Category : Why we do what we do

ThingLink Launches Image Application Development Environment

We are today announcing the launch of our latest innovation, the Image Application Development Environment.  Announced on the eve of Hollywood Hack Day, this initiative will allow users to build branded applications and rich media tags that take advantage of ThingLink’s signature image embedding technology and Image Network.

Until now, users and image owners were required to approach ThingLink for a customized app solution to service their needs. By launching the app development environment, ThingLink is inviting developers to create fun and interesting applications that make interactive images more engaging and relevant.

Here are some of our existing Rich Media Tags and you can now make your own.

“We’re looking to empower developers with tools that engage audiences around images,” commented ThingLink CMO Neil Vineberg. “We also invite corporations and small businesses to build a presence on the ThingLink Image Network by creating branded applications and promotional content for their services.”

Prospective developers should visit www.thinglink.com/developer, where after a simple sign-in and approval process, ThingLink will provide instructions and access to sample code from a custom built app, including performance suggestions and compatibility and design tips.

First announced in June this year, ThingLink has brought a new dimension to images on the web via Rich Media Tags, transforming static images into navigational platforms. From hand-drawn artwork to professional photography, Rich Media Tags can be applied to any image, enabling the embedding of links from some of the world’s leading social content platforms such as YouTube, Spotify, Wikipedia, Twitter, Flickr, Facebook and many more.

For more information on creating Rich Media Tags or to learn more about opportunities to integrate with ThingLink, visit: www.thinglink.com.

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Salil Wilson – My Journey to ThingLink

By Salil Wilson

On first hearing about ThingLink (a Finnish based tech start up) I have to confess I was less than enthusiastic. Admittedly it was not the best introduction, it was over a meal with no demonstration. Just a good friend leaning forward and eagerly telling me rich media image tagging was going to be the next big thing.

It was one of those awkward moments where you know the person will be disappointed if you don’t respond with equal to or greater than the level of enthusiasm at which the information is being conveyed.

My initial thoughts were “What is rich media tagging?” and, “Why would you want to tag photos anyway?” (If you haven’t guessed I’m one of the 5 remaining people on earth who aren’t active on Facebook.)

I didn’t hear anymore about ThingLink from this fellow for about 2 weeks – he was obviously not fooled by my feigned interest. But, as with all evangalists, he couldn’t resist and sent me a link to the image below.
 

I was fascinated by this apparently quite a famous photo of the original Microsoft staff and all the extra information it contained thanks to ThingLink. I clicked on every single link and got a small sense of how each one of these people went on to live their lives – a little like a school graduation book. The next step for me, as it is for all ThingLink adopters, was to make my first ThingLink(ed) image. So I made one about the World Harmony Run – an event I organize and love.

It was very simple and great of fun. I could easily combine elements that would normally be beyond my reach or take hours of fiddling with html and ThingLink did it in a cleaner more functional and engaging way. (OK I’m not a web developer but neither are 99% of us).

I have since gone on to make quite a few ThingLink (ed) images and info-graphics and am even consulting for ThingLink. You can find many of these images at ThingLink and Learn. Here’s one below I’m quite proud of.

 

 

I continue to be surprised at how remarkably well ThingLink works – many times it does things that exceed my expectations. Just check out how well this Ipad info-graphic meshes with the Itunes rich media tags – I didn’t see that coming.

ThingLink is an idea whose time has come. It brings together many engaging elements of the web, combining them in a way where the whole is so much greater than the sum of its parts.

ThingLink has made me understand what mashup really is – and it is done really elegantly, after all what would you expect from those Finns.

Salil Wilson is Executive Director of the World Harmony Run – a global torch relay dedicated to World Peace. When he’s not running around the world with a torch he consults for ThingLink.

Visit the ThingLink team at the American Association of School Librarians 15th National Conference and ExhibitionBooth #330 – on October 27-30 in Minneapolis, MN.

