Music service Baboom launched to the public Monday with what the company calls a “fair trade streaming” model, but without major label artists as well as its infamous founder: Kim Dotcom, who rose to fame as the founder of Megaupload, originally envisioned Baboom as a platform to take on the music industry, but left the company last year.
At launch, Baboom offers free, advertising-supported music streaming as well as a download store and a music locker, allowing users to upload their own songs and stream them to the company’s Android and iOS apps as well as its web player. Users of Baboom’s free tier can save up to 100 songs in the company’s music locker; an AUD $10 (about $7.40) monthly fee gets users unlimited locker space.
It’s unclear how big Baboom’s catalog is at launch, but major label artists seem to be completely absent from the service. Instead, the service seems to be appealing to indie artists with what it calls “fair trade streaming”: Baboom aims to pay artists 90% of its revenue, and also offer additional revenue opportunities through ticket sales.
Baboom was originally the brain child of Kim Dotcom, the larger-than-life character behind Megaupload, the file sharing and locker service that got shut down in early 2012. Dotcom had worked on Baboom even before the shutdown of Megaupload, at the time calling it Megabox.
However, the original business plan for the music service was more than a little unorthodox: Dotcom envisioned to track the web surfing of Megabox users, and swap out ads on third-party websites for its own advertising, in turn funneling money to the service. He also made headlines for making friends with some major label artists, including will.i.am, Kanye West and Alicia Keys, suggesting that the music service could eventually feature many well-known faces.
Dotcom pre-launched Baboom in early 2014 with one of his own songs, but left the company in October. “The music industry hates me,” he tweeted at the time, adding that he was holding Baboom back. “You’ll do better without me,” he said.
Now, Baboom has completely abandoned Dotcom’s ad injection plans, as well as any other trace of him: Even Dotcom’s music is nowhere to be found on the service.