LONDON (Hypebot) – Universal has become the first major label to embrace fan powered download retailer People’s Music Store. Using the UK based site, fans can set up online stores, choose music, write reviews, and market via their blogs and social pages. But People's is not another multi-level marketing scheme. Fans-turned -storekeepers earn 10% of each sale in points which can be used to buy music.
I met two of the People's Music Store team at the meetup that Hypebot co-sponsored with Tospin at Midem earlier this year and was struck then by the potential of this simple concept. Bloggers get rewarded because people bought what they wrote about, and bands can place their music next to the artists that influence them. Labels Rough Trade, Lex and Ninja Tunes, and acts including Nightmares on Wax and Various Production have already set up shops. It is possible to do something like this with an Amazon affiliate account, but People's is only about music and adds review and other personalization tools.
People's supports commerce in multiple countries including the UK and US. But the problem I saw with the site back in January was lack of selection, and the Universal deal goes a long way towards solving that…
If you're setting up a store to show how good your taste is, it better have deep catalog. And people like to discover new music alongside bands they are familiar with. Sites that only feature unsigned acts can be like wading through an unfamiliar swamp – occasionally wonderful, but more often a bit frightening.
I suspect that the other three major labels need to come aboard (and why shouldn't they follow Universal's lead?) for People's potential to be full realized. But at least now, fans can share their belief in a garage band from Brighton or Peoris alongside their love of Amy Winehouse, Morrissey and Kayne. People's might also consider cash payouts as an option.
But having their first major label on board is a milestone. “We are excited to have the Universal Music catalog on People’s Music Store because it shows that forward-thinking labels are willing to try new ways of connecting artists with fans,” says Ged Day, founder of People’s Music Store and former founder of Bleep.com. “This addition doubles our catalog to 600,000 tracks and means that our storekeepers have even more options to choose from when stocking their stores. We look forward to seeing well known artists like Jay-Z next to less known musicians like Doom. In this way, people can discover new music in an authentic context, recommended to them by peers whose opinion they trust.”