Music site OurStage aiming for big second round


For those who our unfamiliar with OurStage, it’s a music site where fans vote for unsigned artists much in the same way as “American Idol.” Artists upload their material and fans can then search the site specific to a genre. Essentially, artists garner more exposure by competing in head-to-head competitions with each other. Fans judge the competitions and those artists who receive more votes move up on the site’s charts. This can also lead to prizes for both artists and fans from sponsors such as JetBlue and Paste Magazine. The site raised around $13 million from over 100 angel investors last April and is now aiming for $6 million in the second round.

The company says it has raised a total of $20 million in funding, including $3 million worth of this second round; it plans to raise the additional $3 million later this year, which CEO Ben Campbell says should be enough money to get OurStage profitable in 2010. (Campbell didn’t disclose who the site’s investors were, but a notable recent addition to its board of directors is former Sony Music CEO and Chairman Don Ienner).

The site serves three customer segments: indie artists that can upload their tracks and build a fan base; clubs and venues that promote their upcoming live shows; and users, that can find and rate new music.

Artists can now can now sell their tracks from their profile pages though, like any distributor, OurStage takes a cut. As OurStage partners with more and more companies involved with the music industry, the hope is that the artists will frequently land record deals. Some have already found success, most notably Plush Gun who signed with Tommy Boy Entertainment in 2008.

The site is a great way to discover new music, especially for those who want to help out unsigned artists. There are numerous genres to choose from and one can easily spend hours giving the songs a chance. The real kicker is that the fans have a say in which artists succeed or not.


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