As announced and explained last week Sonific is going offline as you read this. This is indeed a sad day for all of us at Sonific, and for our many users, partners and content providers.
Note: if you have embedded a Sonific Songspot music widget on your blog or anywhere else you must now REMOVE IT (i.e. delete the code), otherwise your site visitors will get an error message or just a plain white nothingness-box.
We have received 100s of very supportive mails and encouraging comments from our users and there is quite a bit of blogosphere buzz about the reasons behind Sonific.com's voluntary shutdown (see my favorite snapshots below). One of the most astute comments is by Eliot van Buskirk at the WiredBlog.
Please rest assured that we will not sell your email addresses to some spam outfit, or otherwise exploit your personal data that you have provided when you signed up.
Please note that, for now, Sonific.com and .net is down but the company is not - we are still in the process of evaluating a good many proposals and ideas to bring Sonific back, so... it's not totally over yet. One of the ideas we are investigating is to to return as a 100%
user-generated site that allows musicians, producers, bands, record
labels or publishers to upload their music, and any of our users to rate,
tag and use it (non-commercially, that is).
If you want to stay informed we recommend that you subscribe to this blog's feed and / or my personal mailing list (Gerd's News). If you want to get in touch with us, for whatever reason, please email me (Gerd Leonhard, CEO).
Anyway, for now, Sayonara, Auf Wiedersehen, Salut, Ciao... Over & Out.
As a consequence of a the unworkable
music licensing situation and the resulting lack of solid revenue
modeling Sonific's founders and investors have decided to temporarily
take Sonific.com and Sonific.net offline. While we are looking for
other ways to realize our vision we are also open to talking to any
interested party that may have use for Sonific's user base, content
relationships, technologies or distribution network (please contact us
anytime to find out more). Together with some other partners, we may
also investigate the concept of making Sonific a paid-for service that
is provided to artists, record labels and other content providers on a
Here are some background details on our decision:
1) There are countless startups
providing access to any and all music streams without any license
whatsoever. However, when we approached the major record label decision
makers in order to obtain licenses for some of the music in their catalogs we have routinely faced demands for very large cash advances and fixed per-stream minimum payments,
pressure to give them 'free' company equity, and requirements of utterly bizarre usage restrictions. It seems that the industry's major stakeholders still prefer
this turf to remain unlicensed rather than to allow real-life, workable and market-based
solutions to emerge by working with new companies such as Sonific. This is not the way forward.
2) We therefore had to realize that a
company that wants to provide interactive streaming music services must
either a) risk the constant complaints of their users, due to the lack
of hit content b) proceed to use any and all music (this is routinely
done by allowing users to upload their own MP3s) without the required
licenses, and therefore be at the total mercy of the record labels at
some point in time, and c) build a huge audience very quickly, based on
having the content available - permission or not -, and then very
quickly sell themselves to a large company that will take care of
placating the labels while the money is plenty and the pockets are
Unfortunately we don't
like any of these choices.
The bottom line is that this industry is
certifiably dysfunctional and that we do not see a plausible path to
take at this time. We neither want to engage in so-called copyright
infringement nor do we have millions of dollars available to buy our way in when it is abundantly
clear that doing business under the existing rules of the major labels
will simply amount to economic suicide.
Almost a billion people now use music to
stream on their blogs, social network pages, home-pages and user
profiles – this is indeed a veritable gold mine for music marketing and
selling, and it can make serious money for artists and composers. Yet,
the established players in the music industry are still looking to
simply squeeze 'permission fees' from companies that want to serve this
market, instead of building new opportunities together. Maybe,
just like Radio over 100 years ago, a plausible conclusion may just be
that this must apparently be done without permission while the industry
catches up - but we shall leave this for others to explore this theme.
We want to thank all our partners and
the many artists, independent record labels as well as the few major
label new media people that dared to try us anyway, and the leading
music aggregators that have provided the over 200.000 songs that
Sonific has offered until now.
