FEATURE: The Big Sky: A New Music Platform Where Everything Is in One Place



The Big Sky


PHOTO CREDIT: @dchuck/Unsplash 

A New Music Platform Where Everything Is in One Place


THIS morning, I wrote about...

 PHOTO CREDIT: @johnschno/Unsplash

the thirtieth anniversary of the World Wide Web and whether we have used it for good or bad. There are many great aspects of the Internet and social media. In terms of music, we are all able to connect with each other and discover the hottest new releases without searching too much. It is great we can follow artists and be part of their world. I do wonder whether, on a daily basis, social media is providing the content we want to see. I know there are filters and ways of cutting out stuff we do not want to see but, of a day, so much stuff comes through and I wonder what the cumulative effect is. I do like to follow a few celebrities and news sites but, largely, I am on social media for music and music-related news. Look away from social media and what we all look at regularly and is it easy to get a handle on everything?! I look at music news sites and blogs; I also check a range of different sites as well as streaming services. It is hard to get a grip on it and I feel there should be a way of having everything in one place. The Big Sky is a preliminary name for the site but, as a massive Kate Bush fan, I think she symbolises what I want to see from the site.


 IN THIS PHOTO: Kate Bush/PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

I have written pieces before regarding similar websites but I think it is feasible to deliver a site that has imagination and not too complex. The home page would be this entrance into a studio. There would be drop-down menus and where you could go to any part of the site. There would be rolling animation and features where we would see musical figures, past and present, interacting and moving around the screen. When one goes in, there would be this cutting-edge and cool design where you can sort of navigate around a studio setting and various different locations. At each point there would be options to click and it would provide a more interactive option than social media. The main aspect is the features and they would be the reason to join. Many might say that adding a new sites would make people spend more time on social media but, for those who love their music, it would allow people to get all they need under one roof. There would be options to see rolling music news and find a list of online sites and blogs that fit your tastes; all the latest happenings in the world of music and links regarding journalism and how to get started. In this section, say, you would have everything you could need regarding music journalism and how to get involved; archives and bespoke articles to your personal site – so you do not have to wade through a lot of stuff you do not need.

 PHOTO CREDIT: @rani33/Getty Images

There would be a similar tact when it comes to archived music and bringing streaming services together. We have Spotify and YouTube but I wonder how easy it is to look for songs from the past and have that organisation. I know where to look but there are songs and artists I stumble upon that I sort of find by luck. You can have an integrated sort of platform that brings together Spotify, YouTube and existing sites and adds a special engine/feature. You can easily search for music from a particular period/genre and it would be easy to discover fantastic old music and the best new release suitable for you. This would also involve bringing in existing apps that make it easy to find the songs you love but broaden the mind. As I say, there is a lot of bringing existing sites and apps together but making everything tied together and united. I am keen to do a lot with the music/streaming side of things so that a lot of newer artists are not overlooked but we allow listeners an equal amount of time to look back and listen to music they might have forgotten or are not aware of. There would be a social side to things but, in terms of social media, one need know have another option. It would, instead, incorporate and customise your view so you can bring in all your usual feeds but personalise it so you do not get stuff you do not want to see – including people’s retweets and random stuff.

 PHOTO CREDIT: @rani33/Unsplash

There would also be another option where you can integrate music news feeds into social media so you only get music stuff and do not have to keep scanning all your usual sites! Not only am I keen to get streaming sorted and make sure everyone is as rounded as possible, there is that archive aspect where you can see documentaries, look at album covers and take a tour of musical history from the one page. This, again, would bring in existing sites like YouTube but there would be special reference libraries and articles; a look back at music from specific years and, indeed, everything you could possible want to know. The website, The Big Sky, would offer an album of the day suggestion; there would be options to loom at music venues and spaces in any town/city; a way of searching for something specific. Say you wanted to find all new Rock bands from Austin, Texas, there would be search functions where you could hone down; taking you to their websites and social media feeds. Education and awareness would be big aspects so there would be chances for contributors – musicians and people in the industry – to post videos covering anything from gender-inequality to the history of Hip-Hop. There would be a special side of the site and would include a discussion board, articles and way for people to communicate with one another and create this safe forum. The user would have access to libraries of archives and information and they would be able to have their mind opened regarding various aspects of music – from education and charity through to burning issues.

PHOTO CREDIT: @priscilladupreez/Getty Images

One would be able to access any International radio station so, essentially, it is this site where you can personalise and ensure you do not need to hunt too much. If one is curious regarding music attraction and museums then that is in there; you can learn how to set up your own record label or venue. There would be this whole site for managers and bookers and, again, bring in existing platforms to make it a more interactive and complete experience. I am also interested in having areas that discuss things like mental-health and sexual abuse. This is not often promoted by social media platforms and I feel it is vital to include. If a musician or anyone in the industry (or a listener) needed help or wanted to discuss their problems there is a list of all numbers, videos and ways we can interact and support one another. The same goes for anyone in the industry who has been the victim of abuse and assault. Nobody should be made to feel alone and, not only can one share their stories on social media, there will be this huge resource of support and interaction. Another thing that intrigues me – and I have not seen a lot of – is being able to pitch music video ideas and collaborate. There are websites where you can see video treatments but I want to make that more interactive and have programmes where you can submit a rough pitch or part of the video; links where one could learn how to become a director and anyone can submit a treatment and, if an artist thinks it fits their song, get in touch.

 IN THIS PHOTO: The Beatles/PHOTO CREDIT: David McEnery/Rex/Shutterstock

I like the idea of one being able to collaborate online; whether it is a remix or a sampling album. I want a part of the site where artists pitch to have their track remixed and there are opportunities for creators to communicate more easily. If one wanted to create a samples album – very hard these days – there are links and information where you could find out about a song and who owns it and get in touch. You could then piece together your own album and see it come to life. In the same spirit, tools where you can design an album cover and then send that to photographers and see if they can realise it – there will be links to different photographers in various areas near you. I am very eager for there to be lots of creative options; from learning to play an instrument or starting your own band – where one could post old-school ads to recruit people. I have just touched the tip of the iceberg but there would be so many different corners of the site/interactive studio that would be everything anyone could need. I am always open to suggestions but I want to invent tools where musicians can get their music heard by more people and earn more money; people who want to get into various aspects of music find adverts, chances and sites where they can further those ambitions.

 PHOTO CREDIT: @mbgrfk/Unsplash

From the cool homepage – where one can customise things – to the album suggestions and endless options, there is this mix of unique and specially-designed sites/tools and bringing the best of the web together. I want to make sure The Big Sky is a safe space and there is no abuse and trolling. You can customise your social media feeds but there would be tough penalties for anyone sharing anything offensive on discussion boards or discussion sides. Making sure everything is fair, equitable and peaceful is vital; providing so many different resources and options to those who adore music and connecting people in a very quick and stress-free way is paramount. I have always wanted to launch this idea but have been told it is too ambitious or expensive. On the money side, I think there could be crowd-funding where pledgers would get rewards and gifts for their donations. I want to bring big labels, tech companies and organisations in to help with the technical side and donate and, in exchange, allow them to advertise. Another aim is to get a contract from tech companies where they would be a fairly big sum each year but get extra revenue and business from the site – no annoying adverts but bespoke and tailored adverts for people. I want that money to go into investment and making this as good as possible.


 PHOTO CREDIT: @mbgrfk/Getty Images

Feedback is important and I would like people to have their say regarding new elements and improving other ones. I get frustrated by how vast the Internet is and how it is hard to find everything you want. So many people like me lose a lot of music information and great new sounds because it is hard to get a handle on it all. There is also this feeling that there are things missing and not enough resources out there. Regardless, The Big Sky would not entail any extra time online and, instead, it would be more economical for those interested in music. I feel social media does not have enough filters and you get a lot of stuff in front of you that is irrelevant or asinine. This would be a way of combating common issues but discovering so much more. It might take a long time to get it going but I feel, if there is a consensus it is a good idea, then that is a start. As more and more artists coming onto the market, it can be mind-boggling and exhausting keeping up! I am excited and do feel that, if something can be designed that is this one-stop area for everyone who is interested in music then this is a really good thing. I definitely would like to see it and I know there are many out there...


PHOTO CREDIT: @aaronpaulos/Unsplash

WHO feel the same way.