Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Earbits: No Advertisers, No Restrictions - Just Great Music

About five years ago, the only online radio stations that most people where familiar were Pandora or Yahoo Radio. Over the last few years we have seen dozens of radio services, both start-ups and traditional FM stations, entering the online market in hopes of grabbing the ears of music lovers.

Enter Earbits: an online radio station/marketing platform that boasts a healthy selection of known and unknown artist on their commercial free network. If Pitchfork had an online radio format it would probably sound like Earbits. The platform in great way for artists to be found by people looking to discover "the next big thing" and with 3 million tracks available you are bound to find something that you can hold on to. Below is an interview I had with,Earbits CEO, Joey Flores a former Taco Bell employee turned media maverick.

How do you guys differ from other online radio services currently available?

Earbits is a marketing platform for bands/labels disguised as Internet and mobile radio which everyone can enjoy for free, without ads. We work directly with bands and labels from all genres, treating them like our clients and sponsors. That means the more than 3 million high-quality tracks across 180+ channels we've already played this year are coming from labels and bands that have asked to be on the platform.

Earbits streams hours of great music without commercials; it offers true music discovery and a direct connection to artists through their Facebook page. Earbits is flexible and supports the listener, bands and the music community differently than other radio platforms - skip, share and interact with your friends and the artists at anytime. At the end of the day, we differ in that Earbits is all about the music - no advertisers, no restrictions - just great music.

Because most of the artists that you play are indie, do you think Earbits appeals more to that audience that supports indie music?

Earbits offers both casual listening, sharing of music and true music discovery in every genre from blues to metal to country. We appeal even more to people that like discovering new and emerging music, but certainly you don't have to be an audiophile to love Earbits.

On Earbits, you will hear a few well-known artists as well as many brand-new-to-you bands. Listeners enjoy immediate discovery of several great artists that they've never heard of, and get really excited about it. A lot of times these aren't people who go out of their way to support independent music. They're just regular music fans that are surprised that so much amazing music is out there, that simply is not heard in other places.

Are there any success stories where a band leveraged your platform to pick up a recording deal, more airplay or a tour sponsorship?

Earbits has proven that it is a powerful and successful marketing platform for bands. We've helped one of our artists get her songs licensed for a short film on BET. Recently we partnered with Spectra Records to help them identify new talent to sign. As of now, three artists we highlighted are in contract review with Spectra.

We envision a future where Earbits finds talent, proves through our data that people love their music, connects them with the right label and other partners to get a deal done, and then helps those partners market the artists on a massive scale through our platform.

With all the different apps and music curation services being created, how does a company like Earbits separate itself from the masses?

High-quality music - check. No ads - check. Share music you find with friends - check. Connect with the artist and learn more - check.

Earbits brings to the table many things that are not offered elsewhere - free, true music discovery without ads, limitless skip and easy sharing capabilities and a direct connection to the band to keep up to date on their latest album, tour or news.

Everything on Earbits is about the music you're listening to right now and having the option to learn more, share that music or converse with the performer. We're not trying to send you off to some sponsor's website, and we're not interrupting your listening with commercials about things you don't care about. We're also creating a much closer connection between the listeners and the artists. You'll often see a listener Tweet about a band they're listening to on Earbits, and then the artist will Tweet back, and next thing you know these two people are talking and connecting on a whole other level.

In general we have a lot of social tools that allow you to share what you're listening to with your friends, and we've got some great new features planned that will make Earbits even more social than it already is. It's really just a much richer experience than playing the same old music sandwiched between commercials for cars and hamburgers.

What is the long-term vision for Earbits?

Earbits has always been about helping great musicians market themselves without spending a lot of time doing it. We want any high quality artist to be able to upload their material and get the results they deserve based on the quality of their art. It means that a brand new artist with a great-sounding, three song demo could use it to drive awareness to their Kickstarter project and finance their full album. Meanwhile, someone who already has three albums can identify exactly which tracks convert the most live show ticket sales and use Earbits every time they go on tour to help pack the clubs they play.

The long-term vision is that we'll be able to do this on a massive scale for hundreds of thousands of artists, and the benefits they get will be tied to how good their music is, not how much time they spend trying to work the system. When an amazing band can go from a demo to a stadium on Earbits, we'll consider taking a vacation.

At the same time, we strive to offer a free, simple and elegant no-ad music listening platform. Love letters from listeners also boost our moral, letting us know we are headed in the right direction.


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