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How to connect with ThingLink

Do you have a question, suggestion or are you just curious about what ThingLink is up to? Over the past year we’ve established channels which help you to get in contact with us whenever you want or need to. We have strived to listen to and help each and every one of our users and we will continue doing so. This is how you can reach us:

Facebook and Twitter. On our social networks we post new creatives examples and listen to any problems and suggestions you might have. Feel free to Like and Follow us to keep up to date with the latest.

Get Satisfaction: This is our support forum where you can find answers to most common issues that other users have encountered as well. If you have trouble installing ThingLink on your site, have a suggestion on how we could make the tagging tool better or you think that you’ve found a bug in our system, please submit a comment in our forum and we’ll respond.

ThingLink gallery: In our gallery you will find curated content created with ThingLink. We select the best tagged images for you, in order to show what you can do with our tagging tool and provide you with inspiration to do even better.

ThingLink’s blog: On our blog we post news about new features, hires and clients. If you like our posts, please leave a comment.

YouTube and Flickr: If you want to check out new features, instructions and pictures of ThingLink in action we upload much of our content here.

Discover our channels. Just hover and click.

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Album Covers Go Interactive With ThingLink

by Cortney Harding

Twenty years ago, I went to a record store in a mall in Clackamas, Oregon and bought a copy of Nirvana’s “Nevermind.” I tore the cellophane off the cassette and eagerly pulled out the packaging, looking at the photos of the three strange looking men with odd-colored hair and clothes fresh from the Goodwill. I wanted to know everything about them — based on that one image, I took trips to the library to read Rolling Stone, watched for their videos on MTV, and listened to that cassette until it wore out.

I wrote that extremely dated paragraph to prove a point — fans want to interact with artists based on images. And those most iconic artist images, their album covers, are key points of entry for many listeners. Luckily iTunes and Spotify haven’t destroyed album cover art — they simply made it another image to be shared and utilized.

ThingLink makes it easy for artists to transform an album image into a shareable container for music, videos and social connection. Now I don’t have to go to the library and page through back issues for more information on an artist. Inside an album image I can click on a link and read a blog post in a nanosecond. Ditto for waiting for a video to show up on the TV — just hit the YouTube link. And while listening to a new track once required waiting for radio to spin it, now it’s a matter of hitting a Soundcloud music player. And…well, you get the picture.

People, especially kids, still get excited about album releases. And what better way to connect news about the album with an interactive cover that contains music, video and more. In a way, it’s almost like going back to days of unfolding vinyl albums or CD booklets — people want to interact with the album art, but now they have an even deeper way to do it.

Take the cover of the recently announced Bruno Mars single, “It Will Rain,” which is also the lead track from the forthcoming Twilight soundtrack. The album cover shows Mars slouched beneath an umbrella and featured links to the Twilight trailer as well as his social media properties. It created the right mix of branding (rain, the umbrella) with an air of mystery — there was really no way to tell what the song was about, merely a call to keep following and figuring it out.

And what Mars’s team did is just the beginning. As I talked about in my previous post, a label could make a game out of spreading pieces of the cover and clips of a track around the web and asking fans to help put it together. Album announcements could feature a recorded clip from an artist with a special message that is changed daily, or pulled after 100 listens. Different pieces of the album art could feature different song clips.

 

The days of buying cassettes at the mall are long over (and thankfully, the associated hairstyles are lost to the ages, too) but the desire to interact with album artwork is as alive as ever.

Cortney Harding is a music evangelist for start-ups, including ThingLink and official.fm. She was previously the music editor and indies correspondent at Billboard magazine, and knows way too much about the music industry for any sane person. Follow her on Twitter or on Tumblr.

 

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ThingLink Launches e-Commerce Tags For iTunes And Topspin, Offers New Options For SoundCloud Users

ThingLink, the provider of in-image interaction tools and Rich Media Tags, today announced the creation of exclusive e-commerce tags for Apple Inc’s online retail platform, iTunes and independent artist promotional platform, Topspin. Artists hosting their music through wider audio creators platform SoundCloud can now also import third party ‘buy’ links to their profiles via ThingLink’s Rich Media Tag system.

