It is a well recognized fact that the music industry is no longer substantiated by record sales and radio plays. The industry has clearly moved to the ever growing digital age where nearly any artist can be streamed and listened to on the internet. This shift has opened up many new websites which make it easier for both artists to get their music heard, and music listeners to discover new and talented artists.
This week, two very notable websites in the music, and hip hop industry, are experiencing substantial success. The lyric reference site RapGenius.com and Soundcloud.com have both shown this week that their small digitally influenced website is now a must have in the conglomerate music industry world.
First, Rap Genius.com is a reference site that displays lyrics to rap songs. The site is popular in the rap community and is well trusted among artists and fans alike. The website is unique in a way, in which, it allows the user to create a profile, and annotate their favorite artists' lyrics and write what they believe certain lines or parts of the song mean to them. The site also displays annotations by the actual writer of the song in green to show the fans what they actually meant by the lyric. Rap Genius allows users to interact with each other and has a point system where users can gain IQ points. This model has been so useful in the rap community in deciphering rap lyrics that the website is ready to expand.
Rap Genius was founded five years ago as simply a website to annotate and give meaning to rap lyrics, but today the website has announced that their website will now simply be titled 'Genius.com.' This change does not mean that Rap Genius is gone, it is now just a branch of the bigger annotation website Genius.com. Rap Genius will now be accompanied by other subjects such as Rock, Literature, Sports and History. Genius.com will use the same model that was successful with Rap Genius.com to spread into these new subjects. It seems that this small start up company is going to be a new powerhouse.
Secondly, Soundcloud.com announced today that they are in negotiation to team up with major record labels. In the new digital age in music, even bigger artists who already signed to major labels, are releasing their EP's and music to Soundcloud.com for free streaming. This is an issue for big labels considering they are getting no royalties or money from the streams that are listened to on the site.
Many fans of the website may see this as a sign of the website selling out. Considering the website is a way for many up coming artists to display their music for free, the website has now grown into an estimated $500-$700 million dollar company and is now facing legal troubles with these labels. The plan of action seems to be so far, that Soundcloud will make some sort of deal with these major record labels in the U.S., including Universal Music Ground, Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group, to avoid legal troubles. Overall, the small start up website has grown over the years and is expected to be monetized.