I am so very behind on this post (as per the usual), but couldn’t be more excited to FINALLY be bringing you some serious music awesomeness. If you haven’t heard of HiFiveMusic yet, prepare to have your mind…no scratch that….every fiber of your being blown to bits. This music subscription service (designed for music discovery and built to support indie artists) is unlike any other site out there (to my knowledge) and will rock your universe. Whether you’re an independent artist aching to have your music heard, or just your average music lover like me who’s passionate about new music – HiFiveMusic is your new best friend.
I recently had the opportunity to chat with Lance Day, HiFive’s founder & CEO and I’m stoked to share our super top-secret conversation with Y-O-U. Just kidding. It’s not top-secret, but it could be – that’s how exclusive this new music subscription service is. Everything you need to know about HiFiveMusic is in the interview below (eat your heart out Barbara Walters). Be sure to stalk, subscribe and tell everyone you know about the awesomeness you’re about to embark upon. Let’s get to it.
Who came up with the idea for HiFiveMusic? Was it one person or a collaborative effort?
I actually came up with the idea initially. I’ve been a musician my entire life – I started playing music when I was 5, was performing by the time I was 8 and composed my first piece when I was 9 (um, awesome!). So, music has always been a huge part of my life. Pretty much the only thing I’ve ever done.
I went to SU for my masters and originally had the idea to be a producer and musical distribution outlet for artists. For my thesis I wanted to start an online record label, but found there were a lot that existed. I felt that model wasn’t quite the right angle because things were moving away from that model – and we certainly needed something different.
I’ve always been a big fan of subscription services (he’s a total music junkie with over 20 bazillion songs), so I thought, what if we create a distribution model for independent musicians where you subscribe to the artists instead of just buying their singles – the appeal of the subscription model is that you create a fan that lasts for life.
That’s really cool because the fan can invest and buy in the artist that they want – what they’re paying for is the artist, not necessarily the site –they are getting the value of the service but they’re also picking and choosing who they want to listen to. That’s so awesome.
That’s exactly the point. HiFiveMusic is geared towards Independent Artists. The site, if I may say so myself, is beautiful, and it’s a place where the artist can feel really proud to put their music – a place where they can actually make lasting impressions, which is difficult to make in the atmosphere right now because there is too much competition. A regular band competing against Rhianna or Lady Gaga? It’s hard for indie artists to get their name out there. Now they have a space where they can.
Do you have any specific genre of artist that you’re looking for if there is a band or musician that wants to sign up ?
That’s an excellent question. The appeal for HiFiveMusic is to open the door for ALL independent music artists. We limited the website to 18 genres to start because I find when there are too many genres it makes it difficult to find the music you want to listen to. So we went with the choices we like to call “macro-genres”. For example, you have a whole bunch of students that go to college to become classical artists – once they graduate from college they don’t have a place to put this beautiful music they make unless they get signed to a music label – which is especially difficult to do in classical and jazz music. So, HiFive is not just built for genres like rock, hip hop and electronic, we support classical, jazz and even children’s music.
So if I’m an indie artist where am I going to hear about HiFiveMusic and sign up? Do you have people scouring the internet/streets for awesome musicians? Will you be advertising anywhere online/offline?
All of the above. We have a great team. This is a huge effort that can’t be done alone. There’s about ten of us that are working together to make this happen – guys who every weekend are going places (long island, queens, etc.) meeting bands, shaking hands, getting word of mouth spread. We have another group who are focusing on social media and online. In this industry you have to tackle it from both angles.
I love that HiFiveMusic is geared towards indie artists. What happens when an awesome artist explodes and becomes huge? Will you still support them on the site? Can an indie artist evolve to “Main stream status” and still have a presence on HiFiveMusic?
Absolutely. That’s the whole goal. If we can get a band to truly break, and they broke on HiFiveMusic that’s a dream come true to me. That’s mission accomplished. If the band started on our site, promotes themselves on our site, gets a whole bunch of subscriptions and then they just blow up and HiFive was the reason for that? That’s exactly what we made this site for and we would definitely continue to support them in any way we can.
How many artists do you have right now?
Right now (as of mid July) we have 41 artists who’ve signed up and span several genres. And its continuing to grow – we’re talking to new people every day – In fact, I have a couple of bands who are doing deals with us now and we are going to be the exclusive distributor for their music. Their albums are coming out in a couple of months.
