Launched on Aug. 5, 2005, MusicFreedom.com has become one of the Web’s newest music communities, solely dedicated to helping unsigned acts get noticed. The privately held company is backed by three co-founders: Bill Marquez, CEO of search engine Nelster, music producer Alex Greggs and *Nsync’s Joshua “JC” Chasez.
Greggs has worked with artists such as Michael Jackson, Duran Duran, Brandy and *Nsync. He has produced numerous albums for major recording labels and has sold over 50 million units.
There were times when he had a project that was too ahead of its time, or the major label did not understand the type of music. He felt there were always two places at any given time — selling tons of albums or selling none.
Anyone can sign up for a free account. Artists have the freedom to upload their own songs, pictures and videos. Users, or regular account holders, have the capability to listen, rate and buy the downloaded songs.
The site charges 99 cents per song. About 20 cents goes to the credit card provider while the remaining 80 cents is split equally between the artist and the site.
Kimberly Lady, a new user from Indianapolis, heard about MusicFreedom from a friend of hers. She is not a fan of buying or downloading music from artists she is not familiar with, but there is one feature she does like on MusicFreedom.
“They have a launch radio where you can listen to the new artists. If I hear an artist I really like, than at that point I might consider buying and downloading their songs,” Lady said. Users can sign up to be part of the promo force to help promote MusicFreedom and their artists.
Users will be eligible to be part of the promotions, contests and giveaways the site might have.
Artists have blogs on their pages where they can update their itinerary for their fans or for representatives from the music industry who might be watching. Comments can also be left by both users and other artists. This allows others to see what someone might have thought about a particular artist’s music they had downloaded.
Eric Johnson is a music producer and co-owner of The Pop Machine recording studios in Indianapolis. Johnson knows the owner of loudenergy.com, another music download site very similar to MusicFreedom. When loudenergy came out it was one of the first of its kind.
The biggest success loudenergy had was when Transmatic, a band Johnson produced a song for, attracted the attention of various labels, including Flawless and Song. They eventually signed to Immortal/Virgin. The band was dropped after selling only 6,000 records, but they were one of the first bands signed off of the Internet.
“The main concern with MusicFreedom.com and any Web site for that matter is its ability to generate consumer Web traffic to the site,” Johnson explained. “That is why sites like Yahoo are so valuable to advertisers, because there are people surfing it all day.”
He believes sites such as Myspace have a huge advantage over MusicFreedom and others because they were one of the first meaningful players in the market.
“They also have the magic word: traffic,” Johnson said.
He said MusicFreedom has the functionality of Myspace and looks very well-done, but he suggested those behind it need do something different to help differentiate themselves from other sites like their own.
“Perhaps work to launch a band like Transmatic via loudenergy or get a major artist release their record from it like NIN did with Myspace,” Johnson said.
Greggs believes MusicFreedom is right on track to where its creators figured it would be today. There are about 20 more pages of features to add, but because of budget they can only add a few each month.
“We are working on some strategic partnerships with a lot of companies that will help MusicFreedom and their company,” Greggs said. “But until the deals are done I can’t really go into names. Most of our future will be viral marketing, kinda like how Myspace did. A friend tells a friend and so on.”
Greggs has high hopes the site will become a new music industry within itself. Those working behind the scenes and in front of the scenes hope it will help launch a music revolution.
With the explosion of home recording studios, musicians today are producing radio quality musical compositions in their own homes. Over 1,400 unsigned artists have signed up on MusicFreedom.
Greggs’ goal with the site is to have made a change in the music business, to get music out of the hands that dominate the recording industry and put music and power back in the hands of the artists and the music-loving community.