Category Archives: Startups

Non-film Albums Now On MySwar

We now have non-film albums listed on MySwar! We were always very clear that we wanted to include as much Indian music as we could on MySwar and after almost a year of toil, we’re extremely proud to add non-film music albums on MySwar.

Let me start though with a little summary of what we have accomplished so far. Over 2012, we have built-up what’s probably the most comprehensive database of Hindi film music from 1941 to present day. Since we’re not constrained by licensing deals and label provided meta-data, we have been able to list on MySwar detailed credits of every song from every film we have been able to get information about. Also, because our focus has been on accuracy and detail, we have structured our data in a way that lets us catalog song metadata that is a lot more meaningful than the generic Artist ID3 tag that rules the roost everywhere. This is especially significant for Indian film music which is generally attributed separately to music directors (composers), lyricists and singers.

While we’re proud of our work in cataloguing Bollywood music, we know our work is not done. We still keep finding film album releases we have missed and of course, there’s the steady stream of current releases. Also, while Bollywood was a great starting point because of its wide appeal and because it provided us a finite, manageable scope of work, we believe it’s time to broaden our horizon and go beyond Hindi film music.

From a planning perspective, cataloguing Bollywood music was quite simple – Start with each year, find out every film released in that year, determine the songs in those films and get as much information about those albums/songs as we could. Cataloguing non-film music was a lot more difficult to plan because our country has a bewildering array of labels, genres, artists and languages. Where do we start? How do we impose method on this madness? We solved the problem of defining scope by starting with the artists we already had in our database. We added to that list artists and music releases that were contemporarily significant – like Swarathma, Coke Studio, MTV Unplugged, etc. But even this was a huge list, so we had to categorize them in terms of priority. What we have published on MySwar now is just one set of artists and albums from that list.

The other problem we had to grapple with was how we showed information of film and non-film albums and songs. Do we list them separately or together? There were arguments to be made for both, so we said we would do a combination of both AND also let the users decide if they wanted to see one or the other. So here’ how you can see information organized on MySwar:

  1. The Artist page (like Jagjit Singh’s) will have the discography separated by non-film and film albums.
  2. Other than the artist discography pages, every other page will list both film and non-film albums/songs. However, users can use the Filter function (top-right of the listing, see screen shots below) to see only film, or non-film albums and song.
  3. If users want to see both film and non-film albums/song for a given artist together (which they can’t from the Artist page), they can use the Advanced Search feature.

We really hope you enjoy this update. There are some minor kinks we’re working on. If you have any feedback, please do let us know.

Filter Filter Expanded

A Look Back At 2012

When we put our head down to crank out work, it’s hard to get a sense of what we are actually accomplishing. That happens only when we look back and assess what we delivered. I just did that and am filled with a sense of deep satisfaction and pride at what we delivered on A quick round-up:

January: We launched after a few weeks of private beta with albums/songs from 1971 to present day.

February: Albums/songs for 1960s, categorized search suggestions, advanced search, ability to browse award-winning films, songs and artists in once place and the trivia of the day feature.

March: Albums/songs for 1950s.

May: YouTube embeds, forgiving searches, listing of popular songs for artists.

June: Listing of popular songs by year and genre.

August: Pre-packaged playlists of all kinds. Artist listings in once place even if they have been credited under different names.

October: Ability to sort in song and album listings.

November: Filters on album and song listings.

December: 1940s albums and songs.

We’re already working on many other amazing updates, so 2013 will be just as exciting if not more. Thanks for your support and encouragement this far and stay tuned!

1940s Hindi Films Albums Now Listed On MySwar

When we launched late last year, we had Hindi film music listings for four decades, from 1971 to the present. Since then we have added three more decades – the 1960s, the 1950s and yesterday, the 1940s. We now have information on seven decades of Hindi film music in one place.

1940s was a significant period in Hindi film music. The legendary singer, K.L. Saigal’s death in 1947 and India’s independence and Partition effected a change of guard of sorts in Hindi film music. With K.L. Saigal’s passing away, the tragic hero persona, that was pervasive in the music of that time, faded away and male singers, on whom Saigal had cast a long shadow, developed their own singing styles. Noor Jehan’s migration to Pakistan, following the Partition, paved the path for Lata Mangeshkar’s meteoric rise as the premier female singer in Hindi films for decades to come. There was an infusion of new talent and the decade saw the debut and rise of singers like Shamshad Begum, Lata Mangeshkar, Geeta Dutt, Asha Bhosle, Mohammed Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Mukesh and Manna Dey; music directors like Khemchand Prakash, Naushad, C. Ramchandra, S.D. Burman and Shankar – Jaikishan; and lyricists like Majrooh Sultanpuri, Shakeel Badayuni, Sahir Ludhianvi and Shailendra. Film music became a melting pot of a variety of musical influences. In the 40s, it absorbed folk and classical music influences and started developing the unique, multi-faceted character that defines Bollywood music today.

Back to the update – while the film/song listings for the 1940s are up on MySwar, we haven’t updated the song genres and YouTube embeds. This will take some time. Tracing the actual songs (audio and video) is more and more difficult as we go back in the past. If you have the time and inclination, you can help us by submitting high-quality (relatively speaking) YouTube URLs on MySwar (register, login, go to the song page and click Update in the Video section).

