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November 02, 2006

Reality Check: RAZZ Mixer

Razzlogo.jpg

RAZZ, Inc. recently introduced the RAZZ Mixer. It enables people to create personalized audio recordings to post on web pages. This is a Flash-based application consisting of a voice recorder, music uploader, and special effects sound board with hundreds of pre-recorded sounds.

Users “mix” recordings for posting onto social-networking sites and blogs. These recordings serve the purpose of welcoming people to a profile page as well as to “RAZZ” friends by posting a recording in comment fields.

BigRazz.jpg

The RAZZ mixer is here here. There are many samples that are ready for posting here. People can also listen to a mix by clicking on a direct link; for example, here. Finally, this is what the RAZZ player looks like; click on “PLAY” to hear how a DJ can promote a musical event. Notice the three key elements of a RAZZ mix: music clips, special effects, and the DJ’s voice.

Garage is an investor, and I am on the board of directors of RAZZ.


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Comments

I played around with the sounds for most of an evening once & I am actually planning on blogging about this at some point when I get the time.

Some of the phrases are absolutely hilarious. I do not like how slow it is when trying to play two phrases or sounds back-to-back though....there is either a significant pause or it blends together to the point that there is a stutter.

Razz is addictive.

Not bad, but make the interface less... Terrifying.

I like the concept. My partner and I posted a similar concept on our blog - as an idea that someone could take to life.

Razz should incorporate the ability to text the mixed audio files to friends via their cell phones. I'm curious as to where it gets the music from - does it require that files be uploaded?

My only gripe besides the functional issues mentioned by other folks, is the interface. It reminds me of those "computer" toys for toddlers, with big buttons that talk back.

Sounds like fun, but I think you have some tech issues (at least with the samples). The home page sounds played, but the "samples" were silent, even as the scrubber slid slowly to the right (XP, Firefox 2). I didn't try recording but the interface was fairly familiar. Personally the cartoonish appearance does nothing for me, but I doubt I'm the target audience since I spend less than 4 hrs/day texting and IM'ing!

Sounds good. I tried it few minutes ago in comparison with Garageband. You can find the result here (judge by yourself).

http://decio.blogspot.com/2006/11/razz.html

I believe I won't face copyright issues singing a plainchant from the 8th century. If otherwise, let me know.

Idea: ...oh another feature that would be cool is a loop or "repeat without interuption" feature so that a person could use it to add an unending soundtrack to their blog. The sountrack would play as long as the viewer was on the blog.

I'd use this feature to upload new original music to my blog once a month or so :)

Have a Zen Razz!!!!

Different tones: Tibetan cymbols / gongs / Gregorian chants..... for background music.

Have ability to add differing degrees of psychedellic effects and voice morphing
effect (User/rockstar) effect to mix.


Are they going to integrate BitPass payments? BTW how BitPass is doing? I have the filling that Internet premium content and micro-payments after many years still cannot take off. I wonder what makes mobile platform so different - multibillion ring tone market phenomenon. Is this the result of very closed and controlled mobile platform compared to fully open and democratized Internet?

The change of a one web service provider to another, possibly free, requires only to type few letters into a browser address bar. Much harder to do that with a mobile phone, every operator will always charge its 50% and require minimum fee.

More Ideas:

A) Have music labels use Razz to send short clips of new Artist songs to user cellphones with ability to click and buy song download instantly. Any song bought gives Razz a % fee. User gets to apply short personal message to song clip (see all ideas below) and send it on to friend and so on..... Viral marketing!!!


B) Ditto with film studios that wish to send users film previews. Razz getw a fee from film studio. User gets to apply short personal message to film clip and send it on to friend and so on.....Viral marketing!!!

More Comments:

1. Change the blue to black and use red / gold for the text highlights. Use a hightech green. Or if you keep the blue make it more hightech as well.

