Dotcom’s estranged online music service love-child debuts

“We are not Spotify or Apple, and we don't intend to be – we are not looking to knock them off their pedestal."

Baboom, the online music service brain-child of Kim Dotcom, has finally launched after numerous delays.

It’s being touted as a “an artist direct-to-fan platform” that will drive “a quantum shift in artist empowerment by launching a compelling blend of technological advances and ambitious financial tools targeted toward promoting closer relations between independent artists and fans.”

What that means in practice is a unique “Fair Trade Streaming” model in which users’ subscription fees go directly to the musicians whose work they stream, as opposed to the standard streaming site model in which revenue goes into a pot and is then distributed to artists based on their popularity.

According to Baboom chief technical officer Marco Oliveira, “We wanted the fans’ subscription to go directly to the artists they stream [because they’re] the reason why fans subscribe in the first place.”

The site also gives users the option of buying music, as well as uploading their own music to their personal, Baboom-hosted collection.

The focus of the site is very much on independent artists and labels, partly – it’s widely assumed – because of the antipathy of major music labels to Mr Dotcom, even though he is no longer involved in the enterprise after finally acknowledging late last year that he was impeding its progress.

“Good bye @Baboom,” he tweeted on October 2. “I was holding u back. The music industry hates me. You'll do better without me. Good luck my love.”

“We have created a solution that will attract quality independent artists and labels,” says Baboom’s head of content Mikee Tucker.

As well as greater transparency over royalty payments and a greater share of revenue (those signing up for the “pro” package (which costs $11.16 a month) get 90%, while those taking up the free “standard” artist account get 70%), the site gives participating artists the tools to control the distribution and monetisation of their content, as well as to centrally manage their online presence.

“We are here for the long game and the quality niche content that will be attracted to Baboom will in turn attract the fans,” Mr Tucker says.

“Our milestones are not based on achieving ‘numbers’ for the sake of ticking boxes,” says chief executive Grant Edmundson when asked by NBR about the targets Baboom has set itself in the near future.

“The fascination with achieving figures, be it size of catalogue, user base etc, often creates a false sense of success with little tangible return for artists,” he says. “Baboom is a small company looking to achieve great results for our artists. That means consistently delivering on the message we market, doing the small things well and creating real value for artists. 

“Our goal for the first three-six months is to promote awareness of the Baboom platform as an alternative – one customer (artist or fan) at a time.

“We are not Spotify or Apple, and we don't intend to be – we are not looking to knock them off their pedestal, we simply want to take care of our community of like-minded artists who take their careers seriously and are looking for a partner to deliver innovative technology and fresh business models on a consistent basis.

“At the end of the day, less fanfare, greater value,” Mr Edmundson says. “It's about service.”

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