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Thursday, June 3, 2010

10 Search Engines That Access The Invisible Web

I'm not sure how this directly applies to music but it sure is fascinating. We think of the Web as everything that Google can find, but did you know that there's a huge amount of data that's not indexed or searchable?

It's estimated that the size of the searchable Web is 167 terabytes (a terabyte is 1024 gigabytes) while the so-called "Invisible Web" or "Deep Web" is 91,000 terabytes!! Wow, that's a lot of data that can't be easily found.

Why isn't this data available via Google? Google sends out spiders to regularly index websites, but there are some that require a password that just won't allow that kind of access. These include private networks and library sties, which have huge amounts of information.

There are a number of ways to access the data of the "invisible web" though, and here are 10 search engines that are expert in just such a task, thanks to a great article on MakeUseOf. I'll give you a brief overview here, but see the entire article for more detail.

1) Infomine has been built by a pool of libraries in the United States. Some of them are University of California, Wake Forest University, California State University, and the University of Detroit. Infomine ‘mines’ information from databases, electronic journals, electronic books, bulletin boards, mailing lists, online library card catalogs, articles, directories of researchers, and many other resources.

2) The WWW Virtual Library is considered to be the oldest catalog on the web and was started by started by Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the web. So, isn’t it strange that it finds a place in the list of Invisible Web resources? Maybe, but the WWW Virtual Library lists quite a lot of relevant resources on quite a lot of subjects. You can go vertically into the categories or use the search bar. The screenshot shows the alphabetical arrangement of subjects covered at the site.

3) Intute is UK centric, but it has some of the most esteemed universities of the region providing the resources for study and research. You can browse by subject or do a keyword search for academic topics like agriculture to veterinary medicine. The online service has subject specialists who review and index other websites that cater to the topics for study and research.

4) Complete Planet calls itself the ‘front door to the Deep Web’. This free and well designed directory resource makes it easy to access the mass of dynamic databases that are cloaked from a general purpose search. The databases indexed by Complete Planet number around 70,000 and range from Agriculture to Weather. Also thrown in are databases like Food & Drink and Military.

5) Infoplease is an information portal with a host of features. Using the site, you can tap into a good number of encyclopedias, almanacs, an atlas, and biographies. Infoplease also has a few nice offshoots like Factmonster.com for kids and Biosearch, a search engine just for biographies.

6) DeepPeep aims to enter the Invisible Web through forms that query databases and web services for information. Typed queries open up dynamic but short lived results which cannot be indexed by normal search engines. By indexing databases, DeepPeep hopes to track 45,000 forms across 7 domains.

7) IncyWincy is an Invisible Web search engine and it behaves as a meta-search engine by tapping into other search engines and filtering the results. It searches the web, directory, forms, and images.

8) DeepWebTech gives you five search engines (and browser plugins) for specific topics. The search engines cover science, medicine, and business. Using these topic specific search engines, you can query the underlying databases in the Deep Web.

9) Scirus has a pure scientific focus. It is a far reaching research engine that can scour journals, scientists’ homepages, courseware, pre-print server material, patents and institutional intranets.

10) TechXtra concentrates on engineering, mathematics and computing. It gives you industry news, job announcements, technical reports, technical data, full text eprints, teaching and learning resources along with articles and relevant website information.

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Check out my Big Picture blog for discussion on common music, engineering and production tips and tricks.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

10 Creative Rules Of Thumb

Here's another blast from the past. Sorry if you've seen this before (you probably haven't if you're a recent reader), but I thought it was a good time for a repeat.
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Here are some great tips on how to stay creative from the Marketing Essentials International blog. It's a good positive way to start the new year, although it seems that everyone is already pretty positive (maybe hopeful is a better word). Even though I found this on the MEI blog, I seem to remember seeing them on Seth Godin's or Derek Sivers' as well. Regardless of who created the list, it's still pretty good advice.

