Jupiter.fm is a streaming website tailored to local music. It was recently established by a group young college graduates. Kyle, Drew, Raj, Kevin, Dae, and Ken come from all over the country, but crossed paths in San Diego. It is here that they decided to create a start-up company focused on promoting local music.
It appeared to the founders that the way people listen to music today disconnect them from its inherent social components. Over the last couple decades especially, the way in which we listen to music (where, when, with whom) has changed significantly. Now, people listen to music with their earphones, isolating themselves.
Kevin told IVN how, as a teen, he loved going all over Chicago to listen to local bands because they were accessible; he could talk to them. Now, this interaction has lost its prominence. The team also believes that the way the music industry currently works is only profiting a few privileged players, leaving nothing for most musicians.
In 2011, Kyle and Drew, two MBA graduates from the University of San Diego, decided that they could remedy these problems by creating online place to stream local music. If you find a band that you like on Jupiter.fm, you’ll be able to interact with since they’ll be local. This gives people the chance to discover or rediscover the joy of going to a concert in a nearby venue, while promoting local music. The prolific San Diego music scene is the perfect environment for such an experiment. If the concept works, it can be repeated in any city in the world.
Since Jupiter.fm’s conception, the team expanded, with some members working on the business model, while others work on the specifics of the website. Kevin took care of the copyright issues surrounding the project, which has been extremely important.
While the website was under construction, Jupiter.fm’s members met with local bands to convince them to share their music on the website to build up a database. “Some weeks I would go watch live bands two or three nights a week, visiting 2 or 3 different venues each night,” Kevin told IVN.
It took some time, but they finally reached over 100 hours of music, corresponding to approximately 600-700 hundred songs from over 100 artists. They were then able to launch the beta version of Jupiter.fm. So far, they have had good feedback from both and artists.
The team hopes that this is only the beginning. The website is about half-way complete and is continually evolving. Two weeks ago, it integrated an online licensing agreement so that artists can upload their music to the website themselves, without having to go through Jupiter.fm’s team.
To sustain themselves financially, Jupiter.fm hopes that the local aspect of the project will encourage local businesses to advertise on their website and sponsor some artists. They are also creating partnerships and utilizing crowd sourcing to finance the project.
If the project turns into a success story, Jupiter.fm aims to share part of its revenues with local artists. In the meantime, they are helping artists learn about the rights they have regarding their music, as well as, in Kevin’s words, “Help people, especially young people, rediscover local music as a social gathering.”