to google shit. Again same as it was before, just digitally.

Anything you want to “promote”?
My friend Nicholas Faraone’s band Barbarisms, Silver Jews vibes. Viagra Boys live. Both are from Stockholm. I know of zero new Gothenburg bands.

Private Sharing Links Update

December 4, 2018 Byta Announcements, Features


Announcing Byta’s Universal Links

Byta is the audio platform for everyone working in music today. From the newest of artists to the largest record companies in the world.

We make this possible by ensuring everyone can privately share their music the way they want, with share settings they control.

To further that goal we are announcing Universal Links.

Think Private Soundcloud Links but without the ads, better streaming security and the option to allow downloads without recipients needing to log in. Simple as that.

As part of this upcoming release we are updating the names of each type of Sharing to better reflect the unique properties offered by each type of private streaming link.

Direct:

Each trackable link is sent directly to one or more users via their email address

For Users Of: File Transfer Services or Watermark Music Promotion Services
Best For: Higher security releases, where you are targeting certain people and/or sharing pre-requested music direct to individual recipients

Universal Links:

Your Universal Link is sent to you via email, pass to others for further sharing to their contacts

For Users Of: Private Soundcloud Links
Best For: The perfect one listening link solution when sharing single tracks or albums more widely, instead of sending a Soundcloud link for streaming and a separate link to download the audio file

Protected Links:

Your password Protected Link is be sent to you via email, pass to others and audio will immediately appear in their contacts account once they click on the link and login

For Users Of: Watermark Music Promotion Services or Box / Dropbox Password Protected Shared Links
Best For: Passing a link in email or over chat yet need to retain the same level of tracking and security offered when sharing a Direct Streaming Link

Mailchimp:

Your Mailchimp embed code is sent to you via email, for pasting directly into your Mailchimp campaigns

For Users Of: Mailchimp for their music marketing
Best For: Anyone who is looking to embed and track audio in their Mailchimp campaigns as well as managing one contact mailing list

Users should start to see the new Share page dropdown options in early January.

Announcing Generic Links

August 8, 2017 Byta Announcements, Features
byta generic links

 

Byta’s genius comes from the fact anyone can send & receive digital audio any way they want. Any combination of single tracks and/or albums, in any file format with share settings Senders control.

Currently users Share directly to others via our in-app Share page or via our Mailchimp integration. That really isn’t ANY way they want now is it?

In reality HOW people share is as different as WHAT they share, which is why we are launching Generic Links.

From today everyone from the smallest of artists to the biggest companies in the world can create a Generic Link. Easily shareable in email or via messaging services – iMessage, Facebook Messenger, Skype, etc.

No matter what’s being shared – mixes direct from the studio or albums requiring the tightest security possible, they all come in one simple shareable link.

Generic Links: Better For Both Senders & Receivers

We’ve been pretty clear about our reasoning behind Byta’s Short Message. That’s why Generic Links are also the perfect solution for users looking to Share additional details along with their link.

Lastly, Generic Links greatly benefit recipients. Receiving multiple links from different services based on sender’s file type and security preference is all too common and causes confusion. Byta’s Generic Links however, behave in exactly the same way every time, irrespective of security preferences and share settings.

Generic Links are live for all accounts.

Byta, one service built for everyone working in music today.

Announcing Teams Free Accounts + Team Restrictions

May 6, 2017 Byta Announcements, Features
Teams Free and Restrictions
Teams Free Account

Byta is unique in allowing our users to both send & receive from their own personal account.

Team Accounts enable users to upload and share audio between groups of individual users of any size – from 2 to 200, and beyond.

As more and more companies move to Teams we’re meeting users with different needs. For example those who only upload or just login for listening purposes, instead of actively Sharing.

This is why today we are launching Teams Free Accounts together with Team Restrictions.

Byta’s Teams Free is exactly as it sounds, a Free version of the Team Account for users who don’t need to Share.

Team Restrictions

As Teams get larger communication about which albums or tracks are for sharing and in what format becomes even more complex.

Internal Listening, the simple act of listening to new records and new mixes is equally complex for larger Teams.

Now with the click of a button uploaders and Admins may “Prevent Sharing” on any Card as well as apply any Restrictions they would normally add to a Share.