From today, music artists and their promoters can embed ‘buy now’ links to iTunes or to a Topspin custom store in the images they use throughout the web. Any hosted image – from artist pictures, album cover art or event photography – can now be converted into an ad hoc music store, providing an innovative and engaging new method of getting new music into the hands of those who want it most.

“By providing an embeddable, direct route to purchase, ThingLink’s e-commerce tags remove another barrier between artists and fans looking to buy their music,” commented Neil Vineberg, ThingLink CMO. “As a team we’re keen to progress the conversation on how music retail is evolving, and teaming up with platforms of the calibre of iTunes, Topspin and SoundCloud can only help us to achieve that aim.”

First announced in June this year, ThingLink has brought a new dimension to images on the web via Rich Media Tags, transforming static images into navigational platforms. From hand-drawn artwork to professional photography, Rich Media Tags can be applied to any image and already allow the in-image embedding of links from some of the world’s leading social content platforms such as YouTube, Spotify, Wikipedia, Twitter, Flickr, Facebook and many more.

“We at Topspin are fans of any method of distributing artist offers, especially when the method is as simple and powerful as adding ‘buy now’ links to artist images,” says Ian Rogers, Topspin CEO. “Photos are a big source of traffic for artists, so it makes sense to attach links to artist offers and let those images travel the web.”

For more information on creating Rich Media Tags, visit ThingLink or check out out most awesome Music Guide instructing you how to make the most out of the service.

 

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Guest Post: Cortney on ThingLink

Going in to my first pitch as a consultant to ThingLink, I have to admit I was a little bit skeptical. Sure, it took about three minutes for me to be completely sold on the product — sitting in a freezing room at TechCrunch Disrupt in New York, I saw a demo and immediately wanted to be part of the team. But would my contacts in the music industry feel the same way? I had set up a nice handful of meetings to showcase the product, sure, but were these folks just doing me a favor because they knew me from my days as an editor at Billboard? What had I gotten myself into, anyway?

About ten minutes in to the meeting, I saw the label president’s eyes light up as she slowly said “this. is. so. cool.” And then I knew I had made the right choice.

We get that reaction a lot, and I joke that ThingLink is the dream client — the product is easy to use, free, and offers infinite possibilities. And people in the music industry are starting to see it that way, too, for the most part. I’m constantly excited by the level of creativity and thoughtfulness in the ThingLinked images labels and managers send me.

In some way, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. People in music are creative types, and if any artist ever tells you they aren’t concerned with and invested in their image, they are lying. Even those who cultivate an unwashed, slacker air, do so with the utmost care. Some, like Lady Gaga and Kanye West, are open about creating and manipulating their visuals, while others pretend not to mind (but you know they paid $200 for that perfect bedhead haircut, and those shredded Rogan jeans don’t come for free, either).

But once an artist had created the perfect visual and hired a great photographer to commit it to film, there was nothing else they could do with it. Until ThingLink. Now, an artist, label, manager, or publicist can take that perfectly crafted, often not-cheap-to-capture image, and use it as a jumping off point for telling a story, creating a puzzle, or driving commerce.

 

Storytelling:

Alex Damashek is great indie hip-hop manager, and used ThingLink within his own site to tell the stories of each of this artists. Where he previously had a list of links, Alex embedded audio, video, and links in photos of each of his artists and let ThingLink tell the tale. It’s a great way to get viewers to explore the page, click around, and listen and learn.

     

 

Commerce: Thanh Nguyen was an early adopter who understood the power of ThingLink and used it to drive interest in the new albums by Simple Plan and Shadows on Stars. He went so far as to have Simple Plan actually make a video explaining the product and driving users to play around and pre-order the new album. In the first few hours, the click through rate for the image was over fifty percent.

 

Social media:

Ed Kiang at Wind-Up is a digital genius, and used Thinglink to tag an image of Evanescence with links to all the band’s social media platforms. It was a great way to announce the band’s new album, get fans excited, and make sure they were aware of all the band’s online properties.

   

 

Ticketing and events: The new Eventbrite tag could be used to sell tickets to the event, as well as embedding video of the opening acts to get fans excited enough to come early and check them out. In the past, there were too many steps between seeing a poster for an event and actually buying a ticket, but with the Eventbrite tag, the process is seamless.

