I’m a bit embarassed to say, but this one flew completely under my radar. Had I heard about this company a week ago, it would have made my best of 2010 list, fo’ shizzle.
Hitlantis is an online music community that connects avid music lovers with unsigned bands around the world. Their platform’s interface is very innovative in design, and I really like the way that they visualize all of the music, bands, and genres. On the “Hitlantis Map,” users can see how many artists are in each genre of music, and you can zoom in and out and navigate around the map to find new bands. The navigation is very similar to how Google Maps lets you click and drag to move to another location on the map.
When you click on a band, you are instantly provided with a selection of tracks to listen to. On each band profile, you can see their “hotness” level, how many fans (aka users that have clicked the heart button) they have, sharing buttons (via @AddThis), information about purchasing the music, comments, and other useful information.
You’re probably wondering what that whole “hotness” thing is. This is the coolest part of Hitlantis, in my opinion. So, you can download and purchase music from artists directly through Hitlantis, and the artist receives 90% of the revenue (Hitlantis takes 10% for fees and taxes). You can decide how much you want to pay for each song you buy, but there is a minimum price set on certain songs, which is based on the band’s success in the Hitlantis platform (aka their level of “hotness”). That level is determined by how much fans are paying for the band’s music. The more fans pay above the minimum price, the higher the band’s hotness level, which inches them closer to the center of the map which makes them much more visible. If you download a song for free, the band does not gain any “hotness,” which is kind of a bummer because many bands have become “hot” by giving their music away for free! But, I respect the fact that they’re business model encourages users to pay for music to help boost an unsigned band’s credibility and exposure inside and outside of the platform.
Hitlantis has had some trouble gaining traction in North America, and I have the feeling that might have something to do with the fact that they don’t support Paypal. Currently, you must have an account with MoneyBookers or ClickAndBuy in order to purchase music from Hitlantis, which is kind of a downer for us yankee folks. I’d reeeeally rather not have to sign up for another online payment solution.
However, if all you want to do is stream music and discover new artists, Hitlantis is an incredible place to do that. Navigating from bubble to bubble on this map is not too dissimilar from rummaging through crates at the record store. For people who are into crate digging, this is like that, except you also get to immediately listen to the music and share it with your buds!
And now, straight from the horse’s mouth, this video below shows Timo Poijärvi, co-founder of Hitlantis (and commenter on this blog!) winning the pitch contest at this year’s Money Talks Forum.