It’s never been easier for a musician or band to record a track, while the Internet offers virtually no barriers to distribution. But, arguably, with supply outstripping demand, it’s also becoming harder to be discovered by fans and record labels alike. Today sees the Beta launch of Chartburst, a simple take on solving the discovery problem which employs the crowd to help the cream rise to the top and put it in front of the ears of major record label scouts.
Specifically, Chartburst consists of 10 genre-specific charts that artists are invited to upload their tracks to. The crowd is then asked for their vote and every month the top five tracks in each chart are referred to the labels and management companies who have signed up to work with Chartburst, such as Sony Music, Atlantic Records, Columbia Records and others. And while there is no guarantee that a record deal will come of it, each month the top 5 voted tracks in each chart are guaranteed to receive record label feedback on their work in the form of an emailed report.
The catch: Artists pay a monthly fee of $5 to enter up to two tracks to the A&R-watching charts (the charts are reset every two weeks) and whether or not this proves to be money well spent is yet to be seen. However, that’s unlikely to stop those desperate for a record deal giving Chartburst a go — of which the pipeline is potentially endless — and if the site can attract enough voting users (who join for free), then it might prove a useful way of connecting to fans and testing out new material. That said, SoundCloud already does this aspect extremely well.
Founded by father and son combo, Laurie and Francis Gane, who run a residential recording studio in North Wales (Gane senior is also an experienced musician whose credits include playing with The Yardbirds and Eric Clapton during the British blues boom of the sixties!), the idea behind Chartburst came out of the frustration at seeing so much unsigned talent come through their doors.
“I’ve helped my father run a successful residential recording studio for a number of years and have always been amazed at the talent that goes under the radar”, says Francis Gane. “At least 25% of our clients don’t even have record deals, and simply plough their own money into their music with little hope of seeing a return. Some don’t deserve to make it big whereas some are incredibly talented. It is these talented ones that made us take the plunge with Chartburst”.
Of course, over the years there have been a ton of startups trying to solve the problem of discovery, either from the consumer end or trying to help artists/bands get noticed by the recording industry or fans, with limited success. France’s My Major Label springs to mind, while the UK’s Slicethepie appears to have gone through a number of pivots, now focusing on reviews rather than its original mission of helping bands get released and signed via crowdfunding.