Category Archives: Tool Reviews

Soundcite

SoundCite is a program created by Tyler Fisher and Jeremy Gilbert out of Northwestern University.  It is a program that allows audio files to be attached to text in online news articles and websites.  This is a free, online program that is very simple to use and works using online sources like SoundCloud; as well as sources that are already stored on your computer either as MP3 files or as Ogg files.  It is also very user friendly, and requires little to no knowledge of code to use.  This is a completely unique program, no other programs attach audio files to text in this way (not to mention it is free), and offers a wide array of possibilities for arts organizations to utilize its features.

Image of the SoundCite logoNorthwestern University. “Soundcite.”  2013. Knightlab.

Online news articles are currently the sources that are utilizing this technology the most, and they are using it in a variety of ways.  With this Washington Post article, SoundCite is used to play a line from a song, and it is directly embedded in the text of the lyrics.  Another example of a journalistic organization using this technology is this  Pro Publica Article but in this case it is used to recite audio clips from testimonials given from people being interviewed.  Arts Organizations are not currently utilizing this technology but the potential for using it and the effect would definitely be positive.  It could be used on museum websites to play music from a time period of a piece of art; or it could be used at museum websites dedicated to specific people that could play sound files of speeches or other notable sounds from the time period.  Musicians could use this to have audio of their playing in their biography for a more streamlined website. For example, if they wanted to post an audio file of their percussion ensemble music, they could do so with this online application.

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Live Note

Live Note is an App for Android and Iphone that enhances the users experience while seeing a performance with the Philadelphia Orchestra. The app was created by a member of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and itself is free but they heavily encourage you to get a subscription and become a friend of the Philadelphia Orchestra through the app which I think is a very powerful marketing tool. Live Note is particularly useful because of its ability to expand the audience of a performance. While in the past, some may have believed that classical music was something only the wealthy could enjoy or understand entirely, Live Note changes the game. The app follows the live performance and has a score that you can follow along with to see what the musicians are looking at, a history of the piece being performed, as well as in some occasions, a live feed of a principle player in the orchestra performing. Using this app can help the orchestra continue to increase ticket sales as well as help reach an audience never touched by this music previously. This app has helped increase revenue for the Philadelphia Orchestra by widening their scope of audience. Since the birth of LiveNote, ticket sales for the Philadelphia Orchestra have increased by 33% Although the app is newer, and the design is lack luster, the app works flawlessly.

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Jason Spantank “Working With LiveNote” 10 October 2015

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  Other orchestras and even museums should use this tool during their performances/ in their galleries. This tool helps an organization increase their revenue as well as customer experience and interaction. Making an app that functions and looks the part can be at times expensive, so this would be a tool used by a more established organization as opposed to a start up of some kind. Wolf Trap has used an app that is similar to this one in operations (Note Tracker), but pales in the sense of functionality and practicality.

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WeChat

What is WeChat?

Here is a brief introduction:

 

General introduction:

‘WeChat’ is the most popular phone app in China. It has very powerful functions which include: text messaging, hold-to-talk voice messaging, broadcast (one-to-many) messaging, video chat, video games, and share photographs and videos to other people, and location sharing. It also can add new friend via Bluetooth, scan the QR code, by other people’s recommendation. It also has machine translation service which makes people communicate in different languages.

In China, users can link their bank account information may to this app, so that they can pay bills, order goods and services; it also can transfer money to other users, and pay in stores if the stores have WeChat payment option.

 

Use for organization:

This APP is not only used by individual, but also can be used for companies or organizations for business or work.

  • WeChat for internal work: WeChat has an enterprise version used for companies. It helps employees separate work from private life. In addition to the usual chat features, the program lets companies and their employees keep track of annual leave days and expenses that need to be reimbursed, employees can ask for time off or even clock in to show they are at work. People can build a group chat that include your coworkers, also can use this do video chat and files transform.
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    Group Video Chat
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    File Transfer
  • WeChat for public promotion: Except individual social media, WeChat is also a great platform for companies, public organizations as their marketing tool. People can subscript an arts organization official account by searching or scanning QR code. The articles of public account, like other subscriptions, as in a specific period of time to push the contents to your WeChat page. Just like a mailman drop the daily newspaper into your smart phone. For instance, a museum can publish their exhibition information, artworks introduction or their lasts news for people who interested. When people click the page, they will find a blog-like page with several catalogues. Organizations can edit their own catalogues by their demand.

 

Example (The Metropolitan Museum of Art):

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Overall, WeChat is a platform with unlimited potential, not only for individuals, but also for art organizations, and even all businesses. Through WeChat, art institutions can be targeted to provide the latest art information to the public; as subscribers, access to these messages becomes more easy, convenient and targeted.

If you have interest in WeChat and want to learn more, here are some videos on Youtube:

 

 

Google Arts & Culture

by Kelsey Johnson

Google Arts and Culture allows users to virtually tour museums and galleries and curate their own collections. The virtual gallery tour is like the endlessness of Google Maps, where perspective allows visitors to virtually walk-through and explore details that might be missed in person. The images are captured with one gigapixel resolution, and has enabled individuals to have visual access to arts and culture where physical experience is not an option. Participating museums include the Met, Tate Gallery, Hong Kong Museum of Art, the Sydney Opera House, Ford’s Theater. (For other fun stuff, here’s frogs, and here’s The Wyoming Dinosaur Center.)

Anyone with a Google account already has access to Google Arts and Culture and it is free to use. Visitors can also take field trips, explore and browse by country, artist, movement, and historical figuresevents, or by medium. Arts Organizations can participate by curating their own collections, and becoming part of the international discussion on Arts and Culture. It is unknown how Google selects their partners, or how to apply. Unfortunately, it is difficult for organizations to use the tool on their own websites, and there are limitations on how much power Google gives to the individual organizations. But, nowhere else on the web is there such a comprehensive virtual experience as Google Arts & Culture.


For Google Arts & Culture, click here.
Watch a TED talk by Amit Sood, one of the creators of Google Arts and Culture here.
Finally,watch a behind-the-scenes video of the Google Streetview Team capturing the White House Virtual Tour.


Mautic

 

Mautic is a marketing automation software that provides detailed contact tracking along with powerful contact nurturing tools to help an arts organization organize their marketing campaigns. Mautic can do social media marketing, contact management, email marketing, make forms, engage campaigns and make reports. Most important, Mautic is a totally free software.

Mautic automates the process of finding and nurturing contacts through landing pages and forms, sending email, text messages, web notifications, tracking social media, and integrating with your CRM and other systems. For example, when a new visitor comes to your organization’s website, an IP address is comes with the visitor together. Nothing more at the beginning, but you can get some basic geographic data. Visitors browse pages on your website, eventually landing on a special page with a call-to-action form. This form collects a few bits of information, such as name and email address. You may have a contact segment setup to capture these visitors and add them to a specific campaign. These campaigns will send emails, post on social media, and other actions based on either specific times or user interaction. This known visitor is gradually becoming a contact. As this contact completes various actions, you give them points. These points help you to weight your contacts and see which ones are hot. Once a contact earns a certain amount of points they are automatically moved into your CRM or other system. Now you have a list of contacts you can confidently know are ready to be directly contacted.

Above all, Mautic as a free marketing software can help arts organizations target audiences, send emails and make reports, etc. Mautic is easy to use and it is a good choice to help arts organizations to make their marketing process better.

Vampr

Vampr Logo
“Vamper.me”. 3 March 2017. http://www.vampr.me/assets/img/vampr-logo.png

 

The app I reviewed was a free app called Vampr. I had never heard of this app before, but approaching this assignment I wanted to research and discover an app that can help with collaboration between musicians. Through my research and testing of this app I found that the developer of the app, Josh Simons, developed this app to help speed up the networking process of musicians. This app helps speed that up because it puts a lot of the information you would want to know about an individual in one place. Josh Simons, says that his mission for this app is to “connect musicians of all genres with like-minded collaborators in any city around the world.” He wants the app to be able to connect all likeminded musicians to give everyone optimal opportunities.

The layout of the app was not what I expected when I first opened it. The layout and function of the app is similar to Tinder and dating apps like that. When you open the app a musician’s profile opens. First you see a picture of thePROFILE.pngm with their name, what they do, and what musical genres interest them. Then if you click on their profile it pops up with YouTube, or SoundCloud recordings of them performing, their bio and some of their favorite artist and styles. If you decide you are interested in collaborating with this musician you can swipe to on them pass or  swipe to connect with them. The Down fall is you must wait to see if they want to connect with you to message them. Not being able to message the artist without them matching with you is a weak spot in the app. For example, if an arts organization is looking for local musicians they could use this app to find local talent, but if they must wait for the other party to swipe on them this could lead to missed opportunities for the musician and the organization. If the developers updated that one function of the app I see a lot of potential for the app and I see it being very useful for arts organizations.