 

And I could go on and on, listing examples, but that seems like a cheap way to flesh out a post. And this is all the process of a summer’s worth of work — who knows what will happen in the next three months (six months, year)?

I think we’re just scratching the surface of what the music industry can do with ThingLink. One idea I’ve tossed around is to break an album cover into six parts, assign a clip of a new track to each, and then spread that all over the web for fans to find. The traffic could potentially go through the roof as fans tried to figure out the puzzle. ThingLink can also be used for announcements and brand partnerships — link up whatever a stylish artist happens to be wearing to an ecommerce platform and watch the fans click away.

Only a few months after that first, nerve wracking meeting, I’ve come to see the disruptive, amazing power of ThingLink for music. And, to quote that cheesy song you’ve heard way too many times, “we’ve only just begun.”

 

Cortney Harding is a music evangelist for start-ups, including ThingLink and official.fm. She was previously the music editor and indies correspondent at Billboard magazine, and knows way too much about the music industry for any sane person. Follow her on Twitter or on Tumblr.

Meet Cortney and the ThingLink team:
September 12th – San Francisco Music Tech Summit, Hotel Kabuki
September 13th – Tech Crunch Disrupt, San Francisco Design Center Concourse

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Why I Love ThingLink – On the Disruptive Potential of In-Image Linking

This post was originally featured  on the Tumblr of the newest member of our team, Jake Cox but we wanted to lift it up for all ThingLink users to see. The post not only presents Jake as a person but it also delivers a great vision of how we think about image tagging and its disruptive nature.

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Why I Love ThingLink – On the Disruptive Potential of In-Image Linking

Some estimates put the number of images online at over 90 billion as of early 2011.  At the same time, brands are starting to spend more ad dollars online than they are through traditional media channels.  The photo sharing and online ad spend trends are unlikely to reverse, given the near ubiquity and rapid adoption of internet and social media on the part of consumers globally.  For publishers, retailers, advertisers and consumers, in-image linking opens up new avenues for how we all interact with web content.  The image has become a platform for engagement.  This paper explores the implications of ThingLink in-image linking and discusses the businesses that are most well suited to capitalize on it.

 

Why I Love It

Publisher’s Perspective

Publishers have been relying on CPM, PPC and affiliate advertising, among others, but ThingLink opens up new revenue opportunities to anyone with a blog.  With the Savalanche and Amazon Associates partnerships, any publisher now has a checkout window within his or her blog.  Adding a layer of point-of-sale functionality to images will allow established affiliate partnerships to become much cozier, and it gives some leverage to publishers who would like to try some affiliate marketing. 

Fashion blogs, lifestyle blogs, you name it—every image you put on your site can now be a surface for advertisements.  If you’re a hotel and you want to give visitors to your site a unique experience, how about something like I’ve done below.  (Links are not for actual hotel products.)

 

You give anyone who visits your site the ability to buy your plush pillows or your Egyptian Cotton sheets—at once you make your brand seem more personal and you open yourself up to additional revenue streams.

Most importantly for publishers, every visitor becomes much more valuable.  As ThingLInk illustrates on its blog, the CTR for in-image advertisement links is between 1.5% and 5%: much higher conversion rates than the <1% CTR banner ads typically see.  In many cases the ThingLink number is 50X higher.  So for publishers who don’t choose to pursue affiliate marketing but prefer CPM campaigns, the number they demand can be much higher.

Also, musicians will absolutely love this product.  See below how the ThingLinkteam has enabled Youtube videos or SoundCloud songs to stream without navigating away from the photo.

Finally, ThingLink opens up all sorts of opportunities for destination branding.  Five minutes with Powerpoint and New Hampshire looks like someplace I’d consider visiting for some summer vacation time. (Though I’ve hardly done the idea justice.)  

This type of strategy could be employed by agencies with destination clients, or the destinations themselves could easily execute on something like this.  By making images interactive, ThingLink can bring something staid an entirely new life, and it’s all so easy to learn.

