SoundOff.fm launched to the general public late last month as a music discovery game and indie artist promotion site that allows musicians to upload song samples for participants to choose in battles between two songs. It's a very simple concept that they seem to be executing well yet they're also gradually adding features that fit with what they've developed to date.
The Basic Concept
- Artists upload the best 20 seconds of their music.
- Voters select a genre, hear two songs, and vote for the track they like best in a blind taste-test.
- As they vote, users earn credit to spend on the site.
Voting can be "Fair Shake" or "Snap Judgment". In the first, you listen to two samples, vote and then find out more about the artists. In the second, you're timed, vote on as many as you can without necessarily listening to the full samples and then you're given a batch of artists to check out when your time's up.
Credits can be traded for music downloads and can also be used for tipping musicians. Musicians get credits through sales and tips or by direct purchase and can then use those for various promotional options on the site. However, offering downloads is an option not a requirement.
The promotional options are well thought out and include being able to build an opt-in mailing list and announce shows as soon as an artist uploads music samples. Promo options that can be purchased with credits include obvious forms such as being featured or played more often, emerging marketing concepts such as sponsoring the sign in CAPTCHA and more interesting ideas like "Challenge A Track":
"In normal circumstances, SoundOff randomly selects two tracks within a genre. As a result, voters rarely see the same battle twice...using “Challenge A Track,” artists can pair against a rival track in the same genre so they always appear together. The two artists can wager on the outcome, and they can both share the link with friends, using the power of the SoundOff community to settle the score. These custom SoundOffs expire after a certain amount of time, and the winner is awarded the terms of the wager. Upon purchase, this will last for 3 days."
Though the basic ideas of users choosing the best of two options isn't new, executing a more complex concept while keeping the experience simple is one of the things that differentiate SoundOff.fm. Ideas like "Challenge A Track" suggest that they also have some insight into building on the concept in a manner that fits the basic idea. SoundOff.fm is a solid music discovery game that musicians can use to promote their music in the context of people having fun.
Hypebot contributor Clyde Smith is a freelance writer and blogger. He maintains a business writing hub at Flux Research and also blogs at This Business of Blogging. To suggest music services and related topics for review at Hypebot, please contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.