New startup aims to change how music “goes mainstream” 

Despite the Internet, mainstream music is still decided by a few big players. Could a new approach really change all that? 

I think music is great. And today, tons of great sources let us find great music. Discover this, uncover that. Get to the stuff that really gets “you.” That’s great too.

I love and use a ton of those services — and I don’t plan on stopping.

But what about the “Top 40”? What about the songs that “go mainstream”? No matter who we are, the songs that inevitably top the Billboard charts always seem to follow us. Somehow, certain songs get hoisted onto that enviable pedestal of general recognition — and from time to time, a few are even pretty good.

But who decides which ones? How do they get there? And is there possibly a better way?

Prepare for a couple sweeping generalizations.

The way I see it, two forces control what becomes mainstream music today. At one end, you’ve got the big players — a few labels, scouts, producers and friends. At the other end is everyone else. Occasionally, our likes, tweets, shares, views, and votes collectively thrust an outsider into stardom—but that’s pretty rare.

To be dramatic, it’s a game of thrones, with only a sprinkle of democracy thrown in. Because despite the trend toward crowdsourcing, our real influence on the success of great music is still marginal. The game the same, [it] just got more fierce.”

We created BoostBoard because we wanted a better system. Instead of tallying up votes, likes, or views, BoostBoard creates a way for your enjoyment of music to have a real impact.

The premise is simple and, hopefully, fun. All tracks on BoostBoard are user-submitted. (You can submit any song that’s on YouTube). Play any of them. If you hear something you love, you can “boost” it—a lot or a little—to help it climb the rankings. From there, your own “boosters” grow (or shrink) whenever the song rises further (or falls).

By giving you a piece of the action — a stake in the music you care about—we think there’s an opportunity for a better outcome — and a more empowering one. Think of it this way: you get credit not only for submitting, but also for supporting, great stuff. And that credit is finally worth something.

Ultimately, music is about feeling. So any idea to improve music will be dead on arrival unless it’s about feeling too. When you’re in a car and hear a song you love come on the radio, that’s a feeling. But then to think, “I was actually a part it getting there,” is an awesome, new feeling altogether. We’d love for you to be a part of it and give this experiment a shot.

Do you think meritocracy deserves a shot in music? Let us know your feedback and thoughts!

Rob & the Boostboard team

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