Writer’s Perspective

This point is certainly tied somewhat into what the publisher will experience, but Writer as profession is undergoing some major shifts today.  The free content on blogs diminishes readers’ necessity for buying a subscription to their favorite paper.  But ThingLink puts a little bit of power back in the hands of any wordsmith.

Including pictures with articles is an simple addition for writers, and it already makes their posts more engaging.  In the New York Times a few weeks ago, there was a story about how sugar consumption might lead to some types of cancer.  The author could have included in it something like the pic below, helping to tell the story.

Lets say you’re not a professional writer, but that instead you work in promotions.  There’s only so much text that potential customers are willing to read.  But pictures can attract a lot of attention, especially when the pictures have extra information inside of them.  Summer Stage promoters could use something like I’ve created below to help spread the word about the festival.

By putting music inside of pictures, you serve the double function of giving your reader more information as well as increasing the likelihood that people will show up at your event.  Bands and brands using ThingLink soon will have the ancillary benefit of positive PR from being an early adopter.

 

Retailer’s Perspective

Since ThingLink turns any image into a potential checkout window, savvy retailers will soon realize they can earn a windfall by placing images of their products on blogs.  Take golf balls, for example.     Let’s say your website sells golf balls, and you’re looking for ways to grow your business.  Why not partner with a photographer who can take amazing photos like the one from your author below.  The partnership would make sense as it might generate revenue for both parties.

Certainly one potential shortfall of broad ThingLink adoption is that photo owners might not want to taint their precious image with dots.  I think there are practical ways around this issue, but its worth pointing out that, as good of a tool as this is, there is some potential for hiccups.   Another interesting application for ThingLink involves restaurants.  People have sufficiently demonstrated that they appreciate food pictures.  So why not do something like the pic below.   Food reviewers can easily make their posts more engaging by putting the information that they don’t want to include in the actual post, inside the picture. Restaurants themselves can even utilize this technique for growing the brand.

 

Advertiser’s Perspective

Not that advertising agencies don’t have enough on their hands, but now that every one of the 90 billion images online has the potential to serve as an ad, I suspect agencies and freelancers will soon be offering “In-Image Linking Ad Solutions” to their clients.  The technology ThingLink brings to the table obviously opens up a massive stream of possibilities, and I am anticipating an ecosystem evolving around this platform.  ThingLink is building the infrastructure that will support a better way to advertise.

Average Internet User

Remember VH1’s “Pop Up Video”?  Well, ThingLink is sort of like Pop Up Video for images.  And just like that was hugely popular, this is going to be hugely popular.  And I think one of the biggest reasons is this: ThingLink makes browsing pictures more fun.

Of course, it’s impossible to say what the adoption curve will look like—will it be a hockey stick spanning this next decade?  Will it reach a plateau in the next year?  To me, both seem possible.  As with any social technology, becoming hugely popular depends on actual, real human beings using your product.  There’s going to be a learning curve for people to figure out how to best utilize this new tool, but I believe that a well-executed ThingLinked image is magnitudes better than a plain image, so the incentive is certainly there for people to figure it out.

Some anecdotal evidence shows that there might be an optimal number of links to include in an image.  About my ThingLinked images, a friend said to me, “When you scroll over a picture and see the dots pop up, it makes me want to scroll over each one to see what it says” [emphasis mine].  There’s a little cloak of mystery around the dots, so optimizing the number of dots we include will be part art, part science—balancing the desire to attract click-throughs with the knowledge that one link is good, two might be great, but 20 is overload.

“In Pop Up Video”, there were usually two or three Pop Ups per scene.  I imagine something in the 2-5 range will be optimal for most uses—and, as a consumer of internet, that’s the range that seems most likely to draw me in—but I could see some scenarios—submitting captions for a New Yorker cartoon, for example—in which the best ThingLink photos could contain dozens of links, especially when the publisher has allowed “Anyone to Edit” the tags.  (Readers, add your best caption to the image below and that would be awesome.  I will definitely give you an @ tweet if it’s good.)

