Even though the rest of the web has moved on from Myspace the site is still the go-to network for a great many musicians, maintaining relevancy with bands that use it to easily track fans, set up (and publicize shows) and host music, photos and news in a single place. The problem is that, as so many superior social networks have been set up, Myspace has become dated and lost its appeal for the general public. A new service, the recently launched Headliner.fm looks to reinvent music-based social networking by streamlining Myspace’s best ideas and combining these with great, original features.
The premise of Headliner.fm is simple: help artists get in touch with each other so they can more easily form networks and share fans. While this sounds like it shouldn’t be anything revolutionary, as someone who plays in a band, it’s an extremely welcome tool that should, if properly advertised, become a mainstay for indie artists seeking to promote their work.
Headliner comes equipped with many useful features. The meat and potatoes of the service — getting an artist heard by networking with similar musicians — is handled through integrated linking to social mainstays like Twitter, Facebook and, yes, Myspace. By taking advantage of a Hootsuite-styled posting system, Headliner users are able to queue up news and releases, allowing for timely promotional announcements of shows, fresh material and more. Artists have to approve of one another’s posts as well, meaning that it’s in the best interest of Headliner.fm members to filter out unnecessary, spammish messaging in order to keep their profile attractive enough for potential listeners to pay continued attention to.
The entire system runs on the virtual currency of “Band Bucks”, a kind of points system that rewards interconnecting with others. Band Bucks are earned by helping to promote other artists and can be spent on asking others to spread a message in turn. This system is a simple but intelligent way to keep the whole network under control while providing ample reward for artists who invest time and energy in getting the most out of the service. Combined with in-depth analytics that allow users to monitor how their music is being received (for instance, checking the number of times their songs have been re-posted on Facebook walls), handled through a deal between Headliner and SoundCloud, the site seems to have thought of most everything that aspiring artists could want from a new social network.
Such a sound foundation makes Headliner.fm well worth paying attention to for both casual audiences and musicians. The ability to so easily discover and/or network with similar acts while simultaneously promoting music is something that hasn’t been properly offered by another social network to date — and this may be all that Headliner needs in order to become popular. We’ll have to wait and see how the site develops over the coming months in order to really say whether or not it’s a success (initial user figures look promising) but, if nothing else, the concept and execution is exciting enough to already deserve praise.