Today UK-based Chartburst, a crowdsourcing platform for music lovers to vote and get their favorite indie music into the hands of A&R staff at popular record labels, announced its public beta launch. The company works actively with labels including Columbia, Sony, Interscope Records, and Warner Music, where it has talent scouts at all levels, from interns to managers, who have agreed to receive, appraise, and potentially sign artists who make it to the top of the platform’s charts.
Founded by Francis Gane, who worked with his father in their family-run music recording studio, he brings more than 15 years of experience helping artists get their music into the limelight. “We were often surprised at how many great artists who came through our doors never seemed to make it in the way they should have which was disappointing,” commented Gane in an interview with BetaKit. “This got us thinking about the problem of getting heard by labels, and eventually led to the concept of Chartburst.”
The platform offers 10 genre-specific charts, and artists can upload their music onto a specific chart for consideration. Chartburst then crowdsources votes to rank songs, and every two weeks the tracks from the top five bands on each chart are forwarded to its partner record label company’s A&R department. Once in the hands of A&R, the music is assessed for record deal suitability, and although nothing is guaranteed, at the very least artists can expect an email with structured feedback.
According to Gane, while Chartburst is primarily useful for musicians looking to get their music into the right hands, it also gives fans an opportunity to actively play a part in shaping the music landscape. “The power of a vote allows them to potentially influence the future of the music industry as they’ll be helping to put their favorite artist in front of top labels,” Gane added. “For serious music fans in search of brand new quality music, Chartburst is the best place to go to find it.”
The startup’s business model is essentially a freemium one where artists can upload their music for free, but pay $5 per month to have the music uploaded on the charts they feel best describes their music. Music fans can vote for free, and record labels also don’t incur any costs in the process. During the company’s beta period, Chartburst is offering a two month free trial and $2.50 per month after that point until it’s official launch.
There are a variety of music startups tackling different aspects of the industry, including discovery, funding, and connecting musicians with their most die-hard fans. When it comes to funding to actually launch, there are popular crowdfunding platforms like Indiegogo, Kickstarter and My Major Company. In respects to connecting with with fans, artists can upload their music onto SoundCloud, promote their music using BandPage, get feedback using MusicHype and sell their music and merchandise directly using BandCamp, just to name a few of the solutions available. However, for musicians tired of the indie route, Chartburst’s focus on being the bridge between unsigned artists and major record labels will be a valuable service.
The company will remain in beta until it has gathered enough feedback about the platform, at which point it will start implementing any changes for its official launch in the coming months. It will also be working on developing its native iOS and Android apps while growing its list of active A&R managers from as many record labels as possible. Although some artists may be able to survive on the number of services that allow them to actively and independently manage their careers, the wide-scale distribution that comes with signing with a record label will likely have them using platforms like Charburst to take a shot at the big time.