The New Blacksmithed

Today, we launched The Blacksmithed 2.0, codenamed #TheNewBlacksmithed. We’re excited for this launch, but more excited about what it can do for the EC artist. We’ve put together a nice, concise list of the new features that we’d love to tell you about!

1. An all new brand identity.

We’ve switched up our brand identity. Our new logo now comes in wide and icon form for more convenience. The two letters ‘Bl’ will now be associated with our new Blacksmithed brand. We have a new colour scheme that will better communicate the feel of the brand we are trying to build. Moving forward, this will be the new look of The Blacksmithed.

2. An all new News Site.

  • Our News Site now has an all new, clean look; truly representing the feel of an online magazine. The black text on the white backdrop make all the visuals easier on the eyes and text easier to read. Images also pop out in contrast to the backdrop so the entire content consumption experience is enhanced significantly. The layout is also more conducive to content consumption on both mobile and desktop, with more attention being brought to the headlines while still providing space for earlier articles.
  • The search functionality is also more responsive, bringing you results as you type. It also gives you the option of viewing the rest of the results should there be more satisfying your criteria.
  • You can now view the latest singles and downloads on the music site directly from the news site’s sidebar, giving you easier access to our sibling sites without having to directly navigate to them for the news.
  • The latest videos are now filtered and displayed directly on the homepage to focus more on delivering visual content coming out of the EC.
  • Share options on articles now look more consistent, with the addition of two new extra social media platforms to share to (Tumblr, Google+) in addition to Facebook and Twitter.
  • You now have the option to sign up to our weekly newsletter where once a week, we send you the latest news in EC hip hop in case you missed it.
  • The site loads faster and consumes less data than expected.

3. An all new Music Site.

  • Our most significant feature is the addition of curating your own playlist. You have the option of adding any song to your playlist and being able to shuffle or repeat it as you wish. You can now continue with your business whilst listening to the best in EC hip hop music.
  • The addition of an all-new music player, which slides up at the bottom of the screen on desktop, and toggled via a bottom navigation on mobile. This music player is dark in contrast, with the new brand’s signature colours to give it a distinct look and a competitive edge with some of the internet’s leading music streaming sites. The music player also comes with various options such as skipping playlist songs, shuffle/repeat options, as well as a volume knob.
  • The Music Site now offers the functionality to navigate the entire Music Site whilst playing music without having to cut or stop the music. Whatever you’re listening to will continue to play as you navigate the site with complete freedom. Your playlist will also remain in tact and will not change as you navigate the site.
  • Song art is now in small, thumbnail form with stream/download metrics placed to the right, using smart iconography.
  • The option to play any song from any page exists, with a play button seated right next to all song art.
  • The search functionality also searches media as you type, with the option of expanding all results.
  • The home page now shows the top 10 downloads/streams of singles and tapes for your added convenience.
  • You have the option to sign up to our weekly newsletter, where we bring you the latest in EC hip hop.

One more thing.

We’ve added another feature to our Music Site that is not immediately available to the public, but is on individual request. We have developed an internal tool that tracks every download on the Music Site. The main purpose for this is to diagnose the exact reach of one’s downloads. Too often we have to deal with these “Datafilehost rappers” who download their own track multiple times, go on social media and brag about it as if their reach was actually that wide. An artist who uses The Blacksmithed Music as opposed to unverifiable platforms such as Datafilehost to host their music and manages to rank up high unique download counts will be seen as more credible, because we will have the proof that the song has amassed the reach that it claims to have attained.

We will have possession of all these download logs and we can present them by request. You will just need to give us a valid reason as to why you need the logs. You will need a completely valid reason to attain them.

The long term goal of this feature is for organisations locally/nationally to make use of The Blacksmithed Music’s metrics to make decisions regarding the state of hip hop music in the province. Be it events, awards, etc. We want to be the one platform that holds credible ,verifiable information about a said artist’s true reach. This is why you as an artist probably want your music on The Blacksmithed and not on platforms like Datafilehost. The right people will see it and listen to it.

Consider this as a warning to all  “datafilehost rappers”.

A note to all EC hip hop artists.

Since we created The Blacksmithed, we’ve solely been driven by the purpose of uplifting the presentation of Eastern Cape hip hop. The province has not seen to much representation in industry and we’re trying to remain in tact with the little we do have. When entering the national industry, we as the Eastern Cape hip hop scene have no time to look bad. We have no time to half-step. We need to look as fresh as possible so that the mainstream industry can take us seriously and hence making it easier for EC artists to enter the mainstream and blow. With The New Blacksmithed, we are taking the province one step closer to that goal. All we need now are artists who are just as dedicated to uplifting the province’s quality. You can do a few things on your part:

Take your presentation very seriously.

We need artists to step up to the fore right now when it comes to presentation. Wherever you send anything associated with your brand, it needs to look good. Invest in visuals. Record a lot of visuals (music videos, interviews, live performances) and do the best post-production on them you possibly can. Make sure the music you release is presented well. We are very publicly vocal about our dislike towards Datafilehost – it’s a horrible platform that no one who matters takes seriously. We offer an alternative to EC hip hop artists to drop their stuff with us instead. Make sure your cover art is on point and your song is mixed/mastered well. Don’t use internet beats! If you really don’t have access to production, choose from these many EC-made beat tapes/singles instead (and credit the producer please – don’t steal). If we find out you’re using internet beats, we will reject/take down your song. We are wholeheartedly against internet beats as they are counter-productive to building a hip hop industry in the Eastern Cape.

Don’t try emulate the larger industries in EC.

Too many artists are trying to take what larger industries are doing and do a direct emulation in the EC, completely ignoring the context in which we live in down here. The general culture of South African pop culture is very Americanised, mainly due to the majority of the media we consume originating from there. Anything that blows up in the US becomes instantly popular in South Africa. However, the contexts are completely different and even though there are some positive aspects we can take from larger industries, we cannot copy-paste the exact formula and expect it to work here as well. As an EC artist, you’re living in a province which is still trying so hard to piece together a full-on hip hop industry. We’re not there yet. We don’t have brands investing in the music; we don’t have local media reporting on the scene; we don’t have local radio stations playing EC hip hop on rotation on prime time shows. We’re just not there yet. So it makes no sense at all for EC artists to do something for attention in the industry when local media in the province does not even report about it. There is no point in trying to start beef and hoping to get popular off it. There is no point in creating slates in your own neighbourhood thinking the whole province will catch on your drama. That makes absolutely no sense in EC! As mentioned earlier, we don’t have time for these things in EC. Maybe once we’ve become a larger industry and we’ve got all that attention, artists could try exploring those avenues. But right now, we are not going anywhere unless we all work together to export our own to the country.

In conclusion.

This year, we are truly excited for the year with the advent of The New Blacksmithed. We’re really excited and optimistic about this year and what it has in store for EC hip hop given everything we have planned. We can only hope that you are willing to join us during this exciting time and that we can do our best to help you strive in your career!