“Fair trade” music streamer Baboom has launched today without its infamous founder: former Megaupload exec Kim Dotcom. Dotcom created the idea for the artist-friendly music service, but he left the company last year as part of his split from the music industry.
The service — which caters primarily to independent artists, features lossless audio, and prides itself on directly paying artists — does remain true to Dotcom’s intent but currently lacks the extensive catalogs of competitors like Tidal (and, seemingly, most major artists).
One element that distinguishes Baboom from other music streamers like Apple Music, Spotify, Rdio and others is its “Fair Trade Streaming” model, which is defined by a focus on transparency and direct payment to artists. The service boasts that 90 percent of its revenue will go to music rights holders (i.e. artists, labels, and publishers). Sites like Spotify, and others, generally claim around a 70 percent split with copyright holders.
Baboom also claims its division of profits is more judicious than other services.
“Fair Trade Streaming offers the artist full visibility of payments from streaming, unlike traditional methods where all revenue goes into a pot and is distributed to the artists who are most popular,” said the press release. “Fair Trade Streaming ensure subscription fees go from the fan to the artists they stream.”
“We have created a solution that will attract quality independent artists and labels,” said Baboom head of content Mikee Tucker in the press release. “Greater returns, direct payments, fair trade streaming and an innovative royalty engine are some of the key factors that will drive uptake from artists.”
The service, which offers a limited catalog of independent artists, has two tiers: a free tier consisting of ad-supported music streaming, a download store, and a “locker” to make playlists of up to 100 songs; and a premium $10 AUD (~$7.40 US) per month option which gives users ad-free access to music, and unlimited “locker space.”
As a boutique streamer featuring independent artists and the general framework that Dotcom envisioned, it’s now an entity wholly separated from the famous Internet disruptor. As Variety notes, the service doesn’t feature any of Dotcom’s prominent artist friends — or even the entrepreneur’s own music projects.
As for why Dotcom left Baboom? “The music industry hates me,” he said in a tweet. “You’d do better without me.”
— Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) October 2, 2014