Discovering and sharing new music online has been a key feature of the internet since the late 90s and it has never been bigger than now. Big name industry players like Spotify, Soundcloud and Last.fm have grown in recent years, all eager for their own slice of the pie. One thing that is common between all these platforms, though, is the nature of the music available. Even artist dependent platforms like Soundcloud are increasingly being dominated by chart topping music, leaving little to no space for lesser known musicians and bands. This is the phenomenon that Andy, a 20 year old University student from the North West of England found objectionable.
“None of this One Direction type nonsense”
As he says, “I was frustrated at charts on iTunes and Spotify being full of artists such as Justin Bieber, and other sites seemed to just be Web 1.0, consisting of just the recommendations of the site/blog owner.” Searching YouTube for music seemed too inefficient as well. Frustrated in his search for fresh, original music, Andy decided to create Recordbox, a platform where artists were truly new and original as well (“none of this One Direction type nonsense”, he says.) Andy wanted to provide small, up and coming bands with a space where they could showcase their music and didn’t have to compete with major label artists. Recordbox is targeted towards two kinds of people – first, at small and new bands who need more exposure and second, at fans of good music who are thoroughly fed up with the constant proliferation of chart music in places like iTunes and Spotify.
According to Andy, places like Spotify do contain music from lesser known bands but it is difficult to discover them because of the format. Recordbox solves that problem by bringing you straight to the “New” page, so that you are immediately greeted by the freshest tracks right away. Furthermore, there are no major artists hogging the “hot” page; if someone’s video has been viewed on YouTube 400,000 times, then Recordbox is not the place for them. Users can also vote up their favorite tracks, making them more popular and making it easy for new visitors to find good music. A fan of a diverse range of Alternative and Rock ranging from The Smiths to Bon Iver to Led Zeppelin, Andy is currently focused on the Alternative, Pop, Rock and Acoustic genres on Recordbox, but says that there is scope to add more as time goes on. He anticipates that most bands featured will either be Acoustic or Alternative, but if a Spacesynth, Math Rock or Chiptune artist wants to upload their music then a new category will be happily created for them. The content is all user-generated, and while the database is still small, it is rapidly growing with a number of bands and independent music labels lined up to post their music soon.
Make way, X-Factor
Andy says that he would love to facilitate easy downloading of music on Recordbox in the future, either for a fee or not according to the band’s choice. So far he has done with no funding, except applying to his University for support which covered only the merest of basics such as business cards and flyers. He hopes that the site will grow organically, without the need for funding, through word-of-mouth publicity from music fans, bands, or even just people who share his philosophy of sharing good music. Recordbox could potentially catch on in the student demographic, with its focus on Alternative bands. Andy asserts he will the thrilled to launch iOS and Android ports if the platform proves popular enough, although he qualifies that by noting that the site already looks good on the iPad. His long term future goal is to change the way new musicians view their options when it comes to getting off the ground. “I don’t want people believing that The X Factor is the only way they can get themselves out there,” he says.