Mashable, the renowned tech/start-up blog, brought to my attention that Live Nation is now in partnership with Ourstage to help bring venues and bands together (interesting Q&A with Ourstage CEO Ben Campbell). The resulting ‘Marketplace’ proposes gig opportunities promoted by Live Nation that bands can sign up to. For those of you who don’t know Ourstage, it’s basically a ‘hot or not’ for bands, where users vote between two acts of the same musical genre. At the end of monthly contests, the most popular bands win prizes ranging from money to being featured on famous online-music stores like AOL music. For it’s part, Live Nation have been engaging in distribution, marketing and promotion deals with major artists like Shakira, U2, Madonna, Coldplay, Jay-z and Nickleback in the past months. With this new deal, Ourstage seems to be aiming to establish a presence in the indie scene.
Since the dawn of online-music, social networks have been concentrating on music and band profiles, leaving the touring industry as an untapped market for web 2.0 start-ups. The Live Nation-Ourstage venture gives a boost in that direction. Seeing how Ourstage bands must be higly ranked for Live Nation to consider booking them, I think the majority of bands won’t benefit from this feature, but this is an interesting service that uses the power of social-networks to help bands get gigs. DeepRockDrive is about the only other service I can think of that does this, but they too have a model unfit for smaller unestablished artists. These still remain exciting times for the touring musician, and another reminder that fan-validation and web 2.0 strategies are key to innovative online-music businesses.