Fairtilizer, which is an online music community aspiring to define a new generation of music media. The premise behind this startup is that user generated music media is a threshold where online recommendations, distribution, artists and labels will pass the traditional TV, radio and print vehicles. In a not-so-new venue Fairtilizer, early on, has the key element for a successful music startup – some killer artists. The climate is harsh for entries into this arena but Fairtilizer is just getting off the ground.The other day I tracked down another early alpha-testing startup called
P2P, MP3 and word of mouth avenues for reviewing new artists and content may provide the stimulus for a new age in the music industry according to the Fairtilizer developers, and they intend to position themselves in the gap as a conduit for excellent content. According to their “about” section people need a “trusted’ filter to capture great music, while artists want and need a real DIY amplifier to push their music out of. The Fairtilzer “track centric” methodology, though not a new innovation, does solve the pain of buying 10 terrible songs to get two great cuts. Fairtilizer, a Geneva, Switzerland based company, was founded by Olivier Rosset a veteran of the music industry. Fairtilizer business details are not yet available as the company is seeking additional investors in these early stages.
Tracks submitted to Fairtilizer appear in the “Upcoming Section” where the tracks that get the most support make it to the Charting Section. Based on a member’s status (member, junior member or senior member) the tracks appear in a buffer zone where the community members and an Editorial Board validate the quality and the ownership of the track. Members can see the tracks they have uploaded on their “My Tracks” page and each track is labeled with its status as it traverses the Buffer Zone, Upcoming Section or Charting section. In short, Fairtilizer is first a filter for new artists and listeners to connect.
Fairtilizer uses a simple, clean interface that offers good navigation. The site is relatively quick compared to some and organization is straightforward. Standard tools for any Web 2.0 offering include: an embed feature, my playlist, my tracks, ratings, my votes, my profile and very good searchability either worldwide or localized. Searching or browsing on Fairtilizer is easy and though the artist submissions are not overly numerous there is a good representation there already. Sometimes simple is just more elegant and this is music not video man. Sharing via email, embed and RSS are options and my tracks downloaded to my iTunes player flawlessly.
It’s About the Music
Honestly, a dozen sites have better atmosphere but music is about audio for most. I must say that Fairtilizer has some killer tracks from a variety of exceptional artist fro around the globe. As an example for my tastes there are representations for virtually every genre, and a few in particular took up about 2 hours of my visit. Two great vocal standouts grabbed my attention, one being Lucky Joy who belts out lyrics ala Zepplin with a song titled “On the road” that can be heard on the artist’s MySpace site. The second fine vocal artist I discovered was WalkTheTalk (Will Halliday) an Australian artist whose lyrics were not spot on, but singing the track "Draino" demonstrated a water smooth voice that can be tuned in via his web site too. Other genres are filled with fantastic talent like Jazz/Ambient/Experimentalist Takeshi Nishimoto and at least two dozen others that provided and show and a surprise for this test pilot.
Fairtilizer is entering a venue that is fairly competitive with a new unique sites coming out with some frequency. This does not necessarily exclude success for this alpha startup but it does me their game and particularly their content is going to have to shine. Fuzz just came out this month, at least a dozen other similar sites already exist, and I am testing a very unique and interesting startup called VLES (or Virtual Lower East Side) that has the makings of something special. One bonus for this service is that all the tracks are full length with no previews or samples and I am sure Last.Fm fans will be happy to learn this.
There will always be room for artist oriented showcases like Fairtilizer but the bottom line of any of them will be staying afloat. Traffic and monetization being the key elements, these sites will have to carve niches for hungry music lovers and attract artists either via their constituents or some form of enumeration. Fairtilizer has some stupendous new talent (and I should add some Rock Star losers too), but simplicity and some basic tools may not cut it in the long run. In all fairness, this is a very new startup that appears to have a good vision. We will keep you updated on their progress; meanwhile if you can get in it is worth some time to kick back to some great tunes.
J.F. Groff, CTO of Fairtilizer, graciously offered R/WW some invitations to this alpha testing phase - so please let us know in the comments if you would like to check it out.