Friday, January 22, 2010

The Opposite of Crowdsourcing: HelloMusic Launches

HelloMusic, a new online music venture that seeks greater awareness for undiscovered artists, announced it raised $4 million in funding from KVG Partners. The site, at, launched on Friday.

The company was created by Wilshire Media Group, a digital music product design and development firm founded by Zack Zalon and Brendon Cassidy. Zalon and Cassidy were early employees of, the short-lived online record label co-founded by Jimmy Iovine and Doug Morris. Later, Zalon was president and Cassidy the CTO of Virgin Digital.

Web sites and companies that act as springboards for unheralded artists are plentiful and, often, well funded. Zack Zalon, a managing partner at Wilshire, says the company differentiates itself because of the human element in the screening process. "We don't believe algorithms work," he said. "They don't. We don't think crowdsourcing works. It doesn't. I think you have to have a pair of ears and quality does matter."

In effect, HelloMusic acts as both a filter and a traffic manager, placing good music with partners such as Yahoo! Music and Getty Images.

Here's how it works: An unsigned artists (a limited number in the early stage) sign up and upload songs. Screeners, each well versed in specific genres, listen to every track, rate them and make note of opportunities with HelloMusic's partners. The company is limiting the number of invites in stage one. More users will be allowed to use the service when stage two commences in a few months.

A number of partnerships are in place on the launch date. Qualifying tracks have the option of being licensed through AudioMicro and Getty Images. Top tracks will be added to programming at Web radio service Slacker and Yahoo! Music. Artists will also have access to the services of booking site GigMaven, lyric search engine LyricFind, marketing platform Topspin, digital distributor TuneCore (with a "significant discount"), tech platform MediaNet and music analytics firm Next Big Sound.
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