by Dave Mainella
Last week marked the public release of Tunezy, a music experience marketplace. With it comes an innovative and fan-driven environment for independent musicians, a kind of social record label for the sharing and discovery of new music.
Tunezy is built upon the concept of earning a virtual currency called “Notes”. Fans receive Notes in exchange for listening to music, watching videos, leaving thoughts and emotions, signing in daily, giving feedback to artists, and sharing music on other social networks. Once a limit of 150 Notes is earned, fans can purchase more. These Notes can then be used to tip musicians and buy products and experiences in the marketplace, such as virtual concerts and twitter shout outs.
This fan engagement generates value for musicians. Every month, it is determined how many Notes each artist earned, by selling experiences to fans or being tipped. The money Tunezy makes from selling fans Notes is then proportionally divided up among the musicians, depending on the percentages of the total number of Notes each artist has earned. When there is less than $10k being split up, almost all of the money goes to the artists. Tunezy only takes a percentage once the musicians get paid.
Tunezy CEO, Derrick Fung, explains that they wanted to help grow and sustain the independent music community. “More often than not they are limited in their capacity to monetize their work because of the large cut distributors take from digital downloads and as they grow they’re subject to the large cuts and provisions of major record labels. We want to make it all about giving artists the monetary means and opportunity to keep creating great music that they are passionate about and in doing so help them engage with their fans.”
Tunezy generates additional revenue through partnerships with companies in their marketplace, where companies pay to be featured on the Tunezy website, and through affiliate sales.
“Given our current business model, we can ensure that both the artist and company benefit from our partnerships,” Fung continues. “We’re really looking for the best companies to help the artists that use the Tunezy platform. Some of these partnerships would range from studio time, to audio equipment, to licensing deals.”
Tunezy’s integration with YouTube and Facebook allows for the easy sharing and discovery of new music. Users sign up through Facebook, giving Tunezy some data on preferences. Tunezy also asks users to provide additional input about what they want and like. Based on the combination of these preferences, Tunezy can better recommend new independent musicians.
YouTube is the medium through which artists share their music. Any musician not signed to a major label and with a video on YouTube can sign up to share music and experiences through Tunezy. The YouTube videos are pulled directly onto the Tunezy platform, and because they are built on this YouTube platform, Tunezy does not have to deal with record labels directly regarding licensing complications: YouTube has already already established procedures with the labels when needed.
According to Bloomberg, Tunezy recently won an entrepreneurship contest at the National Business and Technology conference, and they have received a significant investment and funding from Intertainment Media Inc. earlier this year.
Tunezy is hosting a free event Thursday to discuss ways to build an online music career. It will be held at the Village Pourhouse in New York. Be sure to RSVP on Eventbrite to get the chance to talk to Derrick Fung and others, and because the first drink is on them.