The relationship between the internet and music continues to evolve in new and bizarre ways. The latest is Guvera, a site that offers free music downloads, that the principals say uses the sponsorship model in new and they hope successful ways and keeps everyonefrom artist to label to consumehappy. When you register for the site, they ask you a battery of questions about your likes and dislikes and then you’re free to search for a song or an artist. The site will then direct you to a channel or channels, sponsored by an advertiser, which has what you’re looking for. Using the information from those initial customers’ surveys and then your subsequent download history, the site’s algorhythms find the target audience for certain advertisers and grab their eyeballs in a better way than pop up or strip ads. They also tell the advertisers what music the customers they want to reach listen to. The advertiser pays the royalties on the music to whoever holds the copyright. In other words, either the record label or the artist gets paid. It ain’t stealing.
Now, when anyone mentions the word, Algorhythm, my eyes glaze over, my brain screams “Math,” and I flash back to fifth grade algebra when me and math had our final breakup. Yet I understand what Claes Loberg and Finbar O’Hanlon, two big hairy Aussie dudes are trying to do with their new scheme. The trouble is it may just be that; another scheme in the long trail towards making the internet pay instead of just drain cash from the music business. At an event in New York City last night the pair got up and showed that they can talk the talk. Internet catch phrases were flying fast and heavy: “Brands become the channel of content,” The concept of selling media is broken,” “We want to give advertising relevance,” and my special favorite, “The answer to piracy is not persecution.” They even got Alice Cooper, a man better know to Arizonans as “friggin’ Vince,” or worse, to get up and give a history of his career which he closed by saying Guvera is great. Alice’s best line was when he said Frank Zappa, way back when, described Cooper’s first album as, “six songs with 23 changes.”
The jury is still out on Guvera though the pair has managed to haul in two rounds of funding which puts them somewhere north of 20 million. The site has already launched in Australia where they say they have 46 advertisers and will go up here on March 30.