A while back, I signed up on BzzAgent. They don't pay anything, although they do send out samples from time to time. I signed up to help me discover new sites to write about on my blog. This week, I explored my first BzzAgent find, a music site called OurStage.
The basis of OurStage is voting. If you are an artist, you upload your songs and videos to be voted on by other users. If you are a fan, you enter a judging area and pick the genre of music you fancy. Then you listen to two tracks and vote on which one you liked better. The votes from all the users are compiled for a monthly Top 10 chart in each genre. These rankings are also used to pick winners for various artist contests. OurStage is in partnership with AOL Music, so these are not lame contests. There is a monthly $5,000 prize for the top artist across all genres, as well as performance slots and mentoring sessions being given away.
Although fans create the rankings and can make playlists of their favorites songs, OurStage really seems to be aimed at the artist. Unlike MySpace, the site mentioned most often when it comes to acts marketing themselves online, OurStage has tools to help them. Besides creating a profile page, artists can put together an electronic press kit to send out to venues and try to get gigs through the OurStage Marketplace. If I were a musician, I would give this site a shot, at least as one spoke in my marketing wheel.
As for what non-musicians get out of it, I'm not sure. I'm not the treasure-hunting type, so I didn't particularly enjoy voting on songs. However, I did like listening to music from the Top 10 charts. I guess I like at least a little sifting before I pick my favorites :-). If you are like my sister who can find the one gem among the trash at a flea market, then you will enjoy finding undiscovered artists on OurStage.