Longtime readers of this site will know that I have a fascination with the way that the music industry is being transformed by the Web, much like other content-related industries (such as the one I work in), and how artists such as Trent Reznor and Girl Talk are dealing with that transformation. In addition to those experiments, we’ve seen a number of Web services and companies launch to try and help musicians evolve, from Topspin Media, which was founded by former Winamp and Yahoo Music exec Ian Rogers, to RCRD LBL, which was started by Engadget founder Peter Rojas.
Now, Andy “Waxy” Baio brings news of another startup aiming to fill that void and make it easier for artists to connect directly with (and sell directly to) their fans. It’s called Bandcamp (great name) and was co-founded by Ethan Diamond, one of the founders of Oddpost. For those who may not recall, Oddpost was one of the first Ajax-powered Web apps, and offered a desktop-style interface to Webmail long before Google’s Gmail came along, and was eventually bought by Yahoo. Andy has a great interview with Ethan about what he is trying to do with Bandcamp.
In a nutshell, many musicians — and I know a couple myself — wind up with either a crappy Web site built by a friend, or someone who doesn’t really know what they’re doing, or they go with the default, which is to use MySpace. For some artists, MySpace may be good enough, but Bandcamp looks like it could be a great solution for many others: for one thing, bands can provide the site with lossless audio, and they handle all the encoding into different formats and setting up the retail side of the site, so that the band can sell their own music. Bandcamp has obviously thought a fair bit about SEO as well, which is a crucial part of being found on the Web.
At a different end of the music industry spectrum, iLike has launched an expansion of its music-streaming service in partnership with Rhapsody, which will allow Web services of all kinds to integrate music into their site. For example, invitations to a party sent through Evite could include an interactive song list. The only downside is that the streaming is restricted to just 25 full songs a month, at which point it reverts to 30-second samples.