NoiseTrade offers artists a web spot for them to showcase their music, and fans can listen to the music and even download entire albums for free. Artists are welcome to sign up and set up their page, even create their own widget which can be added to any online venue they may have. Fans don't sign up -they simply start enjoying the great music on NoiseTrade instantly.
Noistrade is a brilliant idea for both artists and fans alike. During a time when it would be easy to argue how the music industry as we know it is in a state of crisis, it's comforting knowing there are sites/companies out there thinking slightly outside the box, looking at new and innovative ideas to help the humble 'struggling' musician.
The concept here is simple. If you're a musician, you create a free account and upload your music. If you're a fan, you simply peruse the site and download any of the music that takes your fancy, FOR FREE!!! Fans don't even need to sign up or create an account. To receive the music they simply type in their email address and postcode and wait for the download link to land in their inbox.
The main incentive here for the artists, who are essentially giving away their music for free, is viral promotion via their new and ever growing fan base. Even for all the people out there who aren't familiar with Noisetrade, the site has been created in such a way that it's easy for existing users to utilise Facebook and Twitter to 'like' and 'tweet' about newly found acts, ultimately putting their names into a much larger public realm.
Navigating this site is simple. Once on a particular artists page there are various options available. You can listen to the music on offer directly by streaming it straight from the page or fill in the small data capture fields underneath to receive the music as a download from your personal email account. There is also information about the artist and a 'For Fans of' section that lists other artists that they feel are in a similar vein to the one currently on display.
The other main facet of this page worth mentioning is the 'Tips' section. Basically there is a slider that can be moved between one dollar and one hundred dollars. This gives the 'fan' the option to contribute some money towards the artist and their development. Apparently twenty percent off this 'tip' is kept by Noisetrade to cover their 'operating costs' such as development, bandwidth and support. This seems relatively fair considering the amount of help the site is potentially giving the musicians. Twenty percent less of something is much better than one hundred percent of nothing.
Just below the 'tips' section, in very bold text, are the words 'Help promote this artist by telling your friends via' followed by large buttons linking to 'Facebook', 'Twitter' and 'email'; the perfect way to help promote the artist.
At the time of writing this review, Noisetrade is offering a download of a 30-song sampler of musicians on the site, purely for 'liking' the site on Facebook; Another nice touch that gives the user a taste of what's on offer.
My only criticism regarding the functionality of the site is connected to the way the artists are listed. Unless I've totally missed it, there doesn't appear to be any way of simply viewing an alphabetical list of all the artists on the site. It's all very well having the ability to search by artists name etc but what happens if you just want to peruse the artists on offer at random?
The design and layout of 'Noisetrade' is superb. Cool greys combined with bold accents of orange give the site a great feeling of contemporary appeal. The logo is simple in it's bold uppercase, sans seriffed font, yet remains memorable; not an easy feat to achieve from a design point of view. There isn't an awful lot more I can say here other than big respect to the sites designers/developers for coming up with a great looking site.
On the 'Learn More' page of the site the opening statement reads: 'Fans get free music. Artists connect with new fans. Everybody wins.'. In short, this sums up the site perfectly, it literally works for everyone making it a serious force to be reckoned with.
I guess a slight downside to Noisetrade, is the lack of 'quality control' but then again music is abut self expression and just because I might not like something, doesn't mean that someone else might not love it. Ultimately, if someone doesn't like what they hear, they don't have to listen to it or promote it; the 'good' musicians will be the ones that prosper in the long run.
Noisetrade is a seriously good website and I hope their popularity spreads because it certainly deserves to!