Web Words
By Ken Casper

Many local artists have an Internet presence at sites like www.undergroundlou.com

and www.MP3.com

. If you visit undergroundlou.com and click on the "listen" button, you'll be directed to a live365.com Internet radio station which runs 24 hours a day. I was delighted to hear so many quality artists from Louisville and surrounding areas. The only downside to the station is that it steams lo-fi, which is sort of like AM radio, but since not everyone has broadband access to the Internet, lo-fi assures that everyone can tune in. Still, quality shines through.

Wanting to hear some of these artists hi-fi, since I have a DSL connection, I clicked on the "links" button and found an artist roster. Surprisingly, most artists have their own website. From those websites you can find pics, bios, show calendars and in some cases links to download music or links to alternate sites like Mp3.com where you can actually hear songs hi-fi or lo-fi. If I didn't find an Mp3.com link, I went to www.mp3.com

and searched for the artist I was looking for, and found quite a few. From there I was in heaven, listening to artists like Outspoken, Element H, Tornacade, Vinal, Lowerline, Superface, Key 17 and Factor IX.

Undergroundlou.com is pretty much an alternative/metal site. Their station currently has a play list of about 300 songs per week and is heard by an estimated 16,000 unique listeners per month in thirty-seven countries. Jake Wheat admittedly did not create the site to make money, but for the love of music and to promote local talent. Listings for bands and events are free, but advertising can be purchased inexpensively to defray site costs.

I visited Mp3.com in search of music by local artists because I figured I had the best chance of locating them on the largest of the Online Music Distributors (OMD's). (There are over 200,000 artists hosting their music there.) MP3.com even pays artists half a cent per play, provided the artist subscribes to the Premium Artist Service, which costs $20 a month. In order to break, even an artist needs 4,000 plays a month, or an average of 133 plays a day. Needless to say, that does not happen by just uploading some tunes and hoping for Internet success. It requires a promotional effort, but if the time and the motivation are there, an artist can walk away with a check for the effort. The Muckrakers earned over $21,000 in two years, and Crush! over $11,000. Most of that was earned in 2001, when MP3.com was splitting a $1 million pot among a much smaller number of artists. But even today, with a little promotion, an artist can rise in the charts enough to gain a measure of visibility among those 200,000 artists, and at least be seen on the local charts. Just visit any local artist with an MP3.com page, click on "info," then click on the Louisville, KY link at the bottom of the page and you'll be directed to the local chart rankings.

There are other music sites out there, and while none are near the size of MP3.com, many offer services that are not available at MP3.com. For instance, javamusic.net and ampcast.com provide means to sell redbook audio CDs, which they will produce at short-run rates. If an artist can't afford a run of 1,000 CDs for $1,500 - $2,000, ten can be ordered for as little as $60.

Here is the process for creating an Internet presence with original music. Songs must first be encoded to MP3 format, which is the industry standard for Internet music delivery. A player/encoder can be downloaded from MusicMatch.com for this purpose. The artist then visits MP3.com or another site, signs up as an artist and follows the step-by-step instructions for encoding and uploading tunes. CD cover insert artwork can also be uploaded. If the process is too daunting, just email me and I'll put you in touch with someone who can do it for a song. Well, not literally, but it won't cost an arm and a leg.

I'm dedicated to the promotion of indie music. Check out my Showcase Louisville station I've created at www.mp3.com/stations/lky

. If a local artist needs presence and is not on it, it's just because I don't know about them. Email me with an Mp3.com URL and I'll gladly add a song and spread the word.

Ken Casper is a lead vocalist/guitarist and songwriter with the band Crush! and can be contacted at

kgcasper@bellsouth.net

or through

www.mp3.com/crushrocks

or

www.mp3grammyawards.com