Sunday, July 18, 2010

StreamJam: Live music on Facebook

I'm pretty excited about something, and you know how I get when I'm excited: I'm like a grenade, and you're bound to get hit with shrapnel when I explode. Therefore, let's take this slowly.

I've just signed up to be involved in a new application for Facebook called StreamJam. It's currently in Beta, and I'm officially a guinea pig for them at this point. What is StreamJam? I'll let them tell you...

When the full version of StreamJam is launched, it will be a perpetual 24/7 online music festival with venues embedded on pages across the Web. Fans will be able to travel between many live events online, meeting other fans, hanging out with their friends, playing games, and interacting with their favorite musicians.

So, if you haven't gotten the idea already, I'll make it even more simple: StreamJam allows for virtual live music concerts and other events on Facebook. Here's how it works:

1. You see a notice from me on Facebook.
2. You click the link and after okaying the StreamJam application one time, you're there at the show.

That's it. The show will look like a little animated club in a Facebook window. On the club's "stage" is a live video screen when you'll see me perform live music. Cool, huh?

But Zak, don't you already do virtual live shows in Second Life?
I sure do, and I'll continue doing them as long as they'll have me. SL shows are fun for me, and fun for my audiences there, and have been great for the past 3-1/2 years I've been doing them. Still, there are a few limitations that seem tough to get around. For a lot of people, the learning curve of Second Life itself is insurmountable, and for many others, the requirements for a fast computer with an up-to-date higher-end graphics card just doesn't allow them to get into SL. It puts a restriction on who can see my show and hear my music. Not and ideal situation, obviously. With StreamJam, literally anyone who can access Facebook should have no trouble finding and seeing/hearing my show. Cool, huh?

But Zak, isn't StreamJam just like the shows you already do on Ustream?
Yes and no. I've been doing my Zak Claxton Happy Fun Show bi-weekly for about six months now, and I still enjoy it and will probably keep doing it. However, StreamJam is integrated with Facebook, and the promotional possibilities as a result are phenomenal. As you probably have heard by now, 11 million people per day play on the Facebook game FarmVille. Well, if the makers of StreamJam can garner even a small fraction of that audience, it'll be a huge opportunity for musicians like me.

Is this the same Zak Show we've seen before?
No, actually! It's a new show that I'm putting together, called "Zak Claxton Live! on StreamJam". One thing that's different: StreamJam only will allow musicians to perform songs they have the rights to perform, which means that my new show will have me doing 100% original music.

"Zak Claxton Live! on StreamJam" is the name of my new show. See, it's me. And I'm live. It can't be any more simple than that, right?

When is the new show starting?
I am very close to being able to tell you that. The makers of StreamJam (the Electric Sheep Company, who are well known for their other creations of virtual world and social media tools) will start their Beta test performances on July 25. I am hoping to establish a weekly show the following week, and have it run through the month of August. I will obviously let people know as soon as this schedule is confirmed.

For the time being, I am excitedly putting together ideas for the new show, considering everything from the music material to my little home-based set, wardrobe, and lighting. I enjoy the opportunity to step up my show a bit, and this seems like an ideal time to do it. Anyway, more news on my new show and StreamJam coming soon. Very soon.

Stay tuned!

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