If you’re wondering who the hottest up-and-comers in the indie music scene are, you might want to log in to Tunes.com. The Internet music hub has begun to use the vast and undiscerning reach of the Web to launch unsigned artists on the path to fame. As part of the ‘Download This’ campaign, which started in mid-May, burgeoning bands are invited to send their MP3 demo tapes to music mags Rolling Stone and The Source via their respective Web sites (www.rollingstone.com and www.thesource.com). The 4,000 tune responses received in the first installment were posted for download at www.tunes.com, and the editors of the two pubs each picked a top ten up-and-comers list. The only similarity between the two hot lists was in number-one choice Clokworx for the track ‘Mental Flux.’
Digital denizens are hailing the Net as the perfect way for new artists like Clokworx to develop a sizeable enough fan base to attract the attention of music execs, however the motivation behind the Download This initiative could be more self-serving. At press time, Viacom’s MTV Networks was gearing up for the on-line launch of The Buggles Project, which is being hailed by Viacom officials as the Ultimate Music Site. This claim loses some of its loftiness in light of the fact that, in July, Buggles acquired a Liberty Media Group Web site trio comprised of SonicNet, Streamland and Addicted to Noise.