Musicians and their fans are meant to be hip, sometimes tragically so.
RWW recently reviewed 18 streaming music services and our readers still had at least a dozen more suggestions. New and innovative music sites are springing up like daisies this summer, so at first glance when Billboard magazine announces the launch of their new online community, smaller independent sites should be shaking in their boots. Powered by streaming music from Lala.com, a Ticketmaster concert sales engine and All Music Guide's artist info, Billboard aims to offset waning sales and encourage a new generation of fans.
The site offers newly searchable charts, music news, artist interviews and videos. Billboard's vice president of online Joshua Engroff also spoke about the company's plans to launch iPhone and Facebook applications. The company stresses the fact that subscribers and non-subscribers will be able to search charts at no cost and listen to singles before choosing to purchase them. Nevertheless, despite Billboard's hopes to further evolve into a consumer brand, I can't help but think the web redesign is too little and too late.
Billboard.com currently attracts about 4 million unique visitors each month. Compare that to the conservative Quantcast estimates of MOG at 7.7 million monthly visitors and Imeem at a whopping 16 million monthly uniques. Although it is expected that Billboard will see a traffic spike due to its recent web redesign, it's doubtful that it will increase its numbers to rival those of today's top music communities. We need to remember that while Billboard is still a reputable music industry news source, it is completely irrelevant to cool hunters.
By the time a single reaches Billboard's charts and gets featured for streaming, Hype Machine and Imeem users are more than familiar with them. In fact, they've probably grown bored with the multiple remixes and have decided to form a backlash movement against them. Let's face it, Billboard, Spin and Rolling Stone magazine have become irrelevant to the younger generation of music fans. In fact, Forbes just published a story on how music network Pitchfork is replacing them. And you know if Forbes thinks Pitchfork is the next big thing, then the über hip have already left in droves.
One of Threadless' top selling shirts bares the slogan, "I listen to bands that don't even exist yet." If you're on the bleeding edge of music, you probably want to stick to your favorite music site rather than switching to the bubblegum selection of Billboard's mainstream offerings.