Being a musician, I faced lots of standard challenges which face every other musicians when they first move to a new place or simply relocate.
First and foremost, you need to know where to get gear from, or even where to maintain your own gear. We are not exactly big in western music in this region however every musician is loyal and conscious to his/her brands simply because with time you learn which brands suit you and get used to them. So finding an instrument of a specific brand in a new place is a true challenge.
What would help a lot is getting to know other musicians who can guide you through, however there lies the second challenge. This breed of people usually gathers in specific places and likes to hang around specific areas. Do not get me wrong of course they are everywhere, but they don’t exactly wear t-shirts that say “I am a musician”. So if you were lucky enough like myself, you will have work colleagues who are big into music, otherwise good luck.
Combined with these two challenges is selling and buying used gear and equipment. Your only resort is using common classifieds channels which are not specialized and usually classify you under miscellaneous.
Saying you overcame all these challenges (which you will with time and handwork), how about finding out about all musical events that are happening around you? Again you will need to resort to the popular and common event calendars and channels, which means checking at least 3 or 4 sources and subscribing to other 3 as well to keep yourself informed. Staying in the right circles helps as well.
Finally, what if you are really good at what you do and would like to form a band, or be found basically to perform live somewhere or even get signed with a label? Or simply record your music with good quality and not at home?
Lots of common needs for every musician really regardless of what they play or what they do, be it an instrument player or a singer or a DJ.
So in 2006 I wanted to help making musicians’ lives easier by launching a community site providing all the tools necessary to overcome these problems. My personal challenges however were that I was busy focusing on my work and trying to learn as much as possible, I was also limited on financials to hire professionals to do it since it is not exactly a commercial project with expected returns, and I could never find time to do it myself.
Recently though my friend PAZ who launched Mixtura Records offered me free hosting and lots of support to make this vision come to reality since he believed in it too. With this my excuses were done and it was on my resolutions list for this year to make it happen so I took the chance.
It might not be the best looking site around, especially with pioneering community site breakthroughs in our lives like facebook and linkedin and what have you. However it is feature packed and it does the job. I built it in 2 weeks using Joomla! – which is an experience that requires a separate blog post so stay tuned if you are interested in knowing how it feels to develop sites on Joomla! vs developing sites on Wordpress.
DubaiMusicians.com offers you:
1. Listing of your profile as soon as you registered. Your profile contain all the basic information any other musician or label would be curious to find out about you, plus you have the ability of showcasing your original music on the site. Small cool tools to support the community are available such as ajax one to one chat with other registered users, status feeds, and internal messaging system.
2. Groups joining and creating ability to unify common interests such as being fans of a specific genre or work colleagues, or even band members. Each group gets its own bulletin and messaging system so they can share conversation immediately.
3. Specialized Directory on the site which will hopefully grow with time, listing all known music instrument stores, record labels, recording studios, audio equipment and music academies. Directory is powered with advanced search which allows you to filter by area or brand or category. The directory also allows registered users to rate and review stores and share their experiences so you stay informed.
4. Events Calendar which lists all major musical events happening in Dubai and other emirates so it can be your one stop of finding out whats happening.
5. Classifieds engine which helps you to list your own ads through different categories to either join bands or form them, sell or buy gear, offer teaching services or announce events. Open for public to view, browse, and search and only for registered members to list and control the ads.
As you can see I tried to think of everything to help musicians overcome all the challenges I listed on top. I am always open for suggestions and enhancements, and especially bug reports since the site is still in beta stage.
I have added a thorough FAQ section as well which will hopefully answer any questions you might have.
So if you are a musician please register and make use of the site. If you are not, you are more than welcome to register as well and become part of the community. Most important for both is please spread the word and lets make it work!