2. Have world-wide Razz contests for the best Razz. Create contest subjects: hello / goodbye / Victory speach / romantic moment /
surprise / excape. You can use these as catagories on Razz to make super quick Razz messages for people on the Go!!!!!! Xtra fee!!

3. Create Razz internet radio playlists using Razz w/video or as MP3's.

4. Have ability to let users add FLV video clips to their Razz. See demos of FLV clips along with great FLV / MP3 players at: http://www.jeroenwijering.com/

Razz is fun. I see it catching on. Can you please explain how it will make 100M?

Possible steps:
1. License music only clips from established songs from labels: ie song intros / solos / instrumentals. Razz keeps a % of each fee.

2. include user voice morphing tech as I described below to allow people to sound like their favorite rockstars.

3. include ads with each message sent. Razz keeps a % fee from each add. Quick text add or very short," Buy XYZ!!!"

4. Have Latin music clips.

5. Have classical clips

6. Have funk rock / blues / dance clips

7. Have already recorded backing solo singers that users can add against their vocie mesage
Please see #2.

8. Add video clips.

9. Add calander features where you can store clips by day and by user.

10. The ability to add psychedellic effects by time and degree: have effect build slowly and fade fast. Build fast and rise/fall - fade soft.

"Actually, I'm in London right now. If I'm high on crack, what does that say about you: Someone who bothers to read the writing of someone on crack?"

"Open doors open minds."

I'll give you a great way to go with RAZZ - create a way for users to have their voice (ie saying, "Yeah" - come out sounding like Robert plant of Led Zeplin (guys) or like Janis Joplin (girls) using voice morphing technology that still keeps the users vocal imprint in the mix.

You get the idea. You could enter the phrase "Silly Little Love Song" - and now YOU sound like McCartney, but all the time it's your voice that the person you are sending it will hear. Now this idea will help you create a big stepping stone toward your 100M company as it truly fufills a primary need everybody has to be a rcokstar. For this you can easily charge xtra. Give a free use if someone buys 10 uses for different calls.

Not High On Crack Either / :) Brewer

As a person who works with teens that almost live on MySpace I already have found Razz to be a great way to post quick entertaining AUDIO "bulletins" for my group at MySpace.

A powerful addition to Razz would be the ability to do simple multitrack layering. This would allow a person to record the voice message, THEN layer the music and sound fx separately.

Also I'd love to see the ability for people to upload their own sound fx and music so that others could browse and utilize the user uploaded sounds. This would give Razz free sound libraries created by users to go alongside the official Razz audio clips. The users would also get the feeling of being part of the "Razz Audio Conspiracy".

Anyway thanks for the new tool.

Love this.

Hopefully it's something a tech-impaired person like me will be able to utilize. It took me days just to figure out how to change my blog header.

And the best part - something I can post on my blog that my musician husband can actually relate to.

**********

He can not only relate to this, he can create one-of-a-kind music for you to put on your blog!

Guy

Jeff Ceo of RAZZ,

Do you license out your technology? This is one cool application.... can I embedd this link tag in to an email message as a greeting?

ahhh fun! now if this could connect with Filmloop you'd have an internet art project incubator!

Thanks for the head's up Guy

Thanks Jonathan! Very interesting to compare your rollout approach to that of FilmLoop, which went desktop app first, then browser widgets. Although I don't know how much I'd use your product unless it made spoken podcasting super simple and fun, I have to pay attention to how Guy promotes you as a company the way I do with FilmLoop... The biz model seems similar to things my biggest client does. Lots to learn here...

A very fair point you make too... Coming at this as a longtime Mac user, I've never had to worry about that. Helped a non-techy friend upgrade Norton AV for Windows over the phone last night, and I can totally see your point just from that experience. THANKS!

Jeff -

'If you still ask the question, "who would ever by a ring tone?" then you're probably not meant to RAZZ.'

I had to laugh. I looked at this RAZZ app and asked 'This is getting funded??'. Then again, I keep seeing charges for downloaded ringtones on my teenage daughter's cell phone bill -- something else I don't get.

