Thursday, April 3, 2014

Sonatribe Alpha

Alpha = release to friends and family!

Sonatribe has been a long time coming! We started the project as FestivalStar around 2009 in a kind of accidental, off the cuff development. Back then it was an iPhone app that supported multiple festivals which did quite well on the AppStore. Since then we've scrapped the iPhone app (for now) had a change of direction, a complete redesign and after about 4 iterations (and 5 years!) later we're about ready for an alpha release! Sonatribe is built by Chris, Stu and myself. We've been hacking away at this in our spare time so it's been a long and windy road.

The alpha that we're releasing is by no means the end product. We've got the project to a state where we have a small, manageable set of features we hope will be useful to festival goers. Sonatribe development is a constant ongoing thing and we'd like to generate a feedback loop from our users where by we shape the site and it's features based on this feedback loop. At the moment we have the skeleton to be able to provide you a small set of tools to socialize and plan your festival experience. By using the site we can get an idea of your likes in terms of music genres and can provide you recommendations for bands/DJs and events you might not have heard of before.

We've teamed up with clashfinder.com to provide lineup data (we have our own lineup designer in the backend too which we feed back to clashfinder). We've also integrated with Last.fm to provide artist information.

So what do you get? Like I said, it's early days but at the moment you can browse festivals, see the lineups for the festivals, create your own schedule, view act information (where they've played, where they're playing, bio, images etc), create a "campsite" and invite friends to it. When you have a campsite you get a private place to chat and a group schedule. You also get a (at the moment - very simple) profile page like any social network with private messaging.

We've built Sonatribe from scratch to be exactly what it is - a social network for festival lovers. We've not shoehorned any blogging platform to create it. We have complete flexibility in it's future direction and a metric ton of ideas for features and goodies. There's no advertising and we have no intention of splattering the site with any. We're not sure how the site will pay for itself as yet but we want to keep it as clean and user friendly as possible.

At this stage sonatribe.com is an alpha release and so you shouldn't expect it to be a complete and finished product. There will be some workflows that could be better, some of the site may seem a little slower than we'd like and somethings might just fail! There might be some features you'd like to see and some you'd like to tweak. All of your feedback is valuable and will help shape the project as it matures.

How to provide feedback: On the right hand side of the site there is a tab you can click to provide feedback. If you want to be notified of progress via email you can join the sonatribe-users email list: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/sonatribe-users
How to access the site: You can get to the site at: [You'll be provided the super secret URL!] - you will need a Twitter, Google or Facebook account to login.

Rules of the road:
  • You can invite some friends, we'd like to get some real world usage. 
  • We might have to cap new members at some point while we work out the inevitable creases but for now we'd just like to get the site working through it's paces. 
  • If you're going to a festival that isn't listed just pop us an email, get in touch using the "Feedback and support" tab.
  • This is an alpha, things might go wrong for you, if anything dodgy happens please let us know and we'll be able to make the site more stable using your feedback.
And finally, we aren't affiliated with anyone, nor do we claim to. If you're a festival organizer we'd love to hear from you. Our intention is to provide a means for users to discover your events and help build your community. We're building tools to help you manage your events and interact with your community which we aim to provide for free.

Looking forward to receiving your feedback!

Wayne, Chris, Stu