I like Midge Ure. He always appears gallant in the face of ignorance about his role in Live Aid, Band Aid, Live 8 (worst gig ever?). He wrote and produced ‘Do they know its Christmas?’ in the time it takes most of us to make a cup of tea.
This week the Ultravox frontman has been telling The Guardian about his new website, ‘Tunited’. The site is aimed at struggling musicians and enthusiastic music fans. Users receive ‘streaming credits’ by purchasing downloads or recommending music. Artists collect the majority of this money (minus a small administration fee). They are also provided with marketing tools.
Intrigued, I decided to test ‘Tunited’ out:
The home page is colourful and simply laid out. Lots of big, bold photos, which is good, though I’d like to see less space devoted to advertising the ‘magazine’. Towards the bottom of the page are links to ‘featured artists’, ‘Tastemakers’ and the latest ‘Charts’. Once you navigate away, pages become less visual and more information/text-based.
There are features aplenty for ‘music makers’, including free software downloads, collaboration notice boards and feedback forums. There are also tips from ‘industry insiders’.
‘Music lovers’ have the chance to become ‘Tastemakers’ on the evidence of a great playlist or interesting blog. There are gig listings and discussion groups. Music is recommended to you on the basis of genre preferences and your download/streaming history. A 79p download gets you 25 streaming credits (50 credits=1 track).
The site is easy to navigate and pathways for ‘music lovers’ and ‘music makers’ are clearly defined. External links to Facebook and Twitter are available at the bottom of each page.
This is a simple, easy to use site with some great features for artists, especially the free software. It’s visually attractive, but the ‘magazine’ is a tad unnecessary. At the time of writing Tunited has 6000 artist profiles, not bad, but there did seem to be a lack of activity on the site. The idea of rewarding people for legal downloading is a good one. But other similar sites, such as mflow, have struggled.
Perhaps it’s a question of conscience.