Conclusion

Overall, if I’m a product analyst, I am recommending an investment in ThingLink.  For one, it makes the image browsing experience better.  Products that make the internet better for the average user tend to become fairly popular.  So I say the odds are good that ThingLink becomes fairly popular, and it’s important for all companies to answer the call when innovation rings.

There are tremendous business possibilities when you leverage the ThingLink economics.  I’ve outlined a few of those ways in the preceding paragraphs, but I’m sure I’ve only scratched the surface. Try it out and I think you’ll like it.

ThingLink turns images into an engagement platform.  Pretty cool.

[Find inspiration in the ThingLink Gallery]

 

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ThingLink: Engaging Students in Learning and Discovery

“I became a teacher because I wanted to make a difference in the lives of young people. I wanted to empower them to have a voice through creating, collaborating, and connecting,” writes Shannon Miller, a librarian, teacher, and technology specialist in her blog, Van Meter Library Voice.

ThingLink turns images into a platform for rich media. Educators and students can take any photo and add video and audio clips that play inside the image. You can also add Wikipedia links, Flickr images, annotations, and include social touch points like Twitter and Facebook.

Images now become a platform for creating, collaborating and connecting, because ThingLink images are far more engaging than static jpgs with viewers clicking through to content as high as 50% of the time.

Lets take an example from one of the key moments, or maybe The Key Moment in American history; The Declaration of Independence. John Trumbull’s famous painting –pictured below– is often identified as a depiction of the signing of the Declaration, but it actually shows the drafting committee presenting its work to the Congress. However, it’s rich with taggable content, and a great example of how ThingLink can be used as a fun participant/community driven educational tool.

“Tools like ThingLink “have potential for increasing our own productivity, for enhancing our teaching, for organizing our information resources and/or for helping students learn,” says Donna Baumbach who publishes WebTools4u2Use, a popular wiki for school library media specialists.

A large quantity of historical imagery is available for educational use without charge. Using images in education is a great way to get students to interact and enhance peer-to-peer learning. Let us say students in groups of two or more each choose an image filled with taggable content, research the image and tag it accordingly during a set period of time. They can then give the image over to another group who can further explore the image and learn about what the previous group created in the image. In the process a great deal is gained; learning to do research, using technology, spurring team work and last but not least, digesting the educational content in the image at hand.

 

Teaching and learning through images

Returning to the image above; as you can see, the tags have been used to virtually demonstrate not only the people behind the Declaration, but also provide the viewer with other rich media content, demonstrating there is only the limit of creativity. Not only does ThingLink make your teaching more fun, it helps establish two-way communication inside classrooms. Everyone can be a teacher and a learner with ThingLink. It can drive students into a concise, creative group, and help spur rich ideas and new interest by the dozens.

To use ThingLink, educators have to simply connect their website or blog. Tumblr blogs work great with ThingLink and they are easy, free and fast to set up. ThingLink tagging tool is provided at no cost, with an embeddable code to make all or individual images taggable. The installation takes a few minutes and is done by following the easy install instructions. You can also close and open images for tagging, i.e. enable anyone or no-one else but you to tag your images.

 

ThingLink Freemium account enables these features:

1) On-site tag editor: ThingLink tag editor lets you define interactive hotspots inside an image — from a THING (an object, a person, or a place) to a LINK (a site with more information, a blog post, or anywhere you like). The editor works on your own enabled site as long as you are logged in to ThingLink.

2) Easy Sharing: ThingLink makes images shareable: anyone can share a favorite image via Twitter, Facebook and email, and embed them on websites and blogs with tags.

3) Image community: ThingLink provides real-time statistics on user interaction with images. We measure image and tag-specific views, hovers, and clicks. This helps you evaluate the successfulness of interacting with you participants, i.e. students.

Thinglink could be a good way to have students take group blogging to a new level. Students working on a group blog could upload images then work together to add more information to the blog post in the form of image tags,” suggests Richard Byrne in his popular blogFree Tech for Teachers.