Scurces

://www.tunecore.com/blog/2016/06/interview-josh-simons-on-vampr-the-new-collaboration-app-for-artists.html

Periscope

Periscope is a free application that is accessible for smart phones and online. Periscope was created with the intent of sharing experiences visually around the world. Directly from their website, they state that “a picture may be worth a thousand words, but a live video lets us explore the world together.” Periscope has direct links to Twitter, and many similarities. Periscope is essentially a live video format of Twitter. Many popular applications have adapted and created a “live” feature lately, most notably Facebook. But Periscope differs because it is strictly visual, that is its purpose and that’s why users have it. They want to see these people that they are following along with news, events and experiences around the globe.

Tyler Hansen. “iOS Media Banner.” 2016. https://www.periscope.tv/press

Periscope is easy to gain access to. You can directly link it with your twitter account if you have one, your email, or just your phone number on your smart phone. There is a trending/popular page so you can see big experiences that are currently happening, you can also search for specific people or companies, as well as by locations around the world or certain categories. It is incredibly accessible, and if you miss the live stream, the videos are also saved. They don’t disappear, so you can see feed that is live, or has already happened. Periscope can be used to document what is currently happening in any part of an arts organization. It’s like an all access application where users can see the behind the scenes or backstage. They can see all the components of what makes art happen.

Arts organizations are using this tool to help give first hand experiences to their followers. I was specifically looking at theaters and they use it primarily to show how their productions are coming along in order to market for it and build hype. They show rehearsals, design elements coming together and quick little shout outs from the company. The Public Theater is one that I follow that was especially good at doing this, they even went as far to show snippets of shows. (Click Public Theater to connect with their channel on Periscope.)

My experience was great, there’s a lot of room for curiosity. I enjoyed my experience on the phone app much more. It offered more room for searching and categories for specific places.

 

 

A thumbs up from Facebook

Facebook Analytics

Facebook Analytics is a tool built into Facebook which allows you to track the number of visitors, as well as a variety of other things, to your Facebook page. This tool is incredibly useful for arts organizations as it allows them to gauge and tweak, if needed, they’re social media presence, particularly on Facebook. Facebook analytics is included with Facebook and is therefore free. The most useful aspect of Facebook analytics is the depth and detail that is provided by the analytics. Facebook provides users with both overall and post-by-post statistics on their page. The number of statistics provided is astounding and nearly overwhelming. Thankfully, Facebook also provides the user with a much simpler interface as well as the back end, exported statistics that can be downloaded into an excel spreadsheet. The front end statistics are much more basic than these back end ones, however still offer some use. This tool is similar to a number of different analytical tools from other social media platforms, such as Pinterest’s analytics, Google analytics, and also Twitter analytics, however the depth provided by Facebook analytics is only rivaled by Google. Additionally, Facebook analytics is the best analytical tool for Facebook as it is provided by Facebook itself.

 

In all, Facebook analytics is an extremely useful tool for any arts professional who operates a Facebook page. The tool allows for an arts professional to plan a social media plan with ease and offers a myriad of statistics.

MyEmma logo screenshot

MyEmma

MyEmma is an online based email service which is used by various organizations to distribute email to a large audience. The tool is useful for an arts organization as it provides the organization a way to keep their stakeholders aware. The service can be used to distribute different mailings including newsletters, calls for artists, show information and donation solicitations. MyEmma requires a user to register for the service and is also a paid for service. The base level of MyEmma costs $89.00 a month while the plus and premium versions cost $369.00 and $779.00 a month respectively. The plus version allows for more contacts as well as advanced services while the premium version offers even more contacts and access to experts at MyEmma. MyEmma is similar in nature to a number of different tech tools including ConstantContact and MailChimp.

screenshot of analytics
MyEmma’s analytics dashboard

MyEmma attempts to set itself apart from its competition through a more user friendly interface as well as better analytics for each email sent out. The most useful aspect of MyEmma is its in depth analytics. The analytics from MyEmma provide a complete but also easy to understand review of each mailing and an overall score which compares your mailing to the industry average. Other useful things about MyEmma include its simple address book and its scheduling service.

MyEmma mailing screenshot
A sample mailing from MyEmma

Examples of this tool’s use include a number of organizations which use this for monthly mailings. One such example is the Torpedo Factory Arts Center which sends out a number of items, including newsletters and call for artists, through MyEmma. In all, MyEmma puts itself above other mail services through its easy to use design tools and analytics.