SoundCtrl: 8 Essential Keys To A Good Music Technology Brand

Cam'rom makes a surprise performance at SoundCTRL's fifth Annual FlashFWD Awards

Last week, the fifth Annual FlashFWD Award show went down at Irving Plaza in NYC, celebrating the leaders of music and technology. Recognizing the tireless efforts put forth by the innovators and companies that are changing the face of music and the community shaping the culture, FlashFWD awarded music tech’s elite including: Shazam (Best In Discovery), Skrillex (Best In Album App), RITHM (Best In Mobile & Tablet), Insomniac Events (Best In Live), Next Big Sound (Best In Artist Support), Beyonce (SoundWav Influencer), and Andreessen Horowitz (Investor of the Year).

In addition, Cam’ron performed the freshly released “Dipshits” off his forthcoming EP ‘Federal Reserve’ live for the first time at SoundCTRL's 5th annual FlashFWD Awards and Vic Mensa was also on the bill, taking the stage to perform his hit single “Down on My Luck.”

VIBE asked SoundCTRL’s founders (and brothers), Jesse and Alex Kirshbaum to fill us on in on what it takes to make a solid, award-winning music technology brand. Below, they give us the lowdown:

“The music technology sector is steadily growing as software, instruments, engineering tools data capture and mobile applications continue to push the boundaries of creation and dissemination of music. New brands and businesses competing in this industry must streamline their approach with laser-focus, whether their products are informed by the business, trends, production, or performance of music. After examining a wide breadth of seminal music technology products, the brands that flourish often have these eight essential qualities bolstering their success.” - SoundCTRL

1. Design/User-ability
Unfortunately, one of the most overlooked elements of a good brand, design is critical, especially in music. Working with professional designers to create stunning visual applications for your product and its various formats effects users directly and subliminally. This is especially true in a world saturated with streaming apps, music journalism sources, and digital instruments for computers and mobile devices.

2. Innovation
It is important that your product is changing the way consumers approach or creates music, whether it be in regards to playback, performance, or establishing communities. A thorough web search of similar products may help you hone in and refine your idea, ensuring that your product is novel and useful for the intended audience.

3. Integrity
Users see through insincerity, and they have to believe in the idea and the people who created it. Your product should demonstrate devotion to your core values, and these values should be reiterated throughout your launch and lifespan of the brand. If you're looking to form a startup for a quick buck without fully believing in the concept, you should probably rethink the industry you're entering.

4. Customer Service
This relates back to integrity, but timely and supportive help and service to customers is essential to a new brand. Responding to emails quickly and concisely, as well as having a protocol for dissatisfied or concerned customers will amplify the brand's reputation.

5. Fair Pricing Models
Tiered pricing ensures that people of all economic levels can afford and engage with your brand. Premium options for paying customers also gives a sense of exclusivity and esteem, and creates a lasting relationship between you and the user.

6. International Influence
Translating your product and offering help in different languages can help spread your brand to a worldwide audience. Balancing your prices and creating country and culture-specific offerings based on research can easily get your product into the hands of musicians and music-lovers around the globe.

7. Expandability
Co-branding and integrating your technology into another company's framework, or vice-versa, could very well double your number of users and offer effective routes of promotion to new audiences. Constantly looking ahead at the next step and new technology opportunities for growth could help you keep up with burgeoning technologies that complement your own.

8. Good Music
Overall, your product should communicate by sharing, creating, or experiencing the highest quality of music. Delegating the task of quality control will ensure that your brand's intentions are never questioned and that your taste attracts new users from multiple backgrounds and interests.

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Dr. King's Childhood Home Sold For $1.9 Million To The National Park Service

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Will Shafroth, CEO of the National Park Foundation said it was hard to place a dollar amount on the location where a lot of Dr. King's character was molded.

"It is difficult to value something this significant in our nation’s history. It is a priceless asset. It is one of the most important places to tell the story of America,” Shafroth said.

Bernice King, daughter of late the civil rights leader, said the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change had been considering selling the home since the passing of their mother Coretta Scott, in 2006. King said the center will focus on nonviolent educational and training programs.

“We are working on creating more robust, nonviolence training,” King said. “Our society is desperately in need of Dr. King’s nonviolent teachings right now in order to create a just, humane and peaceful world. That is what we are trying to put our energy in.”

The home was reportedly built by a white firefighter in 1895 and then purchased by Dr. King's maternal grandfather, Rev. Adam Daniel Williams, who was pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church for $3,500. When King's mother and father wed in 1927, they moved. All of King's siblings including himself were born in the home.

Elizabeth Paradis Stern, spokeswoman for the National Park Service said the preservation of the home will not falter now that it's out of the family's possession.

“The most important thing about this is that this property will be protected and preserved permanently as one of our most important properties,” Stern said. “It is part of the American fabric.”

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Donnie McClurkin Sent To Hospital Following Car Accident

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The "We Fall Down" singer was driving on the road in the earlier part of the day when he passed out and began weaving into traffic. He reportedly struck the middle concrete island.

Following the incident, he posted a selfie of him on the hospital bed in scrubs on Facebook. Along with the photo, he explained that he woke up from the accident with stitches on his left thumb, on top of having a sprained wrist, and hurt knee. His car was also completely totaled.

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He also mentioned that two "angels" pulled him out the car to safety and medical attention. "I owe them...I am still here by the grace of God! Thank you, Lord...thank you!" he added.

On Friday (Dec. 14), McClurkin posted to his Facebook page again, sharing several photos of his destroyed car. "This is the totaled car that two angels rescued me from ....after passing out while driving I don’t remember most of what happened a day and a half ago...but God," he wrote. "I overrode doctors and sisters advice and flew to KENYA today for ministry Saturday @ TWO RIVERS. and home on this Sunday to celebrate life."

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Nicki Minaj's Boyfriend Kenneth Petty Received 18 Violations During Prison Stint

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On Friday (Dec. 14), TMZ revealed court documents disclosing Petty's history of disciplinary actions while he was an inmate in New York for manslaughter from 2006 to 2013.

When he entered the correctional facility, he was reportedly written up for creating a disturbance. Later during his stint, he was hit with a slew of disciplinary actions following a series of violent actions that included fighting, making terroristic threats, and "disobeying a direct order."

In 2009, prison faculty placed him in solitary confinement for four months as part of being reprimanded for nine different violations. Petty lost privileges that included the usage of the inmate telephone service, recreational activity, and the prison canteen.

In addition to his prison violations, Petty is a convicted sex offender. At the age of 16, he was tried as an adult served a four-year sentence for attempted rape of a minor.

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Minaj posted various photos of her and Petty going on a vacation getaway earlier this month. Sources close to Minaj told the celebrity gossip website that the 36-year-old hip-hop artist is  "happier than she's been in years" with Petty.


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