I like to try out lots of internet services and sites, especially music ones, and often sign up to beta invite lists of services on the basis of patchy information. Months later an invite can pop into my inbox and I’ve no recollection of who or what on earth the service is, so discover it all over again.
One such service invite arrived today for Novatunes. The email included a long blurb which I couldn’t be bothered to read and so dived onto the site. What I found was a music site that showcases a “select” group of artist for whom Novatunes operates as a promotion and distribution platform. At present, 48 artists are signed up and each has their own profile pages on which they can provide news, bio, photos, tour news and operate a fan site, as well as enabling you to listen to their album via a player on the site. Most significantly they can sell their DRM-free music directly to the consumer, retaining 70% of the proceeds, by-passing the record industry machine.
Clearly this model isn’t unique and other sites do something similar. But what does differentiate the site from many is that Novatunes is a) going for a restricted set of artists to showcase for now b) those artists evidently have to make a larger commitment to the site than might be the case with simply setting up a profile pages as they might on say Bebo or MySpace. I say this because several random artist I looked at featured an intro video interview with the artist in which they specifically explained the rationale behind their Novatunes site.
The biggest kick for me though was that one of the artists I stumbled upon was Julia Fordham, who is one of my favourite artists – her track “Love moves in mysterious ways” was the track my wife and I selected at our wedding for the “first dance” because we loved her albums. Complete serendipity to find her showcased on the site and I’m listening to her new album on the site as I write this post.
Glancing at the artist directory, I confess that I don’t recognise many of the artist names and nor does it look like chart topping stuff. But these are evidently talented musicians showcasing on a new but well-put together site. Worth a browse round even if you are only window shopping – you should check out Meiko and Julia Fordham as a minimum.