One of the biggest technology companies in the world is lending a helping hand to independent artists. Google Music's new "Magnified" program will select artists that are using Artist Hub, a platform that lets an independent artist sell recordings directly from Google Music without using a digital distributor as an intermediary.
Artists selected by the Google team for Magnified will receive extra exposure at Google Music through editorial features, interviews and performances. One artist per week will be featured in the store's "staff picks" section.
The first Magnified artists will perform at a four-night concert series at the Sundance Film Festival. Those eight artists are Bad Rabbits, Chancellor Warhol, Civil Wars, Feather & Belle, Fort Lean, G-Side, Vintage Trouble and The Whigs. T-Mobile, one of Google's carrier partners, is a partner in the Sundance concert series and will give subscribers a special playlist of Magnified artists.
Google Music will host more Magnified concerts in the future. Already scheduled are events for Red Light Management's Grammy after-party, SXSW and Coachella.
While it's quite normal for a music store or service to highlight new and emerging artists, Google Music has baked independence into the product. Artist Hub is a platform that gives an artist the ability to basically self-distribute recordings through Google Music. It requires a one-time $25 fee to set up an account and allows artists to sell an unlimited number of albums and tracks. Google keeps a standard 30 percent of sales revenue and pays out 70 percent to the artist.