Internet entrepreneur, and former owner of Mega Upload, Kim Dotcom has released his debut album ‘Good Times’ alongside a new music platform he has devised called Baboom.
Baboom is Dotcom’s answer to iTunes, allowing musicians to directly sell their music to fans via the service and they get to keep 90% of the sales – nothing particularly new there then.
Where it does get interesting, though, is the service also lets artists make money even if they offer their music for free by launching an ad substitution plugin which replaces the ads you’d usually see on most sites with ads delivered from its own ad network – thus producing revenue for the artist.
In a video on the Baboom site, Dotcom says: “My idea is that artists should make their music available for free and fans should only pay for it if they really like it. So I’m going to lead by example and I’m making my album available for free on Baboom. Let’s prove that my idea for the music industry works by making my album the number one!”
Dotcom rose to prominence after this file-sharing site Mega Upload was subjected to a cease and desist from the US government which saw the website taken down, Dotcom’s house raided by police and $17m worth of his assets seized. He’s still fighting extradition to America where he’ll face charges of copyright infringement.
Dotcom also recently launched Mega, the world’s first encrypted digital file sharing service, and has since gone onto position himself as a pseudo spokesman for internet freedom in the wake of Edward Snowden’s privacy revelations.
The first piece of music to be made available on Baboom is Dot Com’s own EDM album, ‘Good Times’, which Dotcom has spent months creating alongside a host of vocalists and producers.
So what’s the album like?
Not great. And that’s being kind.
It’s cynical EDM of the highest order. Music by numbers, if you will, by someone who with the best will in the world probably isn’t a musician. If you like your dance music cheesy and auto-tuned to the point of nausea, then you might like it. But we certainly didn’t.
Ultimtatley the album is really about breaking musical boundaries; it’s a litmus test see whether his model of letting artists sell their own music will work. The only problem is there are already services, like Bandcamp, out there that allow musicians to cut out the middle man, and their impact while impressive hasn’t exactly turned the music industry on its head.
The big unique selling point for Baboom seems to be the plugin, but for that to work and give artists a meaningful revenue stream, Dotcom will need to get his ad substitution plugin installed on millions and millions of computers to be able to really offer artists a workable way out of the current label model, and we can’t imagine Google or the many of the other ad networks out there will like the sound of that.
Check out the site and album here: http://baboom.com