Technology Tuesday: Deep Music Connections with Richseam

There’s nothing more exhilarating than discovering a new band you love. On Hidden Track, our passionate team relentlessly covers performances, bands and artists. Hopefully it is one of the ways you discover new albums and performers you will listen to for years to come. Likewise, here on Technology Tuesday, we’ve covered scores of ways of discovering music from apps and sites ranging from proximity, to friend’s tastes to what’s playing on the radio. Likely, your friends and social network give you tons of great recommendations too. But what if you could also get recommendations directly from your favorite artists?

You can! With Richseam, collaborations, partnerships and connections that artists have with one another are all brought together in one place. It is quite true that actions speak louder than words. So by checking out who your favorite artists have played with and their connections, you can effectively “listen” to their recommendations and dig deep to discover new music. Read on to learn a little bit more about this cool music service.

Richseam culls information from massively large database sets including Last.FM, Freebase, Songkick and MusicBrainz. Using these data sources and several others, Richseam has cataloged over 2 Million relationships from nearly 200,000 musicians. What does this all mean to you? It means you can simply type a performer you enjoy into the search box and dig into their music world.

Let’s check out an example use case:

You come to Hidden Track and read about the stellar performance of Joe Russo’s Almost Dead this past week. You are inspired to download the show and love what you hear. You are particularly enthralled with the keyboard playing of Marco Benevento and recall a handful of performances as part of GRAB (Trey, Mike and the Duo) when Phish was on a hiatus.

After searching Marco Benevento you are presented with tons of useful information. An artist biography along with links to videos, upcoming concert dates, discography, and relevant links to most popular music sites (Last.FM, Spotify, iTunes, Grooveshark, etc.) are neatly displayed in the center of the page. The crisply laid out and sleek design doesn’t overwhelm or feel cluttered. Just tons of useful info. But the real secret sauce are in the two columns to the right and left of the page.

Along the right of the page is the “Connections” column. So we can quickly see dozens and dozens of connections including bands Marco plays in. So perhaps you are reminded of the great Garage a Trois or discover Surprise Me Mr. Davis for the first time (one of my personal favorites!)  In addition to “Member Of” connections, the fun ones are “Concerts” and “Collaborated”. Flipping through the links, you will see connections like The Slip, Skerik, Stanton Moore, and scores of others. Clicking on, for example The Slip, will continue expanding the connections.

To the left is a streaming widget powered by Spotify with two tabs. The first is the top tracks of the artist you searched for while the “Connections” tab creates a playlist with the artists the performer collaborated with, performed with or shared a stage with at some point. The “Connections” streaming tab is where I’ve gotten the most value from Richseam. As I browse connections, I simply listen along and discover new great music.

[Main page showing streaming links and connections among other info including bio & discography]

Any other useful features? While the wheelhouse of the platform is mining the collaborations and relationships of a particular performer, you can also search by genre and/or record label. So for example, if you found a label with a bunch of artists you enjoyed, you could search for all artists on that label or just the Alt-Folk performer on that label. Similarly, you can simply search for music genres like Jazz Fusion and just start exploring and listening to different bands.

Any drawbacks? As with any site that scrapes info from a variety of sources, there are bound to be mistakes and omissions  After using for a few days, I noticed a couple of minor ones. The streaming that you can do from the site is limited to what is available on Spotify (though you can use the handy YouTube and video links for other sources) and does not have any Scrobbling support to Last.FM which would be kind of cool.

Coming features? Richseam is still a relatively new site and has already added features and scores of artists, labels and connections. You can certainly expect the database to continue to grow to help you mine those connections. Another exciting upcoming feature will be the ability for user added connections. Right now, you can’t add missing connections. However, according to co-founder Ivvet Modinou, by the end of next month, users will able to add connections. This is pretty exciting and will definitely add more detail to the already comprehensive listings. Search for the Slip and see that the Barr Brothers are missing? Add it! Your favorite guitarist used to sit in with another band? Add it!

Bottom Line The information presented on Richseam is neatly arranged, intuitive and easy to dig into. While you can certainly find all of the information elsewhere, there’s no single site that does as good of a job aggregating it, thoughtfully presenting it and allowing for immediate listening. Find a cool connection with Richseam? Let us know. Happy music discovery!

Winner from Last Week

Thanks for everyone that entered to win the pair of Monoprice Headphones. I’ve continued to listen with them and am still thrilled with the sound and value proposition that they give you. I know a couple people couldn’t wait and already bought them from emails and Tweets I have received. Hope you are enjoying them! And congratulations to Andrew Royne who was randomly picked as our winner. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more give aways. Andrew- get in touch with me from any of the contact sources below to arrange for shipping.


Hidden Track Technology Tuesday

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