Anadi, founder of the UK-based Heart, Body and Soul portal, talks about his creation.
I want SoundsOrange (www.soundsorange.com) to be a Heart, Body and Soul portal that helps people find inspiration and know what is available for them. People like us who have been involved in meditation for the last 20-25 years, we take things for granted. But there are a lot of people out there that are new to all this and they need support. They don’t have the resources and that is what SoundsOrange wants to provide. It works because I have received some great feed-back from people thanking me for the help SoundsOrange has given them.
SoundsOrange (did you notice the hint to sannyas?) started out as an mp3 download site, but now we also have a radio station. It plays all the music available on SoundsOrange; people can listen to it and get a good idea of what is available. Then I added e-books, video interviews, concert videos and seminars. Some courses – anything from angels to marketing for hippies – are pay per view but the majority is free. They can be on any subject as long as they are down to the ‘Heart, Body and Soul’ genre. We are now getting around 25,000 visits per month and I am happy with that.
One of my concerns, from the beginning, was that the website should be easy to use: easy to find what you are looking for and easy to pay. I think that I have managed that. On SoundsOrange you cannot get lost as it happens on other websites. So many emails have come in from people telling me how easy SoundsOrange is to use. A record producer I was working with reported back to me that his ten year-old son found his way around the site with no problem. This is because I took the time to sit down and really study the best bits from all the other mp3 download websites that were around at the time.
How it all started? My first job was that of a computer programmer, then I became a full-time musician. I worked as a producer and sound engineer and had a successful record label, Fokus Records (during the vinyl era). After this dissolved I discovered Osho. I had been practicing Buddhist meditations but what really helped me was listening to Osho and devouring his books. And when it was time to find a money-making job again I went back to programming. I was coding websites for other people and thought, “I really miss the music.” I so much loved my years running the record label that I thought, “Why not recreate that and bring it into the future?” That was seven years ago, in 2005.
I could do all the programming myself and I had a lot of contacts in the music industry from the dance scene and of course I knew a lot of people, including sanyasins that were producing meditation and New Age music. So it didn’t take long to build a library of good music. First we hosted music of all sorts of genres but quite early on it became obvious that meditation music, the likes of Deva Premal and Miten, did not mix well with the other underground dance music. So I split it into two websites: SoundsOrange dedicated to meditation and SoundsPurple for dance music. My passion slowly waned from SoundsPurple and more and more I am concentrating on SoundsOrange.
The idea for this project I had before I went to China and when I came back I knew “I am going to do this!” I was into martial arts (Kung Fu, Tai Chi, Qui Gong, Muay Thai) and one day I decided to go to China and train with the Shaolin Monks, in a place called Yuhur near Siping. The training was so hard, really hard core, up at 5 in the morning and doing 4 mile runs by 5:30 with hill sprints – it was so hard… and we didn’t finish until 9 in the evening. It must have given me the stamina I needed to persue such a project.
I first drew out all the plans of how the website would work, studied dozens of other mp3 websites and saw that I could do things differently and then redesigned the whole thing again. The website went through this process about 3 or 4 times before I was happy enough to move forward. Am I a perfectionist? Oh yes, definitely. I am driven to get it right. I like that. I look at people like Steve Jobs – he was a perfectionist – and look at what he has achieved. For me it is great to be a perfectionist as long as you know when to stop!
And the future of SoundsOrange? It’s TV. I have realised that SoundsOrange is competing with iTunes when it comes to selling mp3s and Amazon when it comes to selling e-books. Of course that is always going to be hard work. But I think that there is space for New Age movies. A friend of mine made a movie about the Dalai Lama (Road to Peace) and we are very excited to be in talks about having movies like this on SoundsOrange. That’s the direction the website is taking. If I know the German film ‘A Summer in Orange’? Not yet.