Rushmore.fm: Can They “Rethink The Music Industry From The Ground Up”?

Rushmore-fmFictive Kin's Rushmore.fm is yet another music tech startup that wants to connect fans and musicians to the benefit of both while building a platform to benefit from making those connections. Last month they announced the appointment of an ex-Virgin Group exec as CEO. But even given their initial focus on fan involvement alone, it's difficult to see how this site will make strong moves unless it further distinguishes itself.

Fictive Kin is an interesting company focused primarily on making cool things for the web. On their homepage they describe Rushmore.fm as:

"Our ambitious project to rethink the music industry from the ground up. We want to start by creating a great place to be a music fan and ultimately bring bands and fans closer together."

They go into more detail on Rushmore.fm's Purpose page in which they basically says it's tough to be a music fan (hard to find new music and keep up to date, industry doesn't seem to care about fans) and it's tough to be an artist (hard to make money).

Rushmore.fm's goal is to first attract fans, build out profiles of artists, attract more fans and then start bringing in artists, labels and venues once a comfortable base has been developed.

Though they've been working on Rushmore.fm since at least last summer, they're just beginning to make news with last month's appointment of Alex Hunter as CEO. Hunter is formerly the Global Head of Online for Virgin Group.

A Quick Look at Rushmore.fm

Though Rushmore.fm is still taking newcomers by invitation, I quickly got a response to my request and checked things out. The big focus at the moment is on creating artist profiles and filling in details.

Currently artist profiles are listed by artist alphabetically or can be found by searching the site. Profiles contain an overview, discography, events and news.

And that's about it for content. From what I can tell, the entries have a long ways to go so we're still at the early stages of this endeavor.

Initially Rushmore.fm started with only 300 people and, though they've moved beyond that initial group, "The 300" is immortalized in a chart of the top contributors updated weekly.

To date the people they've gathered have a white male, white rock orientation, though it's not a homogeneous group. That's not a bad place to start but only because many people of color take it for granted that they have to move forward under such conditions and will still join a platform if it seems productive.

The reverse is not so much the case and, given the white male dominance of so much music and tech media, going white male dominant is still a reasonable tactical move if questionable on so many other levels.

Beyond that, I don't know. Fill out some more artist profiles despite a web that's full of them? Network with some more people I don't know who don't share my taste in music? Guess I'll never rank on the Rushmore 300.

Backstory Confusion

Rushmore.fm's backstory is getting overshadowed by Fictive Kin's recent deal with Betaworks. For example, Fictive Kin's deal with Betaworks is new. Fictive Kin was working on Rushmore.fm by last summer and have the site listed on their homepage as their creation while Betaworks doesn't even list it on their site as a related property. Yet, this TechCrunch article presents it as a product of the Fictive Kin/Betaworks relationship.

So, who knows?

From the web evidence one could conclude that Betaworks did indeed invest in Rushmore.fm and that they do now have a partnership relationship with Fictive Kin. Beyond that one has to ask, did somebody drop the ball on site updates or is Betaworks passing on working with Rushmore.fm because they see the obvious problems with scaling the site?

The Reality Facing Rushmore.fm

There are so many people launching sites to connect fans and bands and so few are actually succeeding that it's hard to see how Rushmore.fm will stick out. That doesn't mean they can't make things happen but they've got a lot of challenges ahead.

Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch/@crowdfundingm) also blogs at Flux Research and Crowdfunding For Musicians. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

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  1. Could we just a have a stop to some company or group of people coming out of the blue with grand designs to change a very large and complex ecosystem, which Billboard is reporting to be 2 trillon in value. http://www.billboard.com/biz/articles/news/global/1565728/study-global-entertainment-industry-poised-to-top-2-trillion-in . At the very least whom ever is going to in act a change will do it from within not without the entertainment biz given the sheer size of it….

  2. I disagree with this statement 110% “it’s tough to be a music fan (hard to find new music and keep up to date, industry doesn’t seem to care about fans) and it’s tough to be an artist (hard to make money)”
    I have zero problem finding new music. And for many people who would say finding new music is a problem for them, they do not spend anytime looking (aka its not a real concern of theirs).
    I agree it is hard to make money as an artists, but that’s nothing new. I would argue there are more than enough tools for artists to build audiences and monetize those artists. Over the last few years I have seen and number of artists complete this feat successfully. Artists are not suffering from a lack of tools, instead they are not leveraging these tools effectively.

  3. Hey guys, Alex CEO of Rushmore here,
    Thanks for writing about what we’re trying to do at Rushmore, we’re excited about the progress we’ve made so far. We’ve already had 200,000 contributions from music fans across the world and we’re delighted by the feedback we’ve received from our early users. We definitely acknowledge that it’s a tough nut to crack but it’s a challenge we welcome and our early results are encouraging. Our plans for the future will address some of the opportunities that you and your commenters have noted and we’ll be sure to share them with you as we continue on our journey.
    As for our back story, Rushmore has indeed been backed by Betaworks and we are really enjoying working with them.
    I am, of course, happy to answer any other questions you guys have.

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