We had a Friday night ritual in my house when I was growing up. After dinner, my older brother, my dad and I would gather around the TV to watch Bob Saget painfully narrate America’s Funniest Home Videos.
While a version of the show still runs miraculously, the tradition of watching with my family every Friday evaporated like a puddle. We no longer needed Danny Tanner’s wholesome humor to watch stupid, random, funny videos. We could now just go to YouTube, and make comments on our own.
A few weeks ago the 10th season of American Idol debuted to record TV audiences, with record audition numbers, and record, record-breaking records. People go ga-ga for American Idol. But, in the same vein, shouldn’t there be a medium to listen to people of all sorts sing their hearts out without constant interruption from Ryan Seacrest’s blonde highlights and skinny tie? Without the womanly shriek of approval from Steven Tyler and hearing whether or not Randy Jackson is “really diggin it, dog”?
Can’t we just listen at our own leisure, on a site made for singers, like we now do with YouTube, and make our own judgements and comments for everyone to read?
In fact, we can, thanks to a marvelous new website known as MySongToYou (www.mysongtoyou.com)
MySongToYou is an extremely catchy site that allows users to record their own vocals over professional-quality instrumentals and beats, then re-up the track to the site for the entire world to hear. In essence, imagine YouTube with audio files instead of video, where the music comes from the site.
“The purpose of the site is really to put people in the seat of the recording artist from the comfort of their own home,” says Shane Pollack, the site’s creator. “It’s meant to be both a community of users and a tool for crafting your own songs.”
Here’s how it works: Pretend you really want to sing, whether for your own personal interests, or even to ‘send’ a song to somebody, but you don’t happen to be a musician or have access to background music (and you’re sick of bothering your pot-dealing cousin to play a few chords on his Mexican acoustic while you hover over him with a voice recorder.)
Log on to MySongToYou, you pick one of the top-quality beats or instrumentals the website has provided, and lay your track down over that. Simple as pie.
Once the sample is downloaded, you simply record your voice over it, and upload it back to the website. Comments, criticisms, and LOL’s are sure to follow, and the real fun begins.
The samples themselves come from dozens of professional DJ’s, musicians, and other artists MySongToYou has partnered up. The site features a variety of familiar genres, all original and studio-quality.
Like YouTube, Pollack envisions millions of songs on the site with countless comments from countless users.
It’s catching on, too. RnB sensation Brandy discovered the site with her daughter and she herself deemed it “the next YouTube.” Pollack is also currently working on getting MySongToYou into the curriculum of grade-school music programs in the United States.
The feedback has been outstanding, and by taking one visit to the site, one can see why its so attractive:
First, it’s agonizingly easy. Creating a professional-caliber piece of music is in reach of every vocalist who enters the site, because the music they sing over is already top-quality.
Second, MySongToYou is extremely versatile towards different styles of music. The instrumentals range from hip-hop to rock, from classical to RnB, and even “special occasion music”. Happy birthday to me.
But to understand the true motivation behind MySongToYou, is to understand a bit about Pollack himself.
“People’s inspiration to sing or rap nowadays comes from the beat,” he proposes. “When you hear a good beat, it sets things off, you want to do more with it.”
And that’s a big part of the reason for the site, to get people motivated.
Pharrell Williams was associated with a similar website, www.ujam.com, “but the main difference is that UJam instructs users to sing acapella, and software then creates music behind the voice, based on what was sang,” says Pollack.
At MySongToYou, “you hear the beat first and get motivated, which is a key to the whole thing.”
He fondly recalls late nights with buddies when they would “freestyle” over beats at a party. This is the creative energy MySongToYou is attempting to tap into.
Pollack, now 30, is a writer, musician, rapper, and entrepreneur living in Los Angeles.
His career in music took a relevant boost when hip-hop legend Doug E. Fresh took Pollack under his wing in NYC and fine tuned his sound as a rapper. He travelled Europe doing shows under the stage name “Mad Philosopher” in trendy destinations like St. Tropez and Cannes and performed several shows in North America as well, until he stopped performing in 2008.
Pollack’s resume also includes television pilots for HBO, several short film productions, and perhaps most notable, a wholesale baseball card business he and his brother ran when Shane was 13.
“We were two little kids running a massive baseball card gig. We lived in New York City and would always drive up to Montreal and get Expo autographs, and we made lots of money too.”
Fifteen years later, Pollack and his big bro (one of the business minds behind the site) put that same passion into the idea for MySongToYou, and the idea was initially put onto paper in October of ’08.
Today, it has nearly 2,000 facebook fans, a number that increases everyday. While the site is still extremely young, its growth has been mature beyond its years.
“What we have right now is a shell for the future,” Pollack says. “Eventually it’ll be much much more.”
That includes the site’s plan to eventually market their product as a gift item that could potentially team up with something like Build-A-Bear or greeting card companies.
Imagine getting a stuffed teddy that sings a song made personally for you. Move over De Beers.
The idea of singing in your shower for the entire world to hear might scare some, but in this new age of online networking and exhibitionism, it’s already been a huge hit with many, and sure to be for many more.
MySongToYou’s software is simple, its music is catchy, and the idea is fresh.
And just like American Idol, many uploads are effin hilarious.