Enigma Digital rollout caught up in the Web

Company targeting music fans

Attempting to target every music fan on the Web from heavy metal headbangers to techno tuners, Enigma Digital has been rolling out the first of 15 dot-coms it plans to incubate in the coming year, backed by initial financing of $6.5 million from Vantage Point Venture Partners.

Music industry vet Bob Ezrin serves as chairman and co-CEO of Santa Monica-based Enigma; co-CEO William Hein, founder of Enigma Entertainment and Restless Records, and chief operating officer Michael Abrams, former chief operating officer of Cinebase Software, round out the management.

Like most incubators, Enigma will help create, fund and staff its music genre-specific Web sites, which include:

  • Hard rockin’ KNAC.com. Enigma relaunched the site, which bowed in November 1997 as an Internet radio station, based on the popular Southern California heavy metal station. It will feature interviews, news and other offerings.

  • GrooveRadio.com, dedicated to electronic dance music. Bowed Jan. 11, site is led by Egil “Swedish Egil” Aalvik, founder of Groove Radio Intl.

  • LuxuriaMusic.com, combining mood music with a discriminating look at pop culture. Site will launch on Valentine’s Day.

Enigma is also readying Curbserver.com, an underground hip-hop community, with South Central L.A.-based AfterLife Entertainment, as well as Acaza.com, a youth-oriented community focused on Christian contemporary music, lifestyle and culture.

“Each community is run by someone that comes from that world,” Ezrin said. “KNAC.com is run by headbangers for headbangers. GrooveRadio.com is run by electronic music DJs who play electronic music. They know that people in this world are pre-sold and passionate. They want everything they can get their hands on.”

Future Enigma music lifestyle communities will focus on opera, blues, jazz, classic rock and world music, among other genres.

Each site will offer news, reviews and interviews, digital downloads, video broadcasts, chat rooms, community boards, e-commerce, music downloads and ticket sales.

“It’s a matter of identifying brands and genres of music that will make great communities,” said Ezrin, who has produced Pink Floyd, Alice Cooper, KISS, Rod Stewart, Peter Gabriel and Monty Python. Most recently, he was a founder and CEO of 7th Level Inc. (now Learn2.com), a multimedia education company.

Co-chief executive officer William Hein founded and developed indie record label Enigma Entertainment and Restless Records.

Michael D. Abrams, formerly chief operating officer at Cinebase Software (now eMotion), was previously veep of business operations for Internet health company Physicians Online.

Enigma Digital editor in chief Lonn Friend was formerly Arista Records veep, A&R, West Coast. In 1998, he founded indie music consulting company Rumi Enterprises and consulted with Interscope/Geffen/A&M on artist development, working with Limp Bizkit, Sheryl Crow, Counting Crows, Primus, Peter Gabriel, Jonny Lang and Hole.

London-based Sanctuary Group, as well as numerous entertainment and financial industry players, also participated in Enigma’s financing.

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