Here's a question though -- I pay for my daughter's cell phone bill primarily for her safety and so my wife and I can keep tabs on her.

It would be a cold day in hell before I used my credit card to pay for cool sounds on her Myspace page. I doubt as a parent that I am alone in my prioritization of this particular need. So, how are the kids going to pay for premium services?

*****************
Craig,

I think you better get a warm coat because paying for cool stuff for your daughter's web presence is inevitable. :-)

Guy

Hi Brad. I am the Director of Web Products for RAZZ and I would be happy to answer your question.

Brad said, "Here's a question... Why do you think that Flash in a browser is a better platform than the desktop? Has it proven adequate for what you wanted to do here or have you had to scale back expectations to make this work in the browser?"

The simple answer is that getting users to download an application is quite a hurdle in this age of spyware, malware. Small companies have to first build a reputation of trust before people will blindly their software. Although we could provide a more robust offering through a downloadable client we decided to do our initial app with Flash because the majority of internet users already have some version of flash installed on their machines and Flash is platform independent. This way we can reach a broad audience using a technology that many people already trust.

This reminds me of a program called Fruity Loops . Check it out guy -- I mean Guy. www.flstudio.com/

MySpace has never sounded so good.... Razz is a web toy - nothing more nothing less. As with all toys it strives to be fun, entices the user to come back and play more and hopefully is a big hit with its target audience.

My teenagers love this thing and are using it in ways i dont think the developers thought they would.

s

Thanks for posting Jeff. I love Guy's posts on these things (and hey Guy, I love the fact that the text in this edit box is large enough to read while I type) but sometimes for the life of me can't see the business model from the 30 second product presentation. So in short, the defensible thing you guys have is distribution in the mobile market. Fair enough, thanks for clarifying.

Here's a question... Why do you think that Flash in a browser is a better platform than the desktop? Has it proven adequate for what you wanted to do here or have you had to scale back expectations to make this work in the browser?

This is Jeff, CEO at RAZZ.

Based on reading a few comments, I thought I'd clarify a few things... Our company mantra is to enable people to enrich their voice communications using their favorite audio content. This is about personalization and entertainment, not utility.

We are predominantly a mobile content services provider in which we currently distribute our RAZZ mobile software (mix sound clips into live calls) via the leading Operators and Aggregators in 15 countries around the globe. Consumers are gobbling this up (paying for it).

We decided to give it a try in the Web/social networking space as well. Our intention is not to compete with media players (eg. Real), or other recording software providers. We provide users a cool way to spice up their personal pages and comments by taking advantage of our large catalogue of sound clips. Keep in mind, the audience for the RAZZ Mixer is the teenage market.

The biz model is based on converting a small percentage of our free users to premium services such as branded content, additional profiles, and others I won't mention to tip off the competition.

If you still ask the question, "Who would ever by a ring tone?" then you're probably not meant to RAZZ.

******************

RE: "This is about personalization and entertainment, not utility."

I didn't know this. Was this in a PPT pitch that I didn't see? :-)

Guy

Hey Guy,

I think that this looks like a very good start for something that could take off. If the people at Razz can find a way to integrate video editing as well (difficult, I know), then they could really be on to something huge. The reason I say this is because this application makes the recording process so very easy (almost too easy, especially if you want to add sound effects), so it could really catch on with the MySpace/similar crowd.

This application is easier to use than any other sound recording software that I've used (and it's easier on the eyes) including GarageBand (note that most users don't want or need all of the Garageband features), and when you can make something simpler than Apple, you know you may be on to something. Great find.

Hi Guy, am one of the people who are really interested in your way of thinking and way of presenting stuff, especially the topics you add in your blog.

the moment i read about RAZZ i thought as one of the commentors here "how can this make money", and "what is the difference between RAZZ and realplayer for instance, or any other personel recording software?

tried to think but i thought there might be something missing in the formula, hope to find an answer.
:)
Murshed

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