Last year, following the U2 album debacle, I finally decided to ditch iTunes. Having spent hours reading up on and trying out the various alternatives, none of them really seemed to do exactly what I wanted them to and it seemed like whichever one I went for would involve compromising on some function or other that was important to me. Similarly I’ve not really bought in to online services either – I use the likes of Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Youtube and Vimeo because they tend to be how bands send their review submissions in to Joyzine, but I never use them for my personal listening time.
Then there’s the issue of fair payment for artists, brought to mainstream attention earlier this year with the Taylor Swift vs Spotify stand-off and the underwhelming launch of Tidal, though I’d heard bands complaining about the pittance they’ve received in royalties for years beforehand.
And of equal importance to old-school music fans who remember the days when you had to actually leave the house if you wanted to get your favourite band’s new album is the intangibility of the whole digital music process. The lack of connection. The loss of soul. Back then the presentation of the album was a big part of the enjoyment – the cover art, the liner notes, all now reduced to a tiny square in the bottom left hand corner of the screen, if indeed it is seen at all.
New music platform Whitestone claims to have the solution to the problem. Purporting to aim at the music connoisseur rather than the masses, Whitestone places artwork and experience at the centre of its pitch, allowing artists to create animated and interactive designs to accompany their music and encouraging the listener to give the work their undivided attention.
The system itself is to be set up as a social media platform with fans able to follow bands, artists, radio hosts and bloggers within the system and show their support (and at the same time ensure fair restitution for artists) through a tip jar system.
The team behind Whitestone are aiming to create “an honest, sustainable marketplace” without the involvement of advertisers, venture capitalist or major labels in its funding and to achieve this they’re opening a Kickstarter campaign on Sunday 30th August.
Whether or not the system will live up to its promise we shall have to wait and see (and we’ve seen enough new music platforms come and go to be wary), but at least Whitestone seems to be offering an alternative to the status quo.
Check out this video presentation by the creators of Whitestone for more information:
Article by Paul Maps