No more swapping Dropbox or Box links, downloading WAVs then importing to iTunes. No more internal Sharing of watermark links via email. No more external Sharing of records too early by mistake.

Teams Free and Team Restrictions – cleaner, faster and more secure Internal Listening.

Teams Free Account upgrades are available on request. Contact us to learn more.

Byta Loves Mailchimp – Integration Update & New Features

August 2, 2016 Byta Announcements, Features
Byta Loves Mailchimp

 

We’ve kept quiet about our Mailchimp Integration since launching it in beta.

Still, Byta is the only service offering senders complete control over the look and feel of their mailouts while maintaining security.

Now finally the last set of changes we have been dying to make are live:

  • Byta reconfirms embedded audio and API connection when previewing from Mailchimp
  • One click importing of your Mailchimp Lists into Byta
  • Email confirmation when adding or editing your Mailchimp API

These improvements and new features ensure securely sharing Byta audio in Mailchimp campaigns is as easy as possible.

Sending is only half of the story

We listen to recipients and consider all features from their point of view. We also educate senders on what recipients want, or more importantly what they don’t want!

Take PR mailouts. Traditionally announcements are sent in Mailchimp and a secure audio link in an email following from another service. More work for the sender, two differently styled emails for the recipient.

Sharing Byta audio in Mailchimp means less email and more consistent styling, which makes reading and clicking to listen is as simple as possible. When receiving 100s of emails a day those numbers add up.

Not to mention recipients have the option to receive audio direct to their own Free Account on web and on iOS.

With that we’re confident is saying Byta’s Mailchimp Integration is the best experience for recipients we’ve ever seen.

Understanding Byta’s Short Message

May 11, 2016 Byta Features
Byta's short message

 

“any chance we could get an extension on the 140 character limit in the message or is that kept minimal for a reason?”

– Byta’s first piece of user feedback

 

Yes, Byta messages are short for a reason.

Recipients repeat the same frustrations to us and it’s never a lack of words in emails.

In fact the opposite is true, they want a short message with a clear link to stream or download.

Notifications vs Conversations
Byta’s announcement emails are notifications the sender has shared audio with you. Same as Facebook, Soundcloud, WeTransfer or any other service highlighting an event and prompting you to take action.

As recipients sign up to receive to their own Free Byta Account they’ll be seeing your messages not only on email but also in their browser. Our upcoming iOS app makes listening even easier though messages will be displayed across even smaller screens. Plus, as users opt for push notifications reliance on email notifications decreases even further.

In short, too much text in an announcement email means information could be overlooked.

Notifications, no matter how long or short the message, are not the best place for detailed information. Conversations via personal email, message, phone or face to face, will always be more effective.

Mailchimp = Total Control
Mailing list emails are equally as important as notifications and conversations which is why Byta integrates directly with Mailchimp. We are the only service offering senders complete control over the style and length of their mailouts across whole campagins, instead of announcements via one service and shared audio via another.

Artist Account Pricing & Launch

April 20, 2016 Byta Announcements
artist_launch


We announced our Artist Account Beta quickly after launch and highlighted some artist feedback soon after. Since then we’ve released features for PRs and larger groups of users.

We’re back focusing on artists and those who work closely with them, studio people, managers, a&r, etc.

Part of the magic is all different types of users think Byta was built especially for their own needs. In fact around our Team Account announcement most users signing up were not labels or larger companies but artists and studio people, desparate for an alternative to dropbox, wetransfer or private soundcloud links.

That wasn’t an anomaly, our user base has been like that all along. The largest and most respected labels in the world share upcoming releases alongside artists and studio people swapping mixes of their unfinished work.

Byta is for everyone working with music today but until now our pricing focused on the heaviest users. Our Artist Account pricing will make Byta even more inclusive:

$15 USD
£10 GBP
€15 EUR

Check our Pricing and Features pages for more details.

In the meantime there’s still about 6 weeks to go until launch so get your first month free by joining the beta.

Team Accounts: Share, Forward, Collaborate

January 13, 2016 Byta Announcements
Team Account

 

Team Accounts are launching in March, compare pricing.

