Beta Records amped for TV

Online music site to produce show

Beta Records, an online music site for unsigned bands that uses fans to drive its A&R activities, will produce 52 episodes of “Beta Records TV” that will begin airing Oct. 25 in 140 U.S. markets, including the top 15.

Show will feature behind-the-scenes footage of performances and recording sessions, much of it shot in the company’s Los Angeles multimedia studio and its Beta Bus, a mobile recording studio. Half-hour program will air in New York on WABC at 10:30 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays and on KCAL in L.A. at 2 p.m. on Saturdays.

Series producers are Beta Records president Chris Honetschlaeger, CEO Georg van Handel and attorney David Codikow.

Beta Records was formed to provide a platform for unsigned artists and their fans. By taking user feedback into account, company execs approach acts with a proposal to record three songs, proceeds from which Beta and the act split 50-50. So far, three acts have signed with Beta and another five are in negotiations.

Beta plans to sign 100 acts to three-song deals by this time next year. “Acts that are motivated to self-promote,” Honetschlaeger specified.

The idea for the television show was broached after discussions with several venture capitalists. A TV producer, Bin Tune, was interested in Beta Records’ digital technology, and an exchange was made between two companies, tech for airtime. Bin Tune controls timeslots designated to fulfill educational and information regulations.

“Our focus is different than MySpace,” said Honetschlaeger, who estimated that the site currently has recordings from 103,000 musical acts. “This is a music community with social elements. We provide a distribution element, a tool set for music, a space to sell music and now the possibility of TV exposure.

“When we built our third edition (of software), we took into consideration how difficult it is to sort through content on MySpace and used collaborative filtering, similar to what Amazon might do, to match musical tastes.”

Honetschlaeger said the website attracts 70,000-80,000 unique visitors per day. It’s involved in a keyword search campaign with Yahoo and will launch one with Google on Sept. 15.

Beta has local editions of its website in Germany, Mexico and the U.K. and will soon be available in China.

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