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Living Life Loud
by: Shannon Mott

The music industry is changing – one click at a time

Change is good. Just ask the millions of unsigned artists worldwide trying to get their music heard. Since the music industry is changing drastically, unsigned musicians are able to make their music available to listeners. Record labels are realizing new techniques need to be created in order to promote music, and find new talent.

The result has been a surge of music-based websites. These sites allow artists to create their own websites, upload MP3s and promote music free of cost. One website which has received much attention is iSOUND.COM.

A musician himself, D.J. Burdick’s purpose has been clear from the beginning: create a website that allows unsigned artists to upload MP3s so they can share their music with the world. Burdick, the founder and creator of the music-based website iSOUND.COM, began his career in 1999, shortly after graduating from high school. At first, the main focus of iSOUND.COM was to give visitors more information about their favorite bands.

“I was looking for information about artists I liked, and I couldn’t find anything comprehensive on the Internet,” says Burdick. “So, I decided to create my own website.”

He then spent one year developing and implementing iSOUND.COM. In 2000, Burdick relocated to Dallas, Texas to attend Southern Methodist University. In Dallas, Burdick realized that it was difficult to find gigs and get his music heard. That is when he had an idea.

“I decided to expand iSOUND.COM. I wanted to make it a music community where artists could share their music with the world,” says Burdick.

While attending university, Burdick continued working on his website. In 2004, he graduated from SMU’s Cox School of Business. Along with a few college friends, he decided to make iSOUND.COM his full-time career.

“Working on my own company has allowed me to work on what I’m truly passionate about. I get to focus on what I believe in,” says Burdick. “I wanted to make iSOUND.COM my full-time job because I had so many ideas. Working for a large, established company may provide more security but that wasn’t dynamic enough for me. I needed something that would allow me to control the vision of the business and let me implement my business ideas. It is very rewarding to see over a million people visiting iSOUND per month who are sharing in this vision and desire to bring great unheard music to the masses.”

The music industry is changing drastically. MP3s are no longer just about illegal pirating and file sharing. In fact, MP3s are becoming imperative to unsigned artists wishing to promote their music on the Internet. There are tons of talented artists out there. Unfortunately, they do not have the money to push into advertising or music promotion. The solution to this problem: level the playing field by promoting on the internet.

“The [music] industry is going through a huge transitional phase. Everything is changing and the [record] labels are realizing this. They are now using many of the same avenues to promote their artists as those available to unsigned artists,” says Burdick.

In fact, a complete industry of music-based websites has developed, allowing musicians to promote their music over the Internet. The way iSOUND.COM works is that artists may sign up and upload their music for free. Staff members then listen to the songs and rate the music. Listeners visit the site, discover new music, and earn points for sharing that music with their friends. The most popular artists on iSOUND.COM receive thousands of plays per month. Musicians can literally gain thousands of new fans just by uploading their music onto popular music websites and networking via those sites.

“There is a growing group of signed bands getting a large share of radio and [music] video play that started entirely by promoting on the Internet and playing small clubs,” says Burdick. “The future of music is on the Internet. Get your music uploaded, spend a few hours a week promoting online, and you’ll be amazed at the results.”

About the author:
Shannon Mott is a freelance writer and employee of iSOUND.COM

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