by Iain on July 9, 2008
I’ve whanged on about Boomkat before. They’re a great example of a niche e-commerce player – although I’m guessing they’re a pretty big niche player now. They sell music online – mainly electronic stuff – they started selling CDs and Vinyl and now their download site is getting pretty awesome too.
Their real strength has always been in their reviews and descriptions of the tracks – if I’d trust anyone in the world to get something right about a bit of electronic music it’d be these guys. It’s not easy writing fresh content around minimal-dub records that are all 12 minutes long and basically sound the same ;-)
They’ve just launched a new site which I really like. It’s called 14tracks.com and each week they editorially pick 14 tracks on a theme and batch them all up together and send out an email and update the site. You can then go and buy the playlist (or bits of it).
Why I like it:
- I like the design (it’s got some people in a bit of a tizz, though – it’s too 2.0 the naysayers say)
- The themes they’re picking are great, varied and interesting (“14 tracks that make you wish you played the piano”, “14 tracks of deviant disco”, “14 tracks of Hip Hop a la mode” and “14 tracks : From The Echo Chamber”).
- The MP3s are 320kbps DRM-free.
- They’re inviting comment – and leaving up the negative stuff – always good.
What I don’t like:
- It’s too expensive and there’s no discounts for buying lots.
- There’s a couple of tricksy interfacey bits that are a bit yukky.
But what I really like is that it’s like going into a record shop full of really cool muso-DJ types and having them not treat you like a leper. Imagine that!
This time on 14 tracks: “14 tracks of narcotic House”
We just love the kind of slow and sultry House Music that’s been oozing out of the Berlin club scene in recent months. With its origin in the paralysed shuffle of Detroit’s Theo Parrish and Moodymann, this is the kind of music that’s in no rush to draw you in, often making use of deep basslines and crushed percussion to play tricks on the senses. There are direct parallels between these tracks and the more robust patterns that typify Dubstep, and with a woozy aesthetic that makes much of this music sound like it’s about to fall apart there are also direct links with the Wonky hip hop that’s making waves in 2008. Even if you’ve never been into club music, we reckon this is just about as evocative and heady as it gets…
The interesting bit
What’s interesting to me is that they’ve effectively created their own affiliate store. One that feels and behaves totally different from their main store.
I like the fact they’ve taken a bit of a punt on it. But it seems like a pretty logical thing to do. If you’ve got a bunch of people who understand their stock better than anyone else, why not let them repackage it and reformat it in a way that’s right for them and their friends/audience?
- Why shouldn’t Amazon encourage their Rock buyers set up a site that sells tracks on a black background with lots of fire and frizzy hair on it.
- Why shouldn’t TopShop encourage their Style Advisors to go and set up their own ‘rival’ sites that editorialise stuff in their own way?
What’s the worst that could happen? I suppose the sites could be shit and make the brand look stupid.
Interestingly 14 Tracks is getting a very mixed response in the comments. But people who like it will use it, and those who don’t won’t. It’d have to be really bloody awful to ever be damaging enough to put people off the Boomkat master brand.