You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

U tunes web music

Artists worldwide can send demos to site

Universal Music’s online record label Jimmy and Doug’s Farm Club launched Tuesday as Seagram CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. talked of a potential spinoff of the company’s Internet music business.

“We expect it will have an independent value that we (can) bring to Seagram shareholders (through) an IPO, a tracking stock or something else,” Bronfman told reporters after a press conference in New York unveiling the new label, which can be found at FarmClub.com.

The project allows aspiring artists worldwide to upload music to the Web site for critique by industry execs and music fans. The most promising acts will be featured on a new TV show, FarmClub.com, to air on the USA Network following top-rated “Raw” from the World Wrestling Federation. That’s synergy. Seagram controls the cable net’s parent, USA Networks Inc. Seagram/Universal execs see the young, male “Raw” audience as a good bet for FarmClub.

Other partners in the venture include an exclusive marketing and promotion agreement with America Online and a non-exclusive arrangement with MTV Networks’ MTV and VH1. AOL will own 3% of FarmClub.

Universal plans to offer recording contracts to the best acts.

“This will provide young artists a ticket from obscurity,” said Bronfman, a former songwriter himself.

“There’s a lot of great music out there that needs to be heard,” added Jimmy Iovine, co-chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M and chairman- CEO of the new venture.

There’s also a lot of bad music too. Execs said FarmClub will have its people listening 24 hours a day to weed out the unworthy. The label will announce a president and staffing in coming months. Until then, personnel include six A&R employees in L.A. and six in N.Y.

The Doug of FarmClub is Universal Music CEO Doug Morris. He said the label will be ready to sign up artists with Universal as of Feb. 1. Music can be uploaded starting in December.

Bronfman wouldn’t discuss Seagram’s dollar investment in the project, which is part of a pattern of spending on online music initiatives that he’s discussed a number of times with Wall Street without giving any specifics. He said the cash outlay would be “significant,” but partly offset by projected revenue from advertising, merchandising and licensing. “We’re going to spend what it takes to be competitive in this space,” he said.

He also declined to elaborate on how Universal can prevent other music companies from snatching away the best acts once they’re discovered. “It will be an extremely robust site. There is a certain competitive process I don’t want to go into” that will address that issue, he said, adding that Universal “has a really competitive edge by being first and by having the partners we have.”

FarmClub won’t be the only site where artists can send demos. Garageband.com, among a host of other sites, also accepts them. But Universal is the first major music company to enter the fray. “Why post your stuff on Garageband.com when you can post it on FarmClub,” said one industry insider.

More Music

  • European Union Placeholder

    European Parliament Gives Final Approval to Controversial Article 13 Copyright Directive

    The European Parliament on Tuesday gave final approval of Article 13, a controversial directive that shakes up the rules around copyright in the continent with ramifications for online platforms, content owners and creators, and the general public. The proposed new framework, now approved, has sparked widespread debate among the platforms, public, and content firms. The platforms, [...]

  • iHeartMedia Strikes Multi-Year Deal With LiveXLive

    iHeartMedia Strikes Multi-Year Deal With LiveXLive

    iHeartMedia today announced a multi-year agreement with LiveXLive, a digital media company focused on live entertainment. According to the announcement, the deal combines content, production, distribution and promotion. The newly expanded partnership gives LiveXLive exclusive global livestreaming rights for 17 iHeartRadio marquee events this year, including iHeartRadio’s ALTer Ego, iHeartCountry Festival, iHeartRadio Wango Tango, Daytime Stage at [...]

  • Stevie Nicks Fleetwood Mac in concert

    Rolling Stone, Audible to Produce Series on the Lives of Icons

    Audible announced Monday a deal with Rolling Stone to produce an audio series focused on the lives of legendary icons. “The Wild Heart of Stevie Nicks,” a look at the life and music of the lead singer of Fleetwood Mac, will be released exclusively on Audible on April 4. Rolling Stone journalist and best-selling author [...]

  • Parcast-Spotify

    Spotify Is Buying Parcast, Its Third Podcasting Acquisition This Year

    Spotify announced plans to acquire Parcast, a scripted-entertainment podcast studio — the streaming giant’s third podcasting pickup so far in 2019. Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. Spotify expects the acquisition to close in the second quarter of 2019. The Parcast acquisition comes after Spotify last month paid around $337 million to buy two [...]

  • Wynn Nightlife Announces Residency for Roving

    Wynn Las Vegas to Host Residency for Roving Spanish Party Elrow

    One of Las Vegas’ biggest music players is doubling down on the power of a global brand instead of just a single DJ to help them stay on top of Sin City’s increasingly competitive clubbing scene. Wynn Nightlife has announced a year-long residency and partnership with Spain’s Elrow, a respected Ibiza-born party that last year [...]

  • PledgeMusic Down to a ‘Skeleton Staff,’

    PledgeMusic Down to a ‘Skeleton Staff,’ Although a Potential Buyer Is in the Wings

    PledgeMusic, the direct-to-fan marketplace that has faced serious financial troubles in recent months, is down to a “skeleton staff” and payroll in the U.S. office ceased within the last month, sources close to the situation tell Variety, although a potential buyer is “very interested” in the company and has been in due diligence for several [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content