MixMatchMusic is a new music community whose goal is to cater to the long tail of content creators. Although the concept of an online community for musicians is not new - we've covered several here in the past including Imeem, The Filter, and Rifflet - MixMatchMusic is different because it's trying to solve the biggest problem facing the music industry today: helping artists, especially indie artists, get paid for the music they create.
Before delving into the company's business model designed to pay artists for their work, it's important to note that MixMatchMusic is also working to solve another problem musicians face: finding others to collaborate with. On the site, musicians can upload either whole songs or just stems. Other artists can search through those uploaded items to find the pieces of music that they need to complete their work.
Browsing for Music
At first, this sounds a lot like what sites like Rifflet and Kompoz both offer, but there is something that MixMatchMusic has that those sites don't: the MixMaker. The MixMaker is an online sequencer built right into the site, sort of like GarageBand in the cloud. Instead of having to download items and work with them in software-based mixing tools like GarageBand or ProTools, musicians can mix and remix the different tracks while still online. This makes it easier, faster, and more rewarding to experiment with the music the site contains.
Of course, the most notable difference between MixMatchMusic and other sites is that here, there's a big focus on artists getting paid for their work, whether it's an entire song or just a stem...or even a ringtone! When a musician utilizes another's music to make their own creation, that transaction is completely transparent. Musicians are able to monitor when their work is downloaded, in progress, or sold. And when a sale occurs, contributing musicians share $0.85 on every dollar that the site makes on sales.
Like both Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails have done in the past, musicians can also invite their fans to remix their work. This is done by using something called the Remix Wizard, a completely customizable widget that can reside on either a musician's homepage or MySpace page.With the ReMix wizard, an artist can upload pieces of music like a guitar riff, drums, or vocals into the MixMatchMusic web site and the widget will allow fans to click on the widget to remix their own creations. The fans can then make their creations available for download on MixMatchMusic, too.
MixMatchMusic stood out because it's taking the concept of an online community for musicians to a whole new level. The site's MixMaker tool is rather robust for a cloud-based app and the widgets they provide will also help draw more people to their site. However, it's their model for paying artists that deserves the most attention. Will people be willing to pay for downloading music? Well, that seems to work for iTunes. But for those who are truly immersed in the music community, iTunes alone with their commercially available selections of music can't satisfy their need to discover underground, indie tunes own their own.
Still, the concept of putting songs/stems online is not new, so we'll have to see if musicians explore deep enough into MixMatchMusic to see how it's different than the other sites they're already using today.