LP33.tv, the experimental music site that was once called myAWOL (but changed its name to avoid confusion with MyAOL), has launched to the public. The site will compete against a strong field of competitors like MySpace Music, but hopes to distinguish itself with a dedicated content production team and an innovative approach to signing new artists, as well as its experienced team of executives.
At first glance, the site bears many similarities to MySpace and a host of other music sites. Artists are allowed to create profile pages, which they can use to stream their music for free in an effort to increase exposure. But LP33.tv is adopting a somewhat unique approach to driving traffic to each of these bands. The site’s editors handpick the most promising musicians from the crowd and feature them in original TV-like video content that is similar to MTV’s Total Request Live program. In the future, the site will also give some of its most popular artists the chance to sign on to its own record label (though this is still a ways off).
Because the site has a heavy focus on producing new, unique content multiple times a week, it can effectively be used by its visitors as an “MTV for the web” (the actually plays music). Unlike most music sites, users don’t have to explore the site to find a potentially good artist – they can sit back and see what bands they like on the site’s free shows. Alternatively, LP33.tv features a rich social network, which allows users to swap favorite bands as they would on other music-based sites.
The site also has an array of tools for artists, which allow them to create and sell ringtones, merchandise, and their music. Artists and their fans can also embed the LP33.tv video player throughout the web, which allows them to play entire playlists of their favorite videos.
I really like the idea behind LP33.tv – it’s a new approach to helping bands gain exposure, and gives them an alternative to the traditional music labels that are growing significanty less appealing. That said, the execution needs some work. Artist storefronts consist of very basic shopping widgets that look very bland, and the site only supports PayPal for the time being (though it will be implementing support for more payment methods in the near future). I also find some of the UI choices to be unintuitive, with some key features appearing as tiny links that could easily be lost among the dozens of photos and video clips. Then again, I could have said the same thing about MySpace’s old layout, which obviously hasn’t hindered that site.
LP33.tv’s consumer site is only part of the company’s effort to serve the rapidly evolving music scene. Last month the company launched The MIDB, a site that aims to become a database for all music-related professionals.