I’ll bet you didn’t know that it was that time again. What time? The time for a new online music platform for artists and fans. It seems every couple of years or less something new pops up hoping to become the new de facto standard for independent artists to present themselves to the world. Recently, we’ve seen Toneden.io gain some traction, and the relatively young Splice.com and Blend.io are duking it out to become the collaborative online hub for music producers.
And now, ready or not, here it is. The new Orfium.com bills itself as “built by artists, for artists… a one-stop social network and marketplace for emerging and independent artists.”
Why build another such music site? It’s simple Business 101: find an unfulfilled need in the marketplace, and fulfill it yourself. An Orfium email cited “many frustrations with SoundCloud, misleading billing tactics of ReverbNation, and the last of audience-engaging features for non-artist users on Bandcamp.”
Personally, I can relate to all of the above reasons for Orfium, so I was intrigued. The artist-friendly advantages that Orfium purports include an 80% share of music sales, built-in micro-licensing of your tracks, the ability to earn money when people upload remixes of your music or use your music in YouTube videos, earnings not diluted by freemium ads, and the ability to set the price for (or give away) your music on a per-track basis.
Orfium’s artist pages include quite a few features that SoundCloud users will find familiar. There are embeddable music players for each track that listeners can “like” and comment on, and you can create track playlists. You can also create Albums, post Events and post comments to your fans in your Feed. You can link all your social media accounts to your page, as well.
You can upload music directly or import music from your SoundCloud account. (SoundCloud tracks must be downloadable to import straight to Orfium.) At any time, you can set the terms for each song file. It can be a free download; you can require a listener to follow you in order to download; block downloads; or set a price for downloading. Orfium uses non-exclusive distribution, so you’re free to upload to other music retailers. You can choose the type of license for commercial and non-commercial use of your music, as well as set licensing prices. Orfium wanted to put the artist in control of how their own music is shared and/or sold online, and they seem to be following through with many options from the get go.
To help users discover your music, you can tag it with descriptors for genre and sub-genre, mood, key signature and others. Orfium offers charts and genre searching to help users discover music, and there are already several thousand tracks uploaded, mostly in the Electronic/EDM, Rock and Hip-Hop/Rap categories.
Orfium is just getting started, but it’s building in mechanisms to help labels and publishers seek out unsigned tracks and help big-time and small-time music licensers find and attain music straight from Orfium. It’s Earnings Dashboard is in the works for the near future, which will show you your sales statistics.
If you have any interest using Orfium and have music ready to be uploaded now, it only takes a small investment of time to get your profile page up and running. My admittedly sparse page took well under an hour to set up, but it does take up to 48 hours to verify your account if you plan on selling any music. So get going! If Orfium starts to take off, you’ll have an early jump on gaining chart position and followers.
Here’s an example of an Orfium embeddable player: