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Dotcom soft-launches music service Baboom with "pay if you like it" approach - and his $9.99 album goes to no. 8

UPDATE / Jan 22: "Prove my idea for the music industry works by making my album the number one," Dotcom told visitors to his new music service Baboom, soft-launched Monday.

Only pay for my new album if you like it, Dotcom told downloaders - and a bunch of them did.

While there's no option to buy the $9.99 Good Times on his new music service Baboom (whose proper launch is scheduled for later this year), the abum can be brought through iTunes, Google Play and others.

Wednesday morning, Good Times was at number 8 on the iTunes NZ chart (it's yet to crack the iTunes US top 100).

On Twitter, Dotcom claimed more than 500,000 people had listened to his album, which can also be streamed or downloaded free from Baboom.

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UPDATE / Jan 21: Baboom has gone live, featuring a single album: Dotcom's own Good Times.

Dotcom says in a video on his artist page: 

My idea is that artists should make their music available for free, and fans should only play for it if they really like.

So I’m going to lead by example today, and I’m making my album free on Baboom.

So you go ahead and listen to it and only pay if you like it.

Prove my idea for the music industry works by making my album the number one.

Baboom offers no option to pay for tracks, but does have free live streaming, and download options in multiple formats including STEM (for remixing) and the lossless FLAC.

Those who do like Good Times and want to dip into their pocket in a show of appreciation can head to iTunes, Google Play, Spotify or other commercial online stores, where the album is selling from $13.99 (anyone who bought Good Times on Monday before Baboom went live late Monday night and Dotcom revealed the free download option, may be grumbling at this point).

As the service went live last night, Dotcom tweeted, "Hello RIAA, this will be your grave: Baboom.com."

For now, however, the Recording Industry Association of America is unlikely to be quaking in its boots. Dotcom's artist page on Baboom looks closer to a MySpace artist page than a threat to the music establishment as we no it.

Dotcom says a full launch - including ad substitution software that could really shake things up - will take place "late 2014."

BELOW: If you don't want to sign up to Baboom, but are curious how Dotcom's first Good Times single sounds, check out this video of his appearance at Rhythm & Vines on New Year's. The slick, upbeat Euro-pop is thanks in part to Dotcom's production partner, Black Eyed Peas producer Printz Board:


Jan 20: Entrepreneur and accused pirate Kim Dotcom says his new music service, Baboom, will soft-launch today, with an artist page for himself. But it won't have a proper launch until close to Christmas.

As of this morning, Baboom's home page was in a holding pattern; those who want Dotcom's new album Good Times now can head for iTunes or Google Play, or stream it via Spotify or Rdio.

The launch of Baboom was scheduled for an event at Auckland's Vector Arena tonight from 8pm - which was canceled late last week following advice from the Electoral Commission that it might involve the offence of "treating" potential voters.

The event was to involve the release of Dotcom's new album, Good Times, the unveiling of Baboom, and the celebration of the giant German's 40th birthday - but the Commission said earlier plans to include a political element muddied the waters.

Dotcom has already indicated today's Baboom launch will be limited.

He told Wired in November, "We'll do a soft launch of Baboom in January where you will only see my artist page so you can see how the service works and use different options to purchase music or download it for free. The full site will launch a few months later.” In a press statement today, Dotcom says the full launch will be "late 2014".

Over the weekend, he said the Baboom launch would be backed by an "extensive" radio campaign, and ads on 100 buses. When he launched a radio campaign this time last year as his file-sharing service Mega was launched, MediaWorks whipped the ads off the air within hours amid accusations of record company pressure. This year, the runway seems clear; MediaWorks DJs attended the Good Times preview party December 13.

Dotcom has described Baboom as a cross between iTunes and Spotify.

Unlike Megaupload, which only paid out cash rewards to top uploaders, Baboom will split revenue with artists and record labels too.

He has previously told NBR that Baboom users who choose to install ad substitution software will be able to download an amount of paid material for free.

The ad substitution web browser plug-in - previously referred to as MegaKey - could prove a boon for some Baboom users. But it has drawn criticism from NZRise's Don Christie as nasty spyware. And while Dotcom has said MegaKey will only block ads from larger sites as one of its users surfs the web, smaller publishers have wondered how exactly it will achieve this; they could face yet another revenue squeeze.

Baboom is an international affair. Investors were brought onboard through Dotcom's Hong Kong companies, and development was outsourced to Portugal.

Dotcom's Good Times album will be the first content to appear on Baboom, but it won't be exclusive to the new service.

A press release says it will be available through all major online stores (including iTunes, where it's going for $18.99 [UPATE: its now $9.99] and Google Play for $13.99; it's also turned up on Spotify). And in a bid to underline his platform neutrality - or perhaps just a display of his Teutonic humour - Dotcom has also released Good Times on compact disc.

ckeall@nbr.co.nz

More by Chris Keall

Comments and questions
9

Imagine the uproar if someone tried playing hurly burly with other intangible property rights like easements or patents(oh you guys are trying that sorry...).

I presume that this particular sentence quoted from the story above was conscious (and indelicate) double entendre?

"[MegaKey] has drawn criticism ... as nasty spyware."

Even Kim might have smiled at that one ... as for the rest of the story ... I'm not sure this soft launch went Baboom for me!

A lot of artists have used the donation model before successfully (i.e. pay what you want, not just a set amount if you like it). Radiohead made more per album using this model than traditional sales.

It's a good idea. A certain segment of the population you'll likely never be able to get to pay for the music (ever since the days when they started copying their friends' cassette tapes), but most people are happy to pay an amount they are comfortable with for a good or service they enjoy, and in support of the artist.

Given their antics, I don't think people hold the RIAA or MPAA in the same regard. They quite like seeing Radiohead (for example) get a larger slice and the record company get a smaller slice.

Baboom will be an interesting concept when its full of lots of artists and albums from the around the world.

If it could do playlists using tracks from all subscribed artists, but still retain the deep content for each of them.... then this service might just work.

Very cool. A few votes right there for the fat guy, I'd say.

Strewth...cool indeed !
Got to admire the fat guy, but it made me feel my age. I now know why my renditions of 'Loyal' now just get funny looks and rolled eyes from the young folk.

Of course this model is already well established and Kim will have to compete with existing sites like NoiseTrade.

He really should have got Megamusic up and running before MegaUpload got shot down.

Shame about the whole FBI "obliterate your business before proven guilty" model driving by lobbyists.

Hey grab Kim DotCom's new album Good Times - very good, very groovy baby!