Awesome. Okay, let’s talk fans like me. If I want to sign up for the HiFiveMusic what’s my experience going to be like?
One of the things we talked about earlier on in the design process is the user experience. We wanted to make this as seamless as possible. With my partners Dave (Mann) & Joe (Frisina), we spent a lot of time discussing how people would use HiFiveMusic. We wanted to find a format that wasn’t so “techy” that people wouldn’t get it, but we didn’t want it to be too simplistic either.
When you “walk in” to HiFive you’re presented with a big wall of music. The idea came from when you walk into a record store. When you walk in to a record store, you see albums – and sometimes you just buy a record because it has a really cool cover. So, that’s why we went with the home page design that we did – creating the online version of scrolling through albums in a record store.
Once logged in, you have a lot of options. You have your Music Library where you can create playlists and organize your music. But then we have other features like Fan Mail, which allow you to make friends on HiFiveMusic using features such as the Lounge – a place where you can send messages back and forth.
I love the idea of the lounge. How does it work?
We like to think of it as a big listening party – one of the things I like to do with friends is sit in the living room, put a record on and just listen to music and enjoy each others company and that’s kinda what the Lounge represents.
When you’re in your fan page you have a section called “My Favorites” – and my favorites does 2 things – if you have 3 songs you really like and you want to jump to those quickly, My Favorites is where you can add them so you can access them quickly. But the other thing that is really cool is you can actually bring the songs in your My favorites list into the lounge with you so people can listen to the songs your listening to also - and that’s another great way for users to discover new music.
We also rotate songs randomly each day from the Library into the Lounge – So, lets say you go in the Rock Lounge, we will submit 3 random songs that you might not have in your library. It’s a constant way to share music.
What are your favorite features of the site? Everything?
By far I would have to say one of my favorite things to do on Sunday morning is to set my laptop up, put my headphones on and just listen to music all day – so, what I like to do is scroll through the home page and just take in those different songs. What happens is that you only get a minute preview if you’re not subscribed to the band and sometimes I get locked into the groove and it cuts up – so then I just go over to the artists page and subscribe to the band so I can get the rest of the song. I love flipping through the home pages and seeing all of the artwork. I also love being in the Lounge – having a couple of buddies in there just chatting about stuff – yeah.
Oh, I don’t know how I could’ve forgot. When you subscribe to an artist, and lets say they put out an EP with say four songs or so - as long as you are actively subscribed, any new song they add will automatically add to your library. You don’t have to pay more money for their new music.
As a blogger it could be really cool to embed a playlist or share my faves with my readers – do you guys have anything (like embedded code) so fans can share their music with their friends off-site?
That’s something we’re definately open to looking into in the future . When we designed the site the first thing we wanted to do was get the music part right. Once we get that eco system really going we will start adding new features as we continue to grow – embedding songs are definitely things we’d like to do in the future.
Competitors – why should other music sites be afraid of HiFiveMusic?
I think that HiFive really caters to Indie bands in a way that no other company does. HiFiveMusic is created by a musician which is probably the biggest advantage because I know what artists want and what they need because I am one. I actually have an album that I’m going to be releasing on HiFive myself (be on the lookout for his Elemental EP!).
I think the big things that makes us very different from competitors is that we’re looking to create long-lasting relationships between the user (fan) and the artists that they’re listening to. The subscription model is the way that we do that and as far as I know there isn’t anyone out there that does it like we do.
Pretty awesome to be on the cornerstone of something brand new – Where do you see HiFiveMusic a year from now?
I see it continuing to grow and I see us expanding our artists roster considerably while continuing to get feedback from our bands and users. Sometimes you just want to let it marinate and see how people are using it – Then, we can create new features around how people are using the service and what their needs are.
I’d love to see a big expansion of the artists. I want to be able to have a big classical music library, a big jazz music library – a place where the artists who just generally don’t have a place in the popular music scene have a place where they can actually be heard and enjoyed by a lot of people.
Probably like world domination in 3 years right?
(hysterical fits of laughter ensue because I’m so hilarious)
That’s the plan.
Please, please, please stalk this site and make them your new secret lover. I couldn’t be more excited to be supporting such an awesome company doing such awesome things to showcase pure, raw, talent. And, for only $2.99 per band/artist for the entire year (to hear ALL of their songs)? You can’t go wrong.
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Oh, and if you don’t feel my fabulous interview gave you enough deets on how the site works, feel free to scope out the video below. It will walk you through every-thang.