Locusic is a new local-focused web radio service based in Iowa but with a much larger region in mind. The basic concept is that bands sign up, upload music and its included in the mix for local listeners. Ideally this would mean that anybody who's interested in music from a particular location could find out what the local scene is like but, unfortunately, they limit your listening based on your location.
If they change that approach, the folks at Locusic may have something big on their hands but right now the service is hobbled and will have difficulty building enthusiasm in other locales in part because no one located in other places can see or hear what it's about.
I found out about Locusic due to their recent appearance at the 80/35 Music Festival in Des Moines, Iowa. They were part of small group of local startups featured at Start-Up Central, a single tent showcase of eight companies.
I love the basic concept of Locusic. Local artists can share their music with local people to build a local fanbase. Currently they feature artists from the greater Des Moines, Iowa area and from the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul) with plans to launch in Austin, Texas.
Here's the value proposition:
Listen to music for free
Discover great local bands
Get FREE airplay in your community
Get exposed to new fans
Sell more tickets to your shows
Advertise to locally-focused consumers
Focused attention of radio, but way better metrics (e.g. know exactly how many people heard your ad)
Sounds great but they restrict listening to "songs from bands based within 50 miles of your current location (or home zip code)" most likely due to their local advertising revenue model. While it's great that you can open the app and immediately hear local music based on your location this limitation seems counterproductive for everyone except local advertisers though there are ways to address advertisers' needs without restricting the audience.
I was able to gain access to the service by giving them a false zip code. So you can check it out if doing that doesn't bother you.
Locusic could be truly powerful if they weren't in service to a concept that unnecessarily restricts who can listen to these bands. For example, let's say I went to the University of Iowa but because of my excellent education I now run a music festival in Florida. If I register with my Florida location and am not traveling to Iowa, I can't check in and see if there are bands from my beloved alma mater to try to book at my festival.
Another example is someone planning a trip or considering relocating to an area featured on Locusic who might want to find out more about the local music scene. Locusic would be useless to them.
What if, instead, they allowed you to listen to local acts in any area that interested you? They could maintain the local focus while building a much bigger audience for their site and for the bands featured on the site. They might have to do some heavier lifting to sort out their advertising approach but blocking access based on location is so old media it hurts to encounter it in a new media company.
It's great that Locusic is focusing on local music. Hopefully they'll eventually expand their reach by letting people in other places hear what the locals have to offer.
Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch) blogs about business at Flux Research: Business Changes and about dance at All World Dance: News. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.