David RD Gratton

A Very Soft Launch

September 19, 2005

As many of you know, I have a number of opinions on the music industry. And mostly I have been ranting about music labels, DRM, and how we discover new music. Someone once told me that if you don't like something, do something about it or shut-up. Well, I haven't kept very quiet, so here is what I (and many others) plan to do about it. We have launched a definite work in progress called: Project Opus™.

We have two goals:
1. For artists: Get Heard. Get Connected. Get Paid.
2. For fans: Find. Your. Music.

As with a musical Opus, our Project Opus has four movements or phases. We have just concluded phase 1 - and are presently doing major tweaks to it. This is only the first step - a relatively small one actually.

Some important points:

  1. We play nice. We do not expect nor are we trying to be the dominant music service. We think that is impossible, rather we want to work with and interoperate with as many music services and providers as possible.

  2. A new music ecosystem is emerging and we want everyone who cares about music to be a part of it. We don't have all the answers right now - I don't expect anyone does. So we are exposing our project as soon as possible to get feedback, to get help, to find other like minded individuals and services, and to get advice. We expect that by listening closely to fans and musicians, we will move in the right direction.

  3. There are bugs and usability issues. Use the site at your own risk!

  4. The project is focused on discovering content within the long tail. Chris Anderson, I know you told me that we needed to address the head if we are to help the tail, and I know you are right. But for phase 1 all you get is "search". You can "Search the Web" for all your favorite artists, and get links to purchase from either iTunes or MSN Music. And depending on your search you might get a recommendation to a lesser known artist from Project Opus. We have much bigger plans for phase 2.

  5. There is a dearth of content at the moment. Mostly because we have discovered our first big usability issue. It's a pain to upload, as Seb so accurately pointed out it would be. Artists, please be patient, we are working on it. And for all of you who have sent me CDs, sorry I am not any faster at this. We definitely mucked this piece up. We obviously need to contact Nathan R. Yergler to develop a nifty upload tool like Our Media's. So Nathan, what you up to?

  6. We are planning to offer Ogg Vorbis, as per Lucas Gonze's request, and as per our mission to be open, but it's on a short term hold see point 5 above.

  7. The events and regions mod is very cool, check them out.

  8. We developed the site in Drupal, and are planning to release a number of mods back to the community, once we get ourselves sorted out.

  9. There are many more points, but i will save them for now. Go check out Project Opus, and let us know what you think, and help us make it better.

We would like to thank the following individuals for joining our advisory board:
Barry Carlson
Tom Keenlyside
Seb Paquet
Lucas Gonze
James Swanson

A few more advisors are pending, and we will announce them once confirmed.

A special thanks to Kris Krug for letting the cat out of the bag a week early. ;)