The dream of an independent streaming music community with no ads is about to die a quiet death.
At least Earbits’ version of it. L.A.-based Earbits says it will shut down its free streaming service June 16. The site was operational for four-and-a-half years.
The service said it wanted to provide a non-commercial way of introducing bands to fans, and it did that with free streaming and artist information. Earbits charged some of its artists and labels a fee for better visibility on the website. But to listeners the streaming service was free.
And, the founders say, the model worked well, but they simply ran out of money to keep the lights on. The company was once a Y Combinator startup, but in the long haul wasn’t able to find the kind of outside investment partners it needed.
“Most startups validate over the course of a few years that their concept is inherently flawed or that the economics of it would not work out at scale,” said CEO Joey Flores in a blog post. “For Earbits, nothing could be further from the truth. We proved to ourselves and a substantial number of artists and listeners that our concept does work … ”
“In trying to build a digital media, two-sided marketplace in an already tough industry, it appears we bit off more than we could chew,” Flores said.
The company says that all artists or labels who purchased Earbits marketing services can request a pro-rated refund.