Top 10 Creative Rules of Thumb:

1. The best way to get great ideas is to get lots of ideas and throw the bad ones away.

2. Create ideas that are 15 minutes ahead of their time…not light years ahead.

3. Always look for a second right answer.

4. If at first you don’t succeed, take a break.

5. Write down your ideas before you forget them.

6. If everyone says you are wrong, you’re one step ahead. If everyone laughs at you, you’re two steps ahead.

7. The answer to your problem “pre-exists.” You need to ask the right question to reveal the answer.

8. When you ask a dumb question, you get a smart answer.

9. Never solve a problem from its original perspective.

10. Visualize your problem as solved before solving it.

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Follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Check out my Big Picture blog for discussion on common music, engineering and production tips and tricks.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Licensing A Cover Song

For many artists trying to break through, doing a cover song is the way to go. Why? A cover song and the original artist or band that did it is already familiar to particular fan base, and they might be interested in checking you out as a curiosity if you did the same song. You can potentially gain many more fans with just a single cover song in a short amount of time than you probably can your own songs in that period.

Most artists or bands already have some cover songs that they like and play anyway, so why not do a cover version? The major reason that most artists shy away is the licensing issue. You want to be able to pay the songwriter for the song as you're legally bound to, but most artists have no idea where to start.

Now comes a service from a company called Rightsflow called their "Limelight" service that will do just that. For a flat fee, Limelight will do the research to find out who the songwriter and publisher is (in case you already don't have that info), and will work out a licensing deal based on the manner that you'll release the song (CD or digital download, for instance).

Another benefit from using Limelight is the fact that you prepay the license so you don't have to worry about keeping track of sales and report back to the publisher, which can be a major pain.

Just a little aside - if you do decide to release a cover tune, make sure you get your metadata together. The reason why your doing this in the first place is so people will find you, so you have to optimize your chances by optimizing your keywords (as I discussed in many other posts) and making sure that you supply all the pertinent MP3 data as I discussed here a few days ago.

This is a quick and easy way to work out a licensing deal for a cover song, but if you have any legal questions, be sure to check with a qualified music attorney.
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Don't forget to check out my Music 3.0 blog for tips and tricks on navigating the music business.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Don't Believe The Half-Life

Silicon Valley Insider recently posted some figures on video viewership that, if just looked at casually, may be very misleading.

The Insider's report actually comes from the video distributor TubeMogul, who states that a typical YouTube video gets 50% of it's total views in the first 6 days. After 20 days, it's already received 75% of the total views that it will ever see.

You may think that if your video doesn't received many plays in the first week, it'll never get any but that's just not true. This study obviously applies to the DIY "novelty" videos, and not one that are meant to extend your brand. Many videos gradually gain an audience and continue to build over time, especially after a mention on a blog or social network. Just about all of the videos on my own YouTube channel are good examples. They'll have a slow first week or month or even a number of months, then they gradually pick up steam.

If you maintain a good video SEO practice (like in yesterday's post) and your video is aimed at building your brand, you'll quickly prove this study wrong.
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Follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Check out my Big Picture blog for discussion on common music, engineering and production tips and tricks.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

4 YouTube SEO Tricks

I posted this well over a year ago when I only had about 10 readers so I thought it was worth a repost. It's also an excerpt from the marketing chapter of my Music 3.0 Internet Music Guidebook.
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YouTube can be used as an effective marketing tool, but you must observe some search engine optimization (SEO) techniques in order to be successful. Sure, it's possible your video could be a big viral success without them, but the chances of that happening are something like winning the lottery.

In these following examples, imagine that your band is called "Emerald" and you want to post a video from a live gig at the Lone Star Club.

Before you post that video, make sure that you’ve:

  • Named your video something descriptive. “Emerald at the Lone Star Club video 1/9/09” is good. “Untitled_bandvideo12.mov” is not descriptive at all so your video will never get added by the search engines and your fans won’t find it.
  • Choose your keywords based on your title. In this case the keywords would be “Emerald” and “Lone Star Club.” Keep your keywords to 4 or 5 since anything more could be construed as “keyword stuffing” (using every keyword you can think of in hopes of getting ranked by a search engine) and you might get penalized as a result.
  • Make sure that your description contains the same phrase as your title. For example, “This video features Emerald at the Lone Star Club on January 9, 2009” is a good description, although a bit incomplete.  Something like “Here’s our band at the Lone Star Club” wouldn’t be as effective because it omits the keyword “Emerald.” The description is critical to SEO so the more info you can add (150 to 200 words), the better.
  • Be sure that you put “video” at the end of the title because sometimes people just search for videos.
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Follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Check out my Big Picture blog for discussion on common music, engineering and production tips and tricks.

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