The story of the App – by MC Skibadee
A number of months ago, I was trying to give a promoter my details so we could hook up online. Like most serious music artists, I have joined all of the main social sites, music sites, video sites and music networks as they sprung up. As an MC I have been at the top of the game for over a decade and have so many profiles set up around the internet, I was losing track of what material and content was where. It was taking hours and hours each week keeping everything updated…. I turned to the promoter and simply said, “you can find me on Facebook, drop me a message.”
It is hard to imagine how many times a similar conversation goes on every day, but it is fair to say, ‘hooking up on Facebook’ is now the most common way of connecting to people. For keeping track of friends, family and general acquaintances, this is proving to be one of the defining phenomenon of our generation, but for music artists, it is proving to be a bit of a nightmare…. simply because most music artists want to be seen where the largest audience is, but facebook does not distinguish between a serious musician wanting to project a carefully cultivated professional presentation of their image, music or videos and a spam crazy teenager, determined to show the world his hairy rear end poking out of a car window.
I have built my success on always being one step ahead of the rest; my career has spanned an amazing 15 years, from the very birth of Drum and Bass, through to its current status as one of the biggest music genres of the day. My Facebook Fan page is about as good as anyone’s and has attracted over 20,000 ‘likes’ or fans. However, the simple problem of trying to make my profile look great whilst being effective in linking to my fans was proving just about impossible. Since the demise of the Facebook ‘groups’ which allowed me to message my fans with upcoming releases, gigs and videos, the only way I could get information out was to post it on my wall, which would be visible for an hour or two if I was lucky before all the other random posts would drive the important post further and further down the page. My only way of publicising links to other social networks such as Twitter, Blogs or even YouTube was to put the links onto my Info page and hope that people would take the time to fund them. More frustratingly, I have spent large amounts of money on photo shoots and my image, only to find that anyone could tag my name into a picture and it would appear alongside my own images often replacing them in priority. Flyers can be tagged with my name in for events that I am not involved in as unscrupulous chancers take advantage of every loop hole in Facebook’s platform to piggy back their marketing onto my name and profile. I needed a solution.
A friend of mine introduced me to a group of innovative web developers, who were working on a number of projects for record labels, mostly concerned with producing user friendly and effective viral marketing tools for music promotion. After the very first meeting, it became clear that I was not the only artist searching for an answer to the many problems facing musicians with a minefield of options and opportunities for online promotion, so a team of developers was put together for me by the team at Basepage and we set out to produce the world’s first custom Facebook App designed specifically for music artists that would effectively connect all of the myriad of social network sites and music platforms through a simple, easy to use and interactive portal. Using myself as the guinea pig, we took days scouring the internet for all of the sites where my biography, music, flyers and videos had been posted or linked to. With such a body of work and history in the music scene, it was quite a task and amongst other things, I was amazed to find I had now got a page on Wikipedia as well as several specific websites set up by my fans. It also became clear, that over the years, my image had developed a life of its own, with fans amateur snapped pictures often being featured on sites instead of my press or official pictures. It was decided as part of the whole process of producing a unique App for me, there should be an App experience, which involved a studio photo shoot, new logo, individual and creative image design as well as a full video interview, to create the exact content that I wanted to be my online presentation. If something is worth doing, it is worth doing well.
As the project developed, I was able to advise on the things that were proving frustrating to me as an artist, help design the look, the functions and the overall functionality of the App. It was decided that the App should have features that combined all of the big platforms. A controllable audio player which proved so successful with MySpace, a video player to match YouTube, flash picture and image technology, simple link buttons to other social network sites such as Twitter, simple and direct links to iTunes and digital music retail sites, clear biography sections, a facility to sell merchandise, latest tracks and show featured videos along with event flyers, information and direct contact links to management and booking agents. In short, we set our sights on producing a mini and effective website that would not only be able to be fully functional on Facebook, but also be able to take advantage of all the benefits of the modern viral marketing age. The Basepage App was born. The name Basepage was adopted for the APP as it perfectly sums up the solution I was looking for. No longer do I have to give out a huge list of various sites and URL’s to people who want to link up with me or simply check out my music and videos. In fact, now, I simply tell everyone to check out www.MCSkibadee.com, this points directly to my Facebook Basepage App and shows anyone who is interested, everything they would ever need to see about me. My past, present and future, my music, my videos, my awards, my pictures from throughout my career, my reviews, all of my network links along with my contact details for bookings or messages. It is perfect for fans who want to support me, they simply add the Skibadee App to their profiles and the viral marketing begins.
Perhaps the most important thing about the Skibadee App is that it was designed and developed in the spirit that I have always held dear. It is for music lovers by a music lover. I said in a recent interview, ’It is all about keeping one step ahead, not just going with the flow, but being bold enough to be the first and be innovative." I have launched the Basepage App as my solution to the problems facing musicians and artists in their quest to be heard above the ever increasing noise. It has been decided that every App will be individually designed and created specifically for each artist. With this fresh and innovative App, once again, I have set a benchmark, and given something else to the UK music scene which has been so good to me over the years. I truly hope it gives other artists an opportunity to achieve the success they are looking for in terms of getting their music heard.
To view the video for the making of the Basepage Facebook App click the link below
Bearing the mantle of ‘the most innovative personality in Drum & Bass’, MC Skibadee has never been one to rest on his laurels; constantly pushing creative boundaries, his high-energy technique has safeguarded his dominance of the MC scene for over ten years, continually surging from strength to strength due to a consistent desire to incorporate fresh ideas in his work. His work on the mic began in 1994, once again indebted to the mighty Kool FM for early exposure thanks to a show co-hosted with DJ Wildchild. A novel presence on the airwaves, unprecedented phone-line response materialised for his shows and paved the way for ascendancy to the club arena, soon featuring regularly at events including Thunder & Joy, Spirit Of The Jungle and eventually City Sound Radio. By the end of 1995 he could list residencies for Kool FM, Fever, Thunder & Joy, Malachite, Electrybe, NJC, designer label Ball and Innersense amongst his repertoire.
Famed for his collaborative efforts over the years, Skiba’s first union of note formed in 1997 alongside MC Det; a freestyle project born of somewhat fortuitous circumstances, it was effectively the product of two Hip-Hop fanatics applying their Drum & Bass flow over Hip-Hop beats to achieve a double-time effect. Their single and subsequent video was a huge success, having been playlisted on both MTV and The Box and reaching number 3 in the latter’s chart for a number of weeks. Elsewhere Skibadee gained notoriety for his lethal partnership with MC Shabba under the ‘SAS’ moniker, a pairing widely acknowledged to transform the vibe of any rave when stepping up. Forming MC Convention in 2000 gave them a platform to push the vocal side of Drum & Bass to a more dedicated audience, choosing seminal venue Stratford Rex as the spot where it would all kick off and eventually gain notoriety.
In 1999, he notched up the first of what would eventually number three Knowledge Magazine awards for Best MC; the years have also seen him pick up three Accelerated Culture awards, a breadth of achievement totally unparalleled in his field. Fast forwarding into the new millennium, three more awards found their way onto Skibadee’s mantelpiece including the Muzik 4 You Best MC, 1Xtra Best MC and South West Drum & Bass awards respectively, leaving the man with a total of nine top level honours by 2007. Ever aware of a self-imposed pressure to keep innovating, the impetus was there for fresh influence and so the ‘Uncontrolabelz’ (UNCZ) clique was born under Skiba’s careful stewardship. With members comprising DJ Ruffstuff alongside MC’s Fun, Harry Shotta and Skiba himself, the brand soared into the stratosphere and by 2008 their sound was ubiquitous on the scene, tearing up dances including Innovation, Slammin Vinyl, Breakin Science and more.