likeZEBRA is a new music site that only carries artists not signed by one of the major labels. Unlike MySpace Music, Coldplay isn’t around to steal Sound of Sulfur‘s potential fans’ attention spans. It’s hardly an original idea — think dmusic, WeAreListening, or LaunchYourMusic.com — but my take is that sooner or later, one of these sites will figure out how to make it work.
Company spokesman Braven Greenelsh sent me an email last week in which he said, “Any struggling musician knows that breaking into the music industry is next to impossible. likeZEBRA is unique in that it allows artists to gain exposure in new areas, sell and distribute their music, book their own shows, get signed, and ultimately monetize their music in the process.”
likeZEBRA’s tools include text message and email blasters that allow bands to send mass messages to fans. That’s the best way today to keep them up to the minute on show and new releases. A likeZEBRA widget makes it easy for fans to download free ringtones.
likeZEBRA’s mission — to make music a profitable business, rather than a life-eating hobby — seems on the verge of quixotic to me. As a former struggling rockstar-in-training myself, I learned that even freelance writing is a much more reliable source of income, and that a major label contract is the best way to land a lump some of money to get the band off the ground. But likeZEBRA’s site seems like it could at least ramp up musicians’ fan bases and add to their potential incomes. Not a bad start.
The company, based in Los Angeles, is privately funded.