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State of Wonder

Music & Tech: UX, UI, U Got To Be Kidding

This week’s guest curator, Simon Tam, spends a ton of time online. He’s got lots of multi-media and social to deal with for his band, The Slants. He’s been toying with possibilities for an app for the band. He does some booking for other bands over here. And he blogs and Tumbls and tweets.

And to help the bands get the word out, he sometimes uses SonicBids, a platform that lets you create EPKs, or electronic press kits. It’s mandatory if you want to apply to play some of the bigger festivals.

Last winter, Simon got a nasty shock when he logged on, to find that SonicBids had been redesigned in a way that appeared to have wiped out some of his content, and completely re-organized other parts. He wrote some blog posts about it, here and here,  and emailed with the company quite a bit. But he never felt satisfied with the resolution.

That’s the starting point for our discussion about the interfaces between music and tech. They should talk more, right?


We invited Ryan Nikolaidis in to broaden the discussion. He’s the co-founder and creative director of Cloneless Media. Cloneless was part of the latest class of the Portland Incubator Experiment.

The company’s creating tools for video & other kinds of content, with an eye to real-time publication for social media and other purposes. Ryan’s kind of a dual citizen. Before becoming a developer, he was a musician and worked as an audio engineer. He’s helped build a few apps for music-related pursuits, and has been thinking about how Cloneless’s products might be adapted for the platforms that work with the music industry. Ryan told us, “It’s easy to assign value to tactile things that take up space, and much harder to inherently grasp in this new era of digital media that may
only exist on a cloud server somewhere on the opposite side of the country.” That said, he’s pretty excited about what mobile might have to offer to both music makers and fans.

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