Despite how user-friendly iTunes, Grooveshark and, my god, glorious Spotify are, I think we can all agree — as confirmed in the alcohol-induced chaos of last week's Music Now Summit
— that we have yet to see a digital music service act as a perfect solution for both listeners and the labels and bands whose music they peddle. It's in this light that Bill Armstrong of L.A.-based SideOneDummy Records
is launching TheNewRecord.com
, a "digital newsstand" built around a network of fellow independent labels. So far, he's got a fairly stellar team of 30 signed on, including Sub Pop, Anti-, Kill Rock Stars, Daptone, Lefse, Bar/None and Epitaph (check out the full list here
), who, if all goes according to plan, will benefit from the site's highly filtered environment. The idea is that you can follow a particular band, label or fellow user, whose music will then be delivered "directly from them to you" — sometimes up to six months before the actual release, a key selling point — thereby zoning fans' attention onto label rosters matching their taste. It seems hard to believe, but with a free, one-time sign-up, users are able to download, and I quote, "unlimited free MP3s," plus access playlists, widgets and the sort.
“TheNewRecord approaches the digital promotions arena with a focus on selling records, tapping into the familiarity of the social environment, and ultimately driving people to our store. Which is why we are into it,” Daptone Records' Cathy Bauer told Hypebot.com. I mean, it makes sense, right? The site itself is rocking a sorta ugly early-aughts design, but it's still running in Beta, so there's hope for that yet. Based on its relatively small library size compared to the big boys' like Spotify, The NewRecord might not be the perfect solution we're looking for, but it might be on the right track, at least in the label-relations part of the puzzle. Read what Armstrong, who sold his house to fund the site, has to say in this interview with the L.A. Times.