Breaking News: Crossfader Beta Launched by Microsoft

The new Microsoft DJ/Mixer community site, Crossfader, was released in beta today. Member forums, member blogs, music uploads, and an integrated music/video player are all included, making for a pretty impressive package.

Microsoft Launches Crossfader BetaI think this may be part of Microsoft's effort to perpetuate a "cool" factor for its media products. Right now, when one hears "Microsoft", one thinks of Bill Gates' bespectacled face. With ultra-hip Apple dominating the digital music scene, Microsoft's brand would strongly benefit from a hiphop/house/electronica-based following. Media products such its new MSN music service could use the boost. That being said, Microsoft branding is minimal -- more prominantly inserted are references to Cakewalk Sonar, Ableton Live 4.0, Rane MP4, and GoBOXX. All involved probably hope to form a strong bond with a rapidly expanding home recording market.

Crossfader is geared towards DJ/Mixer/Techno/Trance enthusiasts, creators, producers, and promoters. If you fit that bill, jump in early. As I write, there is been only one post in the forum so far..!

Thanks to Hackingnetflix for dropping me a line about the launch.

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Thanks for the heads up on this, I be visiting your site regularly.


Thanks, JTk. It's tough to love the big MS, but so far, Crossfader is looking good. Thanks for reading!


A site for electronic music and global electronic artists... what an idea. :) It's something that hit my mind back in 2000 when I was getting tired of's antics and decided to start a site for my scene.

I've been running for more than 4 years now - on my own, working for free, no funding... yes, very indie! My site has nearly 3,000 artists with nearly 4,000 tracks online - last year I served over a million mp3 streams and downloads to over 750,000 unique visitors. And now... MS wants to be my competition. :)

It's not everyday that you finish dinner, wash the dishes, then check the Web to find that you not only have a new competitor, but that it's none other than Microsoft. LOL

It's interesting that they are targeting the root genre of electronic music, and not simply trying to appeal to all unsigned-indie artists. Or am I just not aware of another site that they are launching?

Thank you so much for posting about this - I've added your blog to my RSS reader and will be back to comb through your content.


Gideon Marken

Sorry about the unpleasant post-dinner surprise. ;)

Regarding their targetting of the Electronica genre (along with house, hiphop, etc), I've also been wondering what their long term strategy is, and if they have other niches they plan on targetting? It could just be the tip of a new strategic iceberg.

Perhaps part of the choice was trying to form a connection with a group of consumers that act as "Trend Setters". After all, DJs determine what will be heard in clubs and radio broadcasts, and Mixers decide what what music is worth being sampled, what playlists should be created, etc. A strong connection with this group would give you a nice look into what's cool.

Perhaps, they're targetting a vastly expanding market. Home recording is becoming a huge source of revenue for digital audio software and gear providers. Of all the genres of home recording, "mixing" and "DJ-ing" have the lowest barriers to entry -- you need not be able to play an instrument, sing on key, or rap. You need to have an ear for beats, loops, and chords that sound good together. I.e., almost anyone can become an entry-level DJ if you provide them with the right tools. Microsoft, Cakewalk, Rane, and Live are already advertising these tools on Big $$ potential? You bet!

My $0.02.

>>> Sorry about the unpleasant post-dinner surprise.

yeah it was priceless :)

>>> It could just be the tip of a new strategic iceberg.

yeah - maybe a bit of a market test - it's a niche market - a small one compared to rock bands or the whole run of genres. This is a micro (as in small, not as in soft) strategy that you usually don't see a megacorp employ. They normally would go big.

You have to figure that they have maybe 4 people working on the site. Then their insurance, office space, etc., and in all, you see something like a $350,000+ investment on their part - not counting any promotions/advertising they'll do.

>>> Of all the genres of home recording, "mixing" and "DJ-ing" have the lowest barriers to entry

cost is a facor too. You can get going w/ $0.

Everything you need is on the Web - and no, I'm not talking about Warez :) I mean real shareware, freeware, samples, loops, speeches, virtual instruments, effects, encoders, everything but the computer.

>>> you need not be able to play an instrument, sing on key, or rap. You need to have an ear for beats, loops, and chords that sound good together

exactly - playing an instrument is definately not a requirement. Most of the aritsts I'm friends w/ on my site do not play an instrument nor read music nor understand theory. But, they have talent, great ears, and spend 100's of hours hand positioning every note to create some amazing music.

And - if you do play an instrument - then you have an element to apply to your tracks, just don't get caught up in the rules, learn to brake 'em.

Everyone should give it a try. If you hit ElectronicScene - you'll find a few 1,000 tracks by 1,000's of people who used to not make music - that's inspiration!

Good points, Gideon. By the way, Microsoft released yet another DJ-related site, this time co-branded with Coke, called The Scenario. Interesting.


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