In our post announcing Teams we explained why current sharing options for groups (of any size) are woefully inadequate, for everyone from A&R departments, to small labels and promotion companies.

Pricing and features are important though Byta’s Team Accounts are about saving everyone time. Specifically time wasted deciding who’s responsible for sharing an album or track with the intended recipient(s). Then all the back and forth on which service is right for sharing in the correct format and required security settings.

Teams Benefit Everyone

Groups of users, of any size and configuration, can access and Share audio from across their whole team, direct from their own personal accounts. Byta’s unique Forward (FWD) feature enables Team members to Forward audio to others outside their team with Share settings they control.

Projects involve a web of interconnected people all over the world making their own unique contribution. Teams offer a uniquely fast, efficient and flexible way to collaborate while allowing all users complete control over their own work.

This ensures each and every recipient can listen in the cleanest and simplest way, the beginning of any successful record.

Artist Beta Feedback: Byta’s 3 Key Features

November 12, 2015 Byta Features
Artist Beta Feedback

 

Our Artist Account beta is a great opportunity to learn why more and more artists are using Byta to send & receive their digital audio.

Clearly there is growing disillusionment with private sharing via “social” audio platforms such as Soundcloud or Bandcamp. More surprising are those who, until recently, still shared tracks as email attachments or used generic ‘file sharing’ services lacking streaming support.

Everyone from Free Account users to those who’ve joined our Artist Beta, repeatedly highlight three ways Byta improves their experience of exchanging audio.

Audio Quality

This is frustration number one for obvious reasons. Artists are stuck in the middle when privately sharing their audio online. Generic file sharing services don’t offer streaming while social audio platforms offer only poor quality streams.

Byta streams audio at 320kbps (compared to Soundcloud and Bandcamp at 128kbps) which Spotify somewhat oddly refers to as “high quality” streaming.

We have been exploring lossless streaming though at this time 320k is the best balance of quality vs user experience.

WAV Support

Byta supports multiple file formats including the reading and writing of WAV metadata, ensuring the information you see on your screen is exactly what is embedded in your files.

Byta’s Free Account is the perfect solution to quickly swap tracks or review multiple edits and mixes. Stream audio from your own account and avoid the ‘click through/download/unzip/import to iTunes/play’ routine we have become accustomed to.

We support both WAVE and BWF, read more on the Gearslutz forum.

Security

Artists are very focused on security, just not in the same way a label might be. They are most concerned with ensuring their unfinished audio reaches the intended recipient only, in the format they intended, and preventing sharing on.

Byta’s Account Detect offers all users the flexability to decide the level of security that is right for them. Even our Free Account offers stream only sharing, with 7D expiry familiar to users of services such as WeTransfer.

Get in touch to join Byta’s Artist Account beta and lend your voice to how we improve Byta for artists.

Teams Preview – Forward (FWD)

October 21, 2015 Byta Announcements, Features
Teams Preview - Forward

 

So far we’ve focused on how Byta is improving the exchange of digital audio for individual users, PRs and Artists to name a few. Even our unique approach to pricing is user focused.

As we move towards launching our Team Accounts we’re shifting the discussion to how Byta improves collaboration for groups of individual users.

The status quo of audio sharing for organisations is archaic and unimaginative. Keeping audio “secure” usually involves anyone and everyone logging in to share from one central account or handing over contact lists for audio to be shared on their behalf. Both ridiculous and infuriating at the same time.

Who really wants to work like that? Time for change.

Byta’s Team Accounts link individuals together with shared storage. Users still send and receive from their own personal account yet have access to audio others on their team have uploaded.

So where does that leave those who collaborate and share audio from many different partners or teams?

Byta’s Forward (FWD) feature is the solution to your problems

Forward (FWD) enables Team Account users to forward audio to another user’s media while setting sharing restrictions in the process. That user will then be able to share the audio to their contacts, subject to the preset sharing restrictions, just as if they had uploaded the audio themselves.

The result is cleaner collaboration for all. Labels and other organisations can better control access to audio while partners such as PRs can keep autonomy over their own contacts and workflow.

Forward (FWD) is in beta. Get in touch to test. Team Accounts launching in the coming months.