From my inbox:
Hey there -
Thanks for using foursquare! We’ve seen that you’ve either been checking-in a lot (woo!) or adding lots of new venues (thx!) so we’re upgrading you to “Superuser” status!
What does this mean? Well for now, you gain the ability to edit our venue database (fixing incorrect addresses, adding Twitter accounts or marking places as “closed”, suggesting duplicate venues). In the future (sooon), you’ll also get access to the new “superuser tools” we’re building (e.g. merge venues, etc)… and someday (ah, someday) a crack at the “make your own badges” tools we’ve been talking about foooorrrrreeeever.
Anyway, for now, you’ll see that when you visit venue pages, you’ll see a little pencil icon for editing venues (address, crossstreet, etc) as well as marking places as “closed”. Small steps, but we’re getting there! :)
So that’s it for now - thanks for using foursquare! And thanks in advance for any fixin’-up you may do!
Today, any startup at all with a clear idea of how it will make money and grow seems worth talking about. So here’s one: Blazetrak, a site meant to connect emerging talent to existing talent. It’s set to launch Sept. 15, and I was fortunate enough to be invited to its preview party last night in Chelsea.
When he worked at a small record company, said co-founder Nate Casey, demo CDs would pile up, so the company started charging a fee for talent looking to submit the demo, figuring that would lower the volume. It ended up doing the opposite, he said: more demos started coming in, and the company developed a new stream of revenue that, I presume, could pay for the time it took to actually listen to the demos.
That’s the genesis behind Blazetrak, which now counts Grammy Award winning artist Big Boi as one of its first clients. “When Blazetrak met with [Outkast’s] Big Boi,“ said Casey, “he had a box of CDs, a CD player, and a shredder.” I imagine that’s about as efficient as it sounds—but Blazetrak is going to be streamlining this process
Reductively, Blazetrak works like this: A aspiring musician with a demo but no real industry connections signs up for a profile and chooses the Blazetrak professional client they want to have listen to the demo. The user pays for this service (the professional, not Blazetrak, set the rates), and in return get guaranteed feedback in 30 days. If this feedback is favorable, they can post it to their profile so other users can see it.
The industry types – and Blazetrak intends to forge partnerships with a lot of labels and well-known musicians – also get to post notices on what they need. Backup singer? Breakdancer? Beatboxer? Emerging talent can use the site to audition for work, and professionals can find talent quickly without using an intermediary.
The artists that use Blazetrak get paid for their time. So for example, if having Big Boi listen to your demo song and give feedback costs $300 (hypothetically speaking), Mr. Patterson himself gets 65 percent of the revenue, $195, and Blazetrak takes the rest of the cut. Payments are made through a PayPal-like interface; there’s no monthly or recurring fee to use the site.
“It’s important to realize that we’re not trying to create a community here. These are private profiles,” said Casey. The site also has a counter that lets users see where they are in the reviewers’ queues, so they know when to expect to see the feedback.
Casey said that future plans include groups pages for A&R teams, record companies, and big brands. Alyson Campbell, Blazetrak’s press contact, told me that the site won’t be limited to the music industry at all. She envisions extending it to other industries like fashion, entertainment, and business. Users are going to like the idea of guaranteed feedback from professionals they admire and respect in multiple industries who are virtually unattainable by other means, she said.
Since I wouldn’t dream of committing actual journalism here, I’ll now give a shout to a few familiar faces I saw at the preview party: Paint The Town Red’s Matt Caldecutt, Mediapost’s Kelly Samardak, Mashable’s Brett Petersel, New York Tech Meetup’s Nate Westheimer, publicist Tiffany Winbush, and Branded Evolution’s Dave Ford. Casey’s co-founders at Blazetrak are Corey Stanford and Ron Harrison.
And here’s the elevator speech:
The NYT’s Mark Mazzetti was a TA in my freshman year intro to public policy class in college. I don’t really know him beyond that, but he’s been doing some excellent reporting lately and today’s unsettling piece about the CIA outsourcing surveillance and planning operations to Blackwater was particularly good.