Sites like UK based Peoplesound.com, -- offering music online by new artists beginning this autumn -- believe they can topple the monopoly of major record companies and enable more bands to make a name for themselves.
There have been past attempts to promote new music online but these have invariably meant a band paying for the privilege of not being promoted particularly well. Peoplesound.com is working hard to dispel that image and is putting money where its market spiel is by offering musicians £100 to join. If they pass the Peoplesound A&R selection and gain a contract, Peoplesound will share 50% of the net profit from record sales. The figure is far more than you'd expect from most major record companies, 17-20% of sales is normal, and even independent labels only offer around 30% after overheads.
Peoplesound will offer customers two free songs from every band as a taster and then invite customers to create their own compilations in CD Realaudio or MP3 format.
Ernesto Schmidt, president of Peoplesound told ZDNet: "Consumers don't understand music anymore, they find it bewildering to go into a record shop with no idea of what anything sounds like. We will offer them the chance to explore different areas of music and then have a personalised selection on whatever format they like. The record industry has been fighting personalised music for years but now things are gong to change."
Tripper, one of the bands signed to Peoplesound, are hopeful that using the new site will bring their big break. Manager and Ex-music lawyer, Frazer Fearnhead, said: "I have had Tripper played on the radio and on television, but I've been unable to find a major record label interested in signing them. The Internet negates the advantage that big record companies have always had -- to promote and sell a band all over the world."
The idea that projects like this may encourage music piracy over the Internet is also of little concern to a band trying to get exposure. "People copy music from the radio and from CDs anyway, so I don't see any problem," says Fearnhead. "We see this as a promotional tool. As long as people get to hear the band we don't care."
Take me to the MP3 Special