Invenio Music L.L.C. is hoping to become the “next big thing” by combining American Idol and YouTube.
The website, which launched in June and was co-founded by entrepreneur Dan Kupper, is a platform for web users to discover up-and-coming musicians and listen to newly released music.
Kupper, who lives in Fairfield, said he came up with the idea after watching shows like NBCUniversal’s The Voice and Fox Broadcasting Co.’s The X Factor, and becoming addicted to YouTube videos of what he described as “bedroom” musicians, or those who perform cover songs in their own homes and post them to the web.
“I became obsessed with listening to artists that were unknown and unheard of,” Kupper said. “They’re not hard to find but it takes a lot of time and research.”
Kupper created the site with Adam Lanza, a classmate from Trinity College in Hartford, about a year ago. The co-founders are actively seeking investors.
A handful of musicians have become famous after being discovered on YouTube – Justin Bieber, for instance – but it can be hard to pinpoint talented musicians when surfing YouTube and similar sites, Kupper said.
In launching Invenio, Kupper said he hopes the site will become “the Facebook of music,” where users can find new music online and vote for their favorite musicians through the site’s ongoing competitions. He also hopes it will be a place where talent scouts will go to find new artists.
Since going live in June, the site has 1,000 active users and 50 song submissions.
For its most recent original song competition, grand prize winners received $300 in cash, free studio time inNew York City, a professional evaluation and market feedback.
Kupper plans to continuously host original song competitions in addition to thematic competitions such as best DJ or cover song. It costs $10 to enter the original song competitions, otherwise it’s free to use the site and enter competitions.
Jon Ericson, lead singer of the indie rock band Echo & Drake, said it can be difficult to connect to new fans and hopes Invenio will be the solution.
Based inHartford, Echo & Drake won Invenio’s first original song competition. They’ve been named best band by the Connecticut Music Awards and number oneConnecticutalbum by the Hartford Courant in 2011.
The band has worked with Grammy-nominated mastering engineer Jeff Lipton to produce its music, but even with their successes, they still haven’t hit it big. As a result, the band often uses outlets like Invenio to reach new audiences.
“Even if you’re fortunate, like we are, we’re sort of dependent on services like this to reach out to new fans,” Ericson said. “I hope Invenio is the answer but it’s sort of a constant struggle to get your stuff heard.”
Though winning Invenio’s competition didn’t necessarily bring the band fame and fortune, Ericson said the site is a good way to connect with people who wouldn’t have otherwise heard them.
“It’s always good for us to get music out there anyway we can,” Ericson said. “The challenge is getting heard over all the other people shouting at the same time.”