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New Media Pioneer: Marques Lyons of Inside the Circle

insidethecircleInside the Circle is an online destination for news, information and conversation about Zune, Music and Community. The site began in July of 2008 as a place for readers to engage in open, thought-provoking and stimulating discussion. Inside the Circle is also proud to help give voice and exposure to musical acts of different genres and styles — both from the indie and mainstream areas. This is done through: interviews, reviews and free music downloads (both embedded from the blog and links to locations of free music).

Q) Tell us a little bit about your site. What inspired you to start it?

A) Inside the Circle began as an extension of what I was doing as a participant in Microsoft’s Zune Social website. I’ve always enjoyed talking to people about music (especially since I studied music as a potential career) and I always wanted to make sure that I did whatever I could to give a voice to both indie and mainstream artists. Too many outlets are focused on the shiny new money-maker, and that’s fine, but there are also a good number of artists who simply need some exposure and Inside the Circle hopes to provide that whenever possible. I’m honored to have 3 other awesome individuals helping me with this endeavor. Their contributions are a valuable asset to what this blog aims to do.

Q) Why do you believe new media resources (i.e. blogs, podcasts, internet radio stations) have become so popular? How have they been beneficial to artists? How have they been detrimental?

A) I think new media is popular because it allows for instant interaction and feedback. The second you put something out there you can immediately see the reactions from listeners, followers and fans. It helps the artists because they can use these mediums to reach a wide audience in a variety of ways. However, having so many mediums to choose from can be overwhelming.

Q) Media 2.0 has changed the way artists communicate with fans. Where do you envision online communication going next? Any thoughts on what Media “3.0” will look like?

A) I see Media 3.0 as an always-on scenario. With everything being available using cell phones and with cities looking more at become very WiFi compatible, it’s only a matter of time before all of our devices are always-on and, because of that, we’ll be able to communicate, share and access media and content much easier than we do now. Imagine not having to log into a network every time you wanted to perform a particular task.

Q) What does an artist have to do to get your attention? Are their specific characteristics that you look for?

A) For me, the artist just has to believe in what they’re doing. Frankly, I’ve listened to many artists in my time. Some were good and some where not-so-good. However, I do give all of these artists great credit for at least putting themselves out there for people to listen to and evaluate. What grabs me about a particular song, though, would be the beat and the flow of the lyrics. I think both really go hand-in-hand to create a great song.

Q) What do you ultimately hope to accomplish with your site?

A) Inside the Circle will always believe in 2 core principles: Community: Always listening and having dialogue with our readership as it pertains to music (and technology, as well) and Sharing: Giving a voice to artists to help bring them to a wider audience and giving them another avenue to showcase their talents. I think currently, Inside the Circle accomplishes that and we’ll continue to do that as long as music continues to be made. :)

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