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Musical Exchanges:Where the Music Industry goes to Network

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Musical Exchanges is a social network that allows musicians to network, collaborate and support each other globally. The start-up which is based out of Birmingham, UK was created by music industry veterans Colin Tippin & Vince O’Malley. Last week I had a chance to Skype with Colin about his new venture, his music career, and collaborating in the near future.

What is your background?
There are two directors, Colin Tippin & Vince O’Malley.

I have been playing lead guitar professionally and semi-professionally for 35 years. I have toured extensively and appeared at festivals and on TV and radio . Most notably I toured with Roy Wood (The Move, Electric Light Orchestra, Wizard).

Vince has been a guitar tech for 25 years. He tours with several bands all over the world.

Between us we have experienced every joy and every disappointment the music business can deliver. We have a root and branch understanding of the industry.

Where did the idea to create Musical Exchanges come from?
We wanted to create a place where anyone connected to the music business could come for support, to chat, to compare experiences, to collaborate. The inexperienced can ask the experienced, and the experienced can guide the up-and-coming – a music family home. Our idea was to include all genres, geographical areas, all age groups and abilities.

We liked the idea of Facebook but didn’t like the trivia and mindless notices that appear all the time. We thought that we could create a similar environment where everyone was related by music and where the chat and discussions and blogs were all based on musical issues and/or topics. We also thought that we could build a series of free tools specially created for the music business, such as the multi-band diary management and notification system.

Why would you encourage any artist or music industry professional to use your platform?
MX is the place to keep informed and to inform others of your latest music news and gossip. It provides a fast and accurate communication system which keeps you and your Groups informed and in tune. It’s Facebook and eHarmony for the music industry – all in one place. New features and other free stuff is being added all the time.

Phases three and four are in the research & development stage at the moment and when launched will be one of the most innovative, advanced and ground-breaking facilities the industry has ever seen.

I noticed that you refer to Musical Exchanges as an E-Harmony for the music business. Can you explain the similarities?
We wanted to create a place where musicians could recruit band members or bands could find players, singers, songwriters, arrangers, session people, technicians, hire firms, tutors, management, merchandise and all of the other support functions. The existing sites tend to only cater for musicians, they are text-based (which takes hours to trawl through) and they are scattered across several sites. We didn’t think they worked particularly well. MX Recruit really does work like a dating site – it compares and matches profiles. Subscribers can use the unique filter system to find matches based on criteria such as location, ability, availability, age, genre, instrument type etc. Advertisers’ photos and video content can be seen and a shortlist made of those potentially suitable for contact later. This enables an MX’er to effectively audition a potential match BEFORE they make contact.

What are some of the challenges that you currently or facing?
The main challenge is choosing what to offer MX’ers next. We have so many plans and ideas that its hard for our developers to keep up with them.

Where would you like to see Musical Exchanges at in the next five years?
There is no doubt that from man’s earliest appearance on the planet, music has played a vital part in our development. Music is in our DNA. Music accompanies every single event we experience, a birth or a passing, a victory or a loss, a celebration, inauguration, a sporting event, the lobby and the elevator, the movies we watch and every commercial during breaks – our world is full of it.

Can you imagine collaborating online with musicians in Japan, or swapping a home town gig in Dallas with a band in Washington? How about finding a French management company flying in their band for a North American tour which is in need of a support band? Or finding a distributor for your niche music in New Zealand or Singapore? We want to make MX your home for the music communities across the world. From school orchestras to Bhangra bands, marching jazz bands to traditional far eastern folk, hip-hop and rock we want to be your home.