Best-ever site for online music?

Peoplesound promises none of the 'rubbish'

Following an intense off-line advertising campaign, online music portal Peoplesound.com launches Tuesday with music from 1000 new bands available for free download in MP3.

So what's new about Peoplesound? Compared to the raft of other online purveyors of digital music, Peoplesound's content comes off pretty well: every one of the tracks on offer has been selected by the company's own dedicated A&R team which includes former scouts from Mercury, Capital and Sony.

Having scouts on a music site may seem extravagant, but Peoplesound, which began life on a Cape Town beach, can afford it. Nearly £305m of private investment has gone into the project which is headed by Ernesto Schmidt, president of Peoplesound. "What makes Peoplesound the best site for online music is that the music is uniformly excellent," says Schmidt. "Most of the music on the Internet is pure rubbish."

Over the last few months during the run-up to the launch, Schmidt says the site was receiving hundreds of CDs a week from prospective bands, out of which just 1000 were chosen. Once bands get through the selection procedure they are given a £100 cash advance, another first for digital music sites. They can then post a selection of tracks for free play or download, and offer CDs of their music for online purchase. Peoplesound handles all the transactional issues and CD pressing for which it takes 50 percent of the net profit from sales.

When logging on to Peoplesound for the first time users are asked to answer questions about music preferences. This produces a list of bands to match the preferences. Schmidt believes the intelligent search engine technology and navigation used on the site is another unique attraction for digital music fans. "We are the first ever to develop a navigation system that understands your choice of music," said Schmidt, "and its damn fun to use as well."

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