 

Lets sum up why ThingLink is so great for education:

  • Free of charge for educators;
  • Easy and fun to use;
  • Involves two-way communication;
  • Spreads information through social networks;
  • Everyone can be a teacher and a learner;
  • Community- and participant-driven; and
  • Can be used for either an ongoing forum or one-time exchange.

ThingLinktag, explore, and learn.

How could you and your students benefit from using ThingLink in your educative work? Here is an evolving document with tips and interesting reflections from teachers using the tagging tool in their work. Thank you @AuntyTech for creating the document and engaging our community.

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ThingLink expert comment: Tools for Your Band

We invited tech public relations guru and musician Neil Vineberg to reflect upon his work with ThingLink and the benefits the tagging tool has for bands and music agencies. Enjoy.

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As an indie artist with a #1 world music CD, “Sacred Love,” I know first-hand the challenges faced by artists seeking to successfully promote music and engage fans online.

Do it yourself musicians today need know social media, digital rights management, distribution, touring and other fields of expertise to really compete. What’s exciting is that many of the tools and platforms now available to musicians allow them to operate their brand just like a record label.

The challenge for artists remains knowing the nuances of these often complex tools, how they work and and how they might best integrate together. That’s why I was honored to represent ThingLink on the Tools for Your Band panel at the recent San Francisco MusicTech Summit with J. Sider from RootMusic, Jaunique Sealey from Atom Digital, Josh Builder from The Orchard, Christopher LaRosa from YouTube and moderator Jolie O’Dell from Mashable.

My colleagues and I spoke about platforms and successful promotion strategies. I also shared my perspective as an artist and how I used some of the tools in my tool box.  Most artists I talked to agreed that photos are probably their most valuable marketing and branding tool, next to their actual music. So imagine if you could make your photos 10 to 50 times more engaging with fans?

That’s where ThingLink came into the conversation. We turn images into a platform for smart, in-image tags to your music, video, social media touch points, fan site, band site and points of purchase.  Everywhere you want a fan to go to experience your music, can be added INSIDE an image. So the image is much more than just a really great asset for a band. It’s now an interactive engagement tool. And one of the most powerful ones in your took box.

When your creative assets are bundled inside your photos, you’ll see fans engaging, because we also give you a social dashboard to track image views, hovers and clicks. And you’re likely to see click-through-rates that will be music to your ears.

After you set up an account at ThingLink, RT me @nvineberg and maybe we can feature you in our music gallery.

 

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Photographer of the month: Markus Henttonen

As a great fan of professional photography, ThingLink has teamed up with Viewmasters, one of the best Scandinavian photo agencies, to introduce outstanding photographers each month. This means from now on our front page features photos by new artists who will tell the story behind their images.

It is our belief that the primary benefit of image tagging is to enrich the viewer’s browsing experience, not to fill it with advertisement. A nice example of this kind of rich browsing is the discovery of details and secrets behind professional photography.

This month on we’re featuring images by photographer Markus Henttonen, who we asked to select three of his favorite shots, and tag them with information about what is going on in the images and what was his inspiration.

Markus Henttonen
Markus’ interest in photography started with skateboarding, out of a need for better images of a passion he loved, and he learned the craft from the bottom up. His studies at the Turku Arts Academy was followed by stints at different agencies and he now works a freelancer photographer. He has travelled and resided in Rio de Janeiro, Barcelona as well as in Finland working as a photographer for both editorial and commercial assignments, while also focusing on personal projects. His series, Night Time Stories, got second prize at the International Biennale of Photography in Russia in 2009, and he has been nominated for the Fotofinlandia Prize 2011.

What inspires you?
“For me the world is a confined space, in which there exists different visual rhythms and compositions. I always start with the location and then try to find the models for it. It is the environment and how people find their place in it that is interesting to me.”

What are your views on in-image tagging?
“It is interesting, since you get more information about the photo and it can be used in versatile ways. Of course it could be distracting on some images but it does contribute to them.”

Markus tagged three of his favorite images:

Rooftop Party, 2008 from the Night Time Stories series

 

Platja d´es Codolar, 2004 from the To Be On View series

 

Wall # 1 from the New York series

 

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