Words by Kinch Kinski
Photography supplied by Evan Read
EatNoise is a social networking site for musicians, venues and fans to connect over live music. The site is slowly gaining users in Melbourne with Dan Waters, Ayleen O’Hanlon and Broads among the early adopters. EatNoise founder Evan Read spoke to Melbourne Guru about his global vision for the site.
“There wasn’t much like it at the time it started (2009),” Read says.
“There was Myspace . . . but it wasn’t a good gig guide and the gig guides you did have were just for band listings — there was no link to a profile, no access to their music or video clips.”
By combining social interaction and a gig guide EatNoise enables punters to make educated decisions about unheard bands by clicking through to a profile with songs, videos and links to other social media content.
On the other side of the equation bands can interact with fans minus the clutter of a Facebook feed, plus post about upcoming gigs and news. Read is also committed to keeping the site completely free to use, in contrast to Facebook where bands might have to pay to reach a larger audience.
Venues can also get involved with their own profile pages, photos and gig listings.
The key function of the site though, is to act as a super-charged gig guide.
“What Bandcamp is for recorded music — EatNoise is for live music”, Read says.
He hopes that this guide will eventually have a global reach; a reach that would give travelling musicians a consistent platform to use across countries.
“It’d be great for fans as well,” says Read.
“Who’s playing in New York? Who’s playing in Los Angeles? Oh, so you’re in New York and you like these bands? — it’ll give you suggestions.”
EatNoise has taken some time to get to its current form. The first release was too simple; the second too cluttered — a happy medium was needed. “The second (version) was way too ambitious, so we took it back to the original site but with a makeover, and more functionality.”
The new site is certainly good-looking. The band and venue pages are clean and accessible, with social media links and embedding for soundcloud tracks and Youtube clips. However, the site has a ghostly quality to it. The newsfeeds are quiet and there doesn’t seem to be too many fans for the bands. The gig guide is quite empty too, which is unfortunate as this is the main purpose of the site.
But according to Read, this is an inevitable phase in the creation of a site like EatNoise. “You’ve got that whole chicken and the egg thing. Bands are going to want fans to get on board, but fans won’t get on board until bands do. So there’s not a lot of gigs on there at the moment, but that will grow.”
Successfully creating a new social networking site in the age of Facebook’s ubiquity is a challenge. Even office-darling and aspiring-world-government Google can’t hold a candle to Facebook in terms of active users. Success often seems to lie in complementing Facebook rather than attempting a coup.
EatNoise aims to work within this model. While the site shares some basic features with Facebook, it is far more narrowly focused. Rather than a platform for friends and acquaintances to share cat videos and spy on each other, EatNoise does for Facebook band pages roughly what Instagram does for its photo feed: strips away the noise and augments that one feature. As such, it may well be just the place for bands frustrated with the struggles of promoting through Facebook.
But this potential needs to be realised by the users, and they’re currently missing. The site topped 200 band profiles in February 2015 — only around 120 are active, self-starting profiles, with the rest set up by Read who’s now waiting for bands to ‘take control’ of them.
Read is working on the problem with some promotions and a launch party to boost EatNoise’s profile. In the lead-up to Australia Day new members of EatNoise became eligible to win a film clip shoot and the headline spot at EatNoise’s launch party in March. A panel of judges including James Grim, Ally Oop, and Tristan Goodall unanimously declared psych-rock band The Strange their champions.
As well as The Strange, the launch will feature sets from The Rechords, The Black Guild and James Grim & The Woodcutters. Read hopes the launch will help encourage bands, fans and venues to set up pages and kick-start the site.
If all goes well, success for the site in Melbourne will act as a proof-of-concept to draw the investment Read needs to extend the site’s functionality, develop an EatNoise mobile app and try and send the site international.
The appeal of a vibrant, globally active EatNoise is pretty clear. There are a number of sites doing part of what EatNoise promises to do, but nothing I’ve come across that quite fits the niche. Of course, the site is a long way from meeting its potential right now, but a rush of new memberships, a well-timed promotion and a high-profile endorsement could really take it off. In the mean-time Evans is throwing a party and you’re invited.
The official EatNoise launch party is happening on Friday March 27 at The Workers Club in Fitzroy. Tickets are $15.85 +bf and can be purchased through Oztix, The Worker’s Club and EatNoise itself: www.EatNoise.com