Finding good talent and, on the flip side of the music industry coin, finding paying gigs can both be excruciatingly difficult tasks wherein both parties in a project rely on word-of-mouth referrals or Craigslist classifieds to find one another and collaborate; in general, we feel that the more online tools music industry pros have to get their various jobs done cheaper, faster, and simpler, the better off we'll all be. The site was pitched to us as "the new way the music industry does business." And with enough user adoption and content creation, MyMusicCircle could actually prove to be a great resource for finding talent and gigs online.
Although the site's features run deep and wide, the premise is simple: Create a profile (focused on finding either talent or paying gigs), and search for what you need. Projects and opportunities cover the entire breadth of the music industry, from promotion to road crew to performers to print shops to venues to arrangers to legal counsel to graphic designers and beyond.
Users can add projects or artists to watchlists or favorites lists, bid on projects, contact other users, conduct searches, and create multimedia portfolios with videos, documents, images, and audio. The site also includes an escrow-based internal payment system for gigs; and SMS alerts are available for projects, connection requests, and other events. According to site reps, new features will be rolled out on a continual basis.
Of course, we put the site to the test and created an artist profile and portfolio. The process was incredibly simple, even if the interface wasn't the prettiest or most elegant we've seen. Especially for multimedia and video content, the uploading process and proprietary media player could use some design/UX TLC.
We spoke this afternoon with MyMusicCircle's VP of Marketing, Johnathan Naranjo, and their CIO, Henry Bueno.
One of our first concerns was how the startup would deal with encouraging user adoption without a critical mass of content - in this case, paying gigs to attract work-hungry artists. "We're not going to be scraping gigs from other sites," said Bueno, "but we will be contacting the individuals that post those gigs. If someone posts a gig to Craigslist, our team will contact that person and invite him to post on MyMusicCircle."
The features that separate MyMusicCircle from other cattle-call classifieds for musicians all concern verification and measurement of reputation. Bueno told us, "Everyone has to do their homework. That's why we give thorough tools for portfolios, public feedback, and communication tools for users asking questions.
"The features we have now are the internal feedback system for professionals and clients. It creates a sort of synergy in the site as new professionals emerge onto the scene to help them create a reputation, much in the way that eBay sellers have a reputation for providing good service or creating good products. This also affects their search rankings for MyMusicCircle search."
And allowing artists to create full profiles featuring their multimedia content is also a great way for potential clients to pre-screen talent, as well.
Other coming-soon features include Virtual Studio, visual conference tool for professionals and clients to communicate. Also on the horizon is a shopping cart feature that will allow beatmakers to sell beats, artists to sell tracks, attorneys to sell billable hours, composers to sell sheet music, manufacturers to sell packages for T shirts or CDs, etc., directly from their individual profiles. Bueno also revealed that his team is working on help manuals and tutorials for users of all experience levels.
The site has been in beta for about a month. Users can send feedback through the feedback tab on the right side of any MyMusicCircle page. Although all accounts now are free, MyMusicCircle has planned a 3-tiered freemium business model for future launches.
"We're musicians ourselves," said Bueno. "We created this online system because it's needed; there's no central nervous system where people can do business in the music industry. We're trying to empower musicians who are ready to work and provide great services."