There is a new way to discover independent music (Indy music) on the Mac: Change.TV has announced the release of a beta Mac client for its Indy custom radio service. Indy is a unique concept that is designed to allow users not to buy new music, but to simply discover new music, and itis free.
Indy has a playback only interface that streams music on Indyis network direct to your Mac. In addition, it offers a way for you to rate anything you hear with a 1-5 star rating. The network then uses a collaborative filtering system that identifies the music you like, adjusting what it sends you accordingly.
At the same time, everything you rate is automatically saved to your hard drive as an MP3 file with meta tags that you can then add to iTunes, or any other music player. Perhaps more importantly, all of this music has been released on the Web for free, meaning that keeping it isnit stealing.
"All music on Indy has been made freely available on the web by artists," said Indyis FAQ. "When Indy downloads music, it comes directly from the artistis website, and you can visit that website by clicking on the title of the track in Indyis user interface."
In the age of the Internet, one aspect of the music industry that has drastically shifted is how people discover new music. In the past, radio was a primary vehicle for such discovery, along with friends sharing music with each other.
Today, the P2P networks have taken on some of both roles, though much of what is traded is pirated. Services like Appleis iTunes Music Store have also striven to meet this need by allowing users and artists to post playlists, posting top 40 rankings, and other such features, but nothing has risen to truly replace the power that radio once had.
Indy, however, gives independent music fans and artists alike a prime vehicle for finding each other. While some major label artists have seen file sharing as a threat to their revenue stream, more nimble, up and coming bands have been using the Internet to reach out to new fans who then come to their shows, buy their paraphernalia, and even buy their CDs.
Indy democratizes that process even further by allowing the music to come to the listener without the listener having to know where to go to find music they didnit know about in the first place, just like radio used to.
This has enormous implications for unsigned bands and acts on independent labels who donit have the commercial distribution reach of the majors. Should Indy prove popular enough, it could also facilitate independent acts making their way more quickly onto services such as iTunes, where Apple is still working to develop its independent offerings.
In an hour of running the service, we found a broad range of music in terms of style, recording quality, and musicianship, with the bulk of it being professional.
The Indy beta client for Mac is a 463KB download directly off the Indy.TV home page.