Posted by Sophie Stratford | Posted in Independent Music Finds, Sophie Stratford | Posted on 21-11-2009
Sophie Stratford talks to Tom Fearn founder of OOiZiT.com and the music industry’s next big problem.
The record industry is undergoing a paradigm shift in the 21st century, and the latest stage of evolution has arrived – in the form of new music platform OOiZiT.com. The site offers unsigned artists the chance to have a hit. OOiZiT.com combines the capabilities of sites such as Spotify, MySpace Music, iTunes, Reverb Nation, Twitter and Facebook under one banner, but with a key difference: the ability to propel users into the charts. On OOiZiT.com, musicians can not only build an online following, but sell direct to them – and see those sales count towards official chart positions. No record deal, publisher or ‘middle men’ necessary. Never before has the route from bedsit to stardom been so direct.
OOiZiT.com already has grown over 900% since it launched on a trial basis earlier this year, going fully live on the 12th November 09. One of its members, rapper Alex Blood, has already used it as a launch pad and gone on to tour with Mark Ronson and Jay-Z and attracted major label interest.
Explain briefly, exactly what is OOiZiT in a nutshell?
It’s a social network for new UK music artists. Basically you sign up, create a profile and an online presence. The site acts as sales platform for them; so they are able to sell and market their own tracks and material all through one site.
How is it different from other music sites?
There are a couple of main differences, one is that is it 100% music focused, it’s a sales site (if you sign up to the Premium account £9.97 per month) and those sales count towards official chart positions. This is quite a big step forward for the music industry and unsigned artists alike. It’s hugely exciting to think that someone could put together a track in their bedroom one week and hear it on the radio the next, with no need to sign any rights or seek a corporate stamp of approval.
Also how is it similar to social networking sites, like Myspace, Facebook etc?
Yes it is, people can create profiles, have bios, events news and just build an online community, and make friends with the people already in our community. We’ve utilised all the social networking elements, (the parts you need to utilise) but also added our own features.
How popular is the site already?
Well we have only been launched for a week or so but we are growing quite rapidly. We have already through our BETA testing throughout out the last few months got about 1200 music artists and bands on there at the moment. Obviously we have only just started to push it out there. We’re doing a lot of work offline too just to try and help artists.
Is it successful?
Anybody can sign up to the site for free, but in order to sell their music they have to upgrade to our premium package – £9.97 per month, we have about 20 people on this at the moment, however bear in mind we haven’t been launched that long at all. However, people are already selling their tracks, we made our first two pay outs over the last week or two, one for £70 and one for £60, which is a lot of money for an unsigned band to earn in a week. It is proving a success.
Is this wholly a British site or can artists overseas access it?
It’s completely focused on UK artists; it’s all about UK music. With all the social networks you go onto you are in amongst the masses, so this is specifically targeted towards the UK.
What kinds of ways do you promote the artists?
Each month a featured artist who we think deserves that extra bit of exposure is selected to benefit from OOiZiT’s promotional machine. This artist is placed on the home page of the site. Also we help bands with whatever they want to achieve, that being a record deal or to record a new album. OOiZiT.com gives music artists help and advice about the music industry, dealing with PR issues, record companies and contracts. OOiZiT is a more in depth service than just putting up your profile on a site, we really do engage with our community. We also have a whole resources section on the site which anyone can access, it gives top line information in the industry; where’s it going, how to plan your first gig etc, things bands don’t necessarily know of the top of their heads. We go that extra mile.
So, what’s the future of OOiZiT?
We want to get much more out of what we can do offline for the bands and help to promote their gigs awareness, and this is going to come with getting more people on the site and engaging with them much more on the community and building the community. Similarly we really want to make a big success through the site as well, we will be searching for the next big stars, and we want to prove that artists can get successful without having to rely on the major labels.
Interview By Sophie Stratford