I decided I was going to conquer new musical territories. That is, upload my music to more sites to see how the process works and to check if they were any useful at all in what regards to promotion.
Therefore I went to create a Jamendo account – only to discover that I already had created one past January, for uploading my Iceland EP, but had abandoned it when I was requested to upload FLAC’s or WAV’s. This time I was a little bit more patient: converted the mp3’s to wav’s1, installed their uploading software2 and left it uploading while I did other things.
I came back later and tried to find any feedback on the result. I spent a good 10 minutes looking for a way of managing my artist. I finally found it and filled all the album data: title, song titles3, uploaded the cover and waited. Then they were “processing”, so the album couldn’t be seen yet. Oh and don’t forget the 20 minutes reading the long and boring agreement.
I try a bit later, the album can be seen now. But does it appear anywhere else? I open the album url with Konqueror (so that it is a completely different session) and I get a message which says that the album doesn’t exist. I presume the album needs to be approved or something. Nobody told me that, but I guess it’s a good assumption.
Meanwhile, I managed to find my way through their cumbersome interface4 until I find where I could fill all the “metadata” about my artist (supersole). It’s a good bunch of fields, but hey, it is finally done, great.
I’m still waiting for the album to show up… I decide to browse a bit their website. How slow it is! I click over the “Team” link, I wonder how many people are involved with Jamendo. Jeez!! There are approximately 20 people, and 75% of them are dedicated to marketing and sales. That could explain certain things I guess. I keep checking the album – it’s still not visible.
Community… ok let’s check what do the users say. I discover that before your artist or albums are shown on Jamendo you need to pass a “certification process”. That involves copying and pasting a piece of HTML in your website and letting them know the website URL so that they can verify the HTML it is there. Just like what Google’s Webmasters area does – except this is not automated. It needs to be verified manually, by a human. But they don’t tell you about that. I complete the process and expect it to be finished by now. But it’s not, it still shows my artist as unverified. Exhausted, I just close Jamendo’s tab and forget about it.
Some days later, I receive an email from Jamendo notifying me that my album has been approved. Great! At last! Oh but… they have generated a second artist called “supersole (2)” and assigned my album to that artist. WTF!? I write them immediately, it should be possible to delete that wrong artist and assign the album to the proper one. After all, I entered all the data into the “good” one, it’s easy to spot which one needs to be deleted.
Well I’ve checked your artist account and deleted the account in which there was no album but i can’t change the url so your album is in the account “supersole (2)” sorry. Thank you very much for your comprehension.
I could only think of one four-letters word while reading this, and it isn’t F*CK. It is FAIL. Supreme FAIL. You’re telling me you can’t change the url? You’re telling me you can’t change the foreign key for an album? And even more, you’re telling me you have removed the artist with all the bloody damn metadata filled in? ARE YOU REALLY EXPECTING COMPREHENSION FOR GOD’S SAKE?
But I said to myself: “calm down, calm down, no one is perfect”. And I just forgot about the whole issue again. Then a week later I happened to enter a url which had “ja” on it, and Firefox showed Jamendo as a suggestion. I checked my album to see what happened to it. Would it have any review or something? To my surprise, not only had it lots of plays, but somebody added it to his playlist, it had several downloads and … here comes the funniest thing: it was on the most popular albums list on the homepage. What what what? This doesn’t make any sense. There might be something really broken there: I haven’t done any type of promotion for the album or my jamendo account5 … and it’s on the top?
Out of curiosity, I keep checking the page every few hours. “It’s a bug”, I say to myself. My album appears randomly, at random spots. Sometimes it’s top left, sometimes bottom right, sometimes right in the middle. You can’t tell why is it on the top. Is it because of downloads? Maybe GoogleBot has got stuck on some pages and keeps requesting the same ones once and once again? It’s kind of fascinating, like watching an ancient machine fail miserably and somehow enjoy its quirks and glitches, in a sadistic way.
Today I went to the page to indulge myself on this decadent pleasure and find, to my surprise, that their stats system is that broken that the total number of downloads is DECREASING. Yes! Say yesterday I had 34, today I only have 17. Come on, this is totally ridiculous. I’m so out of Jamendo now.
1 Yes I know it doesn’t make much sense, but since Jamendo does not distribute the original wav’s I don’t feel morally obliged to upload a lossless version of my music anyway
2 Which by the way converted my WAV’s to FLAC’s on the background but left a bunch of temporary files on my home directory.
3 Wouldn’t have needed to do that if they used mp3 and read the ID3 header, like last.fm does
4 Seriously, they need a real interface rework. There isn’t any meaningful hierarchy whatsoever on the page, the menus and toolbars appear on the oddest places you could think of, with different names for the same concepts (for example, tags and music genres are used indistinctly, but they are different things), and the translations (which sometimes are still left in French) are a tad odd at some places. And let’s not forget the stupid idea of placing a player for other artists when you’re browsing an artist page, instead of placing a player with that artist’s music!
5 How could I promote anything with a url ending in supersole(2)_? let’s be serious