We also want to thank our faithful users that played our music every
day, and the over 80.000 people hat have signed up for our service, and
we apologize for having to pull the plug on you. We hope to return in a
different incarnation; please stay tuned via our blog.
Co-Founder & CEO
Update: if you are looking for alternatives to Sonific, try this list
If you are a Sonific user, please note
that you need to remove the widget code
from your sites and blog posts asap otherwise there will be empty
spots on your pages when we turn the streaming off on May 1, 2008
If you want to keep on playing music
on your website, here (below) are a few great resources you can go to and pick
whatever works for you (please note that we don't make any representations
on the legal status of any of the offerings listed here):
We are thrilled to announce that Sonific's Music Application for Facebook has finally gone live today. If you are a Facebook user, just go here and start adding music to your profile; it's basically instant. We are delighted (and exhausted) to have this first version of our MusicAPI up-and-running, - any feedback you may have would be appreciated.
My Facebook profile is here, btw - if you want to connect, just ping me and be sure to mention my blog so that I can 'befriend' you quickly. Sonific,
which I have been fronting as CEO for the past 2 years, has over
200.000 really cool tracks available on this app, and they are all
fully licensed, too ;). If you are searching for top 100 / chart
tracks, though, you will not find a lot of them here, for now - most of
the major labels have not graced us with their permission yet (but
please don't get me started on that...). Having said that, there are
some really great exceptions, though, mostly from the UK - check out
the "Made in the UK' playlist in your default playlist folders, once
you've added the app.
I will be publishing
playlists with some of my favorite tracks on my Facebook profile,
regularly, so keep on checking. Note that if you are a musician or a
label, you can also add your music to Sonific, (and thereby to Facebook, too) by just going to Sonific.net and uploading your own stuff - it's pretty much instant and free (naturally).
Ever since Sonific launched the cool playlist tool I have been making my own 'favorite' lists - I guess you could call them Channels since now I can basically publish up to 25 tracks this way. Sonific will be be expanding on this Channel concept very soon.. stay tuned. And get your own, free, fully customizable playlists at Sonific!
Listen to my UK's best Channel - just hit the button below. Here is the tracklist, too
Qualo formerly known as Qualoheem, West- side Chicago hip-hop crew Qualo formed on the campus of the city's Lane Tech High School. According to Bob Mehr's profile in the August 26, 2005, edition of the Chicago Reader, founders Chicago Shawn (born Shawndell Lewis), Shala Esquire (Olusola Akintunde), Preast G (Trevell Ruffer), and Ken Winz (Kenneth Bayliss) were lifelong friends who spent their childhoods immersed in rap, honing their skills at local talent shows and street corner battles. After first appearing on a series of underground mixtapes, in 2000 Qualo issued its own compilation, Movementality, in addition to opening gigs in support of KRS-One and DMX. Their 2003 mix, Chi Bangin': The Movement Catalog, sold in excess of 10,000 copies, guaranteeing an installed fan base prior to the mid-2004 release of their debut LP, Believe. In the summer of 2005 Qualo signed to Universal, just prior to the release of Preast G's indie-label solo debut, Fear God, Tell the Truth and Make Money. This group is known for their diversity in the hip-hop world. Their sound has been classified as “political” or “alternative” rap. They’ve also worked with many Chicago- based artists such as Lupe Fiasco, Kanye West, Twista and influential producers The Molemen.
This post is dedicated
for all artists who have their music
available at Sonific. We can help you to get more fans, get heard, be more
Sonific widgets are a
great tool for your fans to enjoy your music and to spread the word. So here’s
what to do: Tell your fans to go to Sonific, look up your artist page, and
place the widget to their homepage, blog or social network profile. Sonific supports
more than 40 different platforms, and actually works with a lot more.
So, what happens is
that when your fans place you music to their pages, you reach a much wider
audience. This should dramatically increase the amount of people who know your
music, come to your website, come to your gigs, buy your music either on-line
or as physical CD’s.
It’s all about getting
the attention! Give it a thought, and if you need any help please do not hesitate to contact us!