Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Virtual Recording Studio

(Post: English)
"When Tal Pink and Kevin Cohen were growing up in California's San Fernando Valley in the 1980s, they performed Beastie Boys songs for elementary school parties."

Today the duo and three other thirtysomethings - Frank Harris, Ryo Fujita, and Ron Kurti - host a Web site where hip-hop vocalists and producers can collaborate and record music of their own.

Their site, Dopetracks, allows musicians to upload beats or the basics of a song.

Vocalists or MCs can pick out whichever they like, plug a microphone into their computer, and record their rhymes on top.

Visitors can then listen to streams of any song, post comments, and vote for the "dopest" track. (The artists maintain rights to their original work, while Dopetracks owns their collaborations.)

Since the site was launched in 2007, it has recorded more than 200,000 songs. The site is also "sticky," with listeners spending an unusually high 15 minutes per visit.

The startup isn't a cash machine, however. Cofounders Pink, Cohen, and Fujita spent $60,000 of their own money to create the Van Nuys (Calif.) venture.

Later, the founders, Kurti (who designed the site), and Harris (who was brought in to run the business), raised $150,000 from their families.

But 2008 revenue totalled $50,000, mostly from ads, and CEO Harris projects revenue of $100,000 this year. Other money-generators are in the works.

Dopetracks plans to conduct more company-sponsored contests like a Suzuki competition in 2008 for a hip-hop paean to its Hayabusa motorcycle.

And come September, site users will be able to download ringtones snipped from songs cataloged on the site.

Source: BusinessWeek

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