Mavrix Monthly Update November 2012

A quick note on what we shipped last month:

  1. Filters: All pages that have album or song listings, now have filters. For example, if you are browsing the list of albums released in 2012, and you want to see the films for which Pritam composed the music that year, Click on Filter, enter Pritam as Music Director and click Filter to see the filtered list. You can filter album listings using a combination of Label, Music Director and Lyricist and song listings using a combination of Year, Genre, Singer, Music Director and Lyricist. As with any listing page, you can also sort the filtered list.
  2. Associated With: When you are on the page of an artist who’s associated with other artists on MySwar, we show you the information right there. This includes well known associations likeVishal Dadlani’s with Vishal – Shekhar, as well as some that are not so well known, like lyricist Shellee’s association with Agnee.
  3. Keyboard friendly playlists: When you’re on a playlist, you can navigate to the next/previous song using the right/left arrow keys.
  4. The usual bug fixes and minor improvements.

Mavrix Monthly Update October 2012

A quick note on what we shipped last month:

  1. Prompt for search box. This is a small thing but people were typing all kinds of things in the search box (like “download please”), so we thought a prompt might help. Just to clarify – you can search for albums, songs or artists.
  2. Sorting. Now you can sort album and song listing pages based on a number of parameters.
    1. Song listings can be sorted on Song , Album, Year or Rating
    2. Album listings can be sorted on Album, Year or Rating
    3. A bunch of minor bug fixes and improvements

We haven’t posted a many updates in the last couple of months but that’s only because, we’re working on some big ones that should be rolled out by year-end. Stay tuned!

Playlists – Now on MySwar!

We have playlists on MySwar now! To save you the trouble of individually picking songs for the playlists, we’re rolling out a bunch of pre-packaged ones. You can find the Playlist button all over our website. Here is a list of the types of playlists we have for you:

Album playlist – Playlist button on the album page.

Similar songs playlist – Playlist button on the song page in “Songs like this” section

Year playlist – On the browse year page.

Popular songs of the year playlist – One the popular songs of the year page

Genre playlist – On the browse genre page

Popular songs of the genre playlist – On the popular songs of the genre page

New release playlist – Playlist button on the new release page

Popular new release playlist – Playlist button on popular new release page

Award winning playlist by award – Playlist button on Award page

Award winning playlist by year – Playlist button on award by year page

Singer playlist – Playlist button on singer listing page

Lyricist playlist – Playlist button on lyricist listing page

Music director playlist – Playlist button on music director listing page

Popular songs of artist playlist – Playlist button on popular songs of artist page

MySwar playlist (requires login) – Playlist button on discover page

Advanced playlist – Playlist button on advanced search results page

We’re kicked about this feature and we do hope you like it. Try it out and let us know what you think. And spread the word, please.

Mavrix Monthly Update August 2012

Here’s what we shipped this month on MySwar:

  1. Added Facebook Like and Google + buttons for artists, albums and songs.
  2. Personalize recommendations – If you have subscribed for the new release mailer, you’ll start seeing personalized song recommendations from the newly released albums based on your ratings. The more songs you rate, the better our recommendations.
  3. Artist aliases – We have spent a lot of effort standardizing artist names (lndeevar/Indivar) so when you go to the artist page, you are looking at the complete discography for that artist. However, till now we didn’t have an approach to present a complete discography for artists who have been credited with different names in different songs/albums. For example, Poornima and Sushma Shreshtha used to go to different artist pages and therefore different discographies, even though they are the same person. We’ve addressed this issue by tying up artists credited under different names. At the album/song level, you’ll see the artist name as credited but when you search for an artist or click on an artist link you’ll see consolidated information that includes all name variations. Here are the name variations we know of and that we addressed in this release. If you know of other variations, please let us know.

Mavrix Monthly Update June 2012

Here’s what we shipped this month:

  1. Advanced search URLs – You can now share advanced search results through a URL. Here is a list of song sung by Lata Mangeshkar, composed by R.D. Burman and written by Gulzar.
  2. Popular songs by Genre and Year – The genre and year listing can be pretty heavy. To give you an easy way to explore those listings, we’ve replaced the Popular Songs list on the right sidebar, with a refined list relevant for the page you’re on. For example, if you’re browsing the album listing for 2011, the right sidebar will show you the most popular Hindi film songs (as rated by MySwar users) in 2011.  Similarly, if you are on the Rock genre page, the right sidebar will show the most popular Rock influenced Hindi film songs.
  3. Brand new backend – No change for users of MySwar, except that you will see new albums/updates sooner.

Mavrix Monthly Update May 2012

Not many updates this month except that we have shipped a lot of new features. Check them out and let us know what you think:

  1. Ability to watch song videos. From Tadbeer Se Bigdi Hui to Pareshaan.
  2. Forgiving search – Addresses transliteration variations and common typos. Searching for “nakab” will return results containing “naqab” and “naqaab” as well.
  3. Improved rating UX – Improved rating image and behaviour; Ability to rate albums and songs from almost everywhere on the website
  4. Improved sorting of popular songs
  5. Easy-to-follow prompt for newly registered users to rate songs
  6. Standardized look and feel of pages
  7. Ability to recover username in case users forget it
  8. Most popular songs at artist level. This is only available for artists for whom we have sufficient number of song ratings. Like Kishore Kumar.
  9. Added Facebook like box on right sidebar to make it easy for you to like us (*nudge*).
  10. Minor UI improvements
  11. Bug fixes