The Tangled Web
The Web's most intriguing music-related destinations. This week: Moontaxi's PureTracks download service, Rascal Flatts, and Fuse.tv.Keeping you up to date on the Web's most intriguing music-related happenings and destinations.
DRIVE ME TO THE MOON: Toronto-based Moontaxi Media, which runs the Moontaxi.com Web radio service, is shooting for a September launch of a label-sanctioned a la carte download service called PureTracks. Moontaxi says it is in discussions to get all five major label groups on board for the service, which will run on Windows-compatible PCs.
Moontaxi co-founder Alistair Mitchell says the service, which has been in development for eight months, will offer individual downloads of Windows Media files for 99 cents each. The majority of the tracks will be burnable to CD and playable on portable digital audio players. He expects the service to launch with more than 200,000 files, including repertoire from each of the major labels as well as a host of independents.
Mitchell says the download service, like its parent company, will have a Canadian identity, in that it will feature songs from artists recognized in that market that might not have as strong an audience elsewhere. "The virtue of our service in relation to Canadians is it will have content they couldn't find through PressPlay or MusicNet, or any of the other players out there that are U.S.-based," he explains.
But the most attractive selling point of the forthcoming service is its relation to Moontaxi's existing Web radio environment. The Moontaxi network, which includes more than 150 streaming Web radio channels, was ranked the No. 7 Internet broadcast network in terms of aggregate listening hours by marketing research firm Arbitron in its latest ratings. Mitchell says the PureTracks service will be synchronized with Moontaxi's streaming channels to offer users the option to download songs as they hear them on the radio.
"Rather than going the route of a subscription company where you pay 10 bucks a month to get access to the service where you can buy downloads," Mitchell explained, "You don't pay to come into our environment. We say 'enjoy the music, and if you like it, feel free to buy it.' We think it's a powerful combination."
PureTracks' content licensing deals with all five major labels are "in various stages of paperwork," Mitchell said, adding that the company has already begun sourcing content from Universal Music Group. Deals with a number of independent labels are also in the works. The company also hopes to make the service available to third-party retailers and their Web sites. Look for more information about PureTracks to become available in the coming months.
JUST LIKE THE REAL THING: Country trio Rascal Flatts plan to spend an evening with their biggest fans tomorrow night (June 4), but they won't all be in the same room. To coincide with Nashville's immense Fan Fair festival, the band is holding its third-annual members-only Fan Club Party at the city's Rocketown nightclub. While fans attending the party will get a catered dinner and the chance to get their picture taken with Rascal Flatts, for the first time the band's online fan club will also have an opportunity to take part in the event.
Online fan club members can get access through Rascalflatts.com to a live broadband Webcast of the concert and a members-only chat room. Participants will also get to take part in the interactive nature of the show. During a one-hour acoustic set, the band will take requests and respond to questions asked by fans in the live and online audiences.
LIGHT THE FUSE: Fuse, the music video network formerly known as MuchMusic USA, determines its video playlists and programming schedule largely by viewers' input, and the channel's Web site is now offering those viewers more options to drive Fuse's content, with Web access being enabled for mobile phones.
Fuse.tv allows registered users to submit video requests and dedications, and thanks to a deal with technology provider WINK Interactive, the station is now allowing Web-enabled wireless phone users to access mobile.fuse.tv, so properly equipped viewers can request videos, make dedications, and vote on their favorite videos using mobile phones.