Billboard has closed new registration to its independent and d.i.y. artist subscription site Billboard Pro after just over 4 months of operation. "We are not accepting new registrations at this time, pending a revamp and relaunch of the site later this year," reads a notice offering no hint of a relaunch date. Existing users paying $9.99 a month or $99 a year will continue to get "the benefits of Billboard Pro membership" while they "work to enhance the service."
Billboard Pro offered analytics that tracked online and social activity, airplay and sales. Subscribers also had access to editorial including how-to's guides, case studies and industry profiles, as well as, chances to perform and participate in Billboard events and conferences.
From the start, hwever, some in the d.i.y. music community were distrustful of Pro's connections to the old school industry. "Why would any indie artist support this corporate brand," commented one Hypebot reader after the launch. "It represents the antithesis of indie music." Others were dissatisfied with site policies. "You have to enter your payment info just to check it out," wrote d.i.y. marketer Eric Hebert of Evolver.com, "and you have to claim your band via it's MySpace page."
With dozens of online publications including Hypebot and MusicThinkTank along with artist services startups offering free resources, collecting even $99 from a generation of musicians less impressed by the Billboard brand may have proven impossible. "100% of this content is available free, and better written, elsewhere online," according to indie rapper Hump Jones. "All they really have to offer is a logo."
Will you miss Billboard Pro? Do you think it will return?
The original Billboard Pro pitch video: