Don't worry, we speak : Español (Spanish), too!
Contxto – Democratizing access to music listeners around the world is currently available over Larala, a social media network for musicians. The Argentine platform supports musicians in promoting their musical content online, sometimes even endorsing them in the process.
I decided to give it a go since I’m a pretty avid music lover. After checking out its musical repertoire and overall UX, I’ve come to some interesting personal conclusions.
What is Larala?
First of all, I must say that I love the concept. A social media platform exclusively for musicians sounds undeniably cool.
Esteban Caselli and Javier Marin founded Larala in 2015. The startup aims to connect people with similar music interests and musicians around the globe. Currently, it has four business units: record company, publishing, community, and an online mobile store.
Since the music industry is very competitive, Larala tries to ease the process for newcomers entering the market, serving as a potential launchpad for success. With this, it provides new artists with the opportunity to share their music and grow their fanbase.
Performers gain even more exposure and coverage as non-musicians (like myself) can share content on social media. When it comes to sharing material you enjoy online, it’s a piece of cake.
Aside from that, Larala also produces material for new bands and singers, ranging from recorded songs to music videos. For added exposure, it also distributes artists’ music on other platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music.
Create your profile
Bands and singers create profiles by uploading songs, photos, as well as videos. If you aren’t a musician, though, there’s not much to do besides browse artists and listen to their music.
Unfortunately, I don’t sing or play any instruments, so my profile capabilities were limited. I couldn’t get past writing my name, email and creating a password. Aside from that, there’s not much of a profile to create unless you have some material to share.
Nevertheless, I reached out to the startup better understand how it works. Plus, I created my own profile with the help of a friend.
Creating my artist profile
When creating your artist or DJ profile, the platform requires users to write a quick biography about yourself or the band. Then, you are required to upload a profile picture and up to three images for your photo gallery. It’s mandatory to upload at least one.
To create your album, it’s necessary to add a photo and a minimum of one song with a maximum of 15. In the end, you can share a music video if you wish. As soon as we created the profile, we could see our picture on the artist list with the word NEW in big red letters beside it.
Personally, I think it would be a good idea to be able to expand your profile even if you are not a musician. Some of us just really enjoy listening to some cool tracks and discovering new music. Users could like and share what they gain from using the platform. Maybe even create some playlists, similar to how Soundcloud does it.
Different from the other artists, Larala artists’ profile is way nicer. Contributors have a whole profile page to themselves and can upload multiple photos and albums.
When I reached out to Larala, I found out they have a content review team in charge of listening to all the uploaded material. If they see potential in your music, they may even offer to produce you! You may also receive an invitation to perform in Buenos Aires.
On the home page, you can see pictures from the artists, at the top is a menu bar for their biography, albums, photos, and videos. There’s only one minute available of each song to listen to on the site. However, you can find some artists on Spotify.
Even though Larala’s Linkedin page states that you can buy music online with over 20 types of payment, I couldn’t even find were to purchase the music. Only some profiles had the option of buying albums from Apple Music.
Something I found interesting is the “Artist of the week” section within the home page. This curated content help users explore new sounds and find new musicians.
Shutting down your account
Since we created my profile for investigation purposes, we tried to close the account but couldn’t quite figure out how. This was a huge problem for me because I couldn’t even delete the pictures I uploaded. Removing the track wasn’t an option either.
On the terms and conditions section, it says that you can cancel your account any time and by any reason in the adjustments tab. I just couldn’t find that tab anywhere.
I ended up contacting the support team. I’m very pleased to say I got an answer in only fifteen minutes. The support team representative asked for my artist name and deleted my account immediately.
Hurray for great customer service!
Another note on the topic of uploading content. It would be a good idea to check if the uploaded material is legitimately from the person who is sharing it. This would be to avoid plagiarism or other legal problems.
Users can listen to different “radio stations” on Larala, similar to playlists. Choose a specific type of music or a world-famous band or singer to listen to depending on your mood. Stations can range from rock music to reggeaton, or Madonna and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.
As soon as you click on what you want to hear, the music will start to play. On the downside, you can’t skip or return to a specific track and you can’t know which songs are on the playlist. Depending on what type of radio station you choose, there will be a small biography or an intro written on the page.
PS: There’s a site specifically for radios! Larala.fm
The platform is great but, how can it level up to its international competitors?
I can definitely say that the idea for Larala is great but there’s much to work on if they want to level up to competitors like Spotify or SoundCloud. My initial recommendations would be the following:
- Let users interact with each other. I think it would be great to have something similar to a “like button” and a comments section on the artists and DJ’s profiles. Also, the possibility of messaging one another could be good. This way people could make connections within the website. In order to avoid negative comments or harassment, the approach used by Linkedin could work.
- Keeping track of the music you like. Maybe the option of creating playlists could be a good idea. Adding to this, on the radio section, it would be nice to know which songs belong to that radio. Additionally, having a chance to skip songs would be nice too.
- Authentication of content. As I mentioned before, making sure the musical truly belongs to that user could prevent many issues in the future.
- Improved UI. I believe there’s a big opportunity area in terms of design and the optimization of its brand. The branding itself is certainly nice, but its web representation could do better. For instance, smoother buttons, more sophisticated fonts and even optimized user-flow could well improve its first impression and overall user retention.
At the end of the day, I think Larala has much potential. Though the concept is not entirely new, it’s just another example of a Latin American startup tropicalizing an existing model to the regional market.
If you are a musician looking to make your way in the music industry, I would absolutely recommend Larala. The site offers you exposure and the possibility to connect with other like-minded individuals.