By Kane Power (@ElHeavio)
Among the plethora of ‘next big online music hub’ start-ups this year is a company that promises to ‘stand out from the crowd’; Stereotribes. A kind of Kickstarter/Bandcamp crossover, Stereotribes caters for artists or anyone with an even slightly music related project, providing a central site for media and integrated crowd-funding capabilities.
I was invited along to the beta website launch on Friday night and I’ve got to be totally honest, my first impression was along the lines of ‘Oh, another way to rinse desperate musicians of money’. The website and PR campaign reek of corporate douchery, buzzwords and tired slogans, targeted at vulnerable youngsters who will try anything for a leg-up in a brutal industry. But free drinks and the promise of an acoustic set from Glen Matlock convinced me it might be a good start to my weekend.
On arrival the drinks weren’t free (yet) and Mr Matlock wasn’t on until 10pm, so the urge to bail was strong, but I had an interview scheduled with Stereotribes founder Travers and so we held on, reading product brochures and sceptically glancing around the room like sceptical sceptics.
Travers surprised me in that he appeared to be a very genuine and passionate guy, maybe not such a strange thing in hindsight, but he was in contrast to the online image of Stereotribes, and my preconceived prejudice of exploitative music companies.
The idea for Stereotribes sprung from a passionate musician whose desire for an inspired, inclusive online arts community has combined with his business savvy resume. Travers views broad economies and social demographics as temporary tribal movements, sharing common connections with a style or art form and banding together to see that commonality become something tangible and real. It’s the power of these movements that he says Stereotribes hopes to harness, and provide a platform for the realisation of individual inspiration, funded by a community ethos.
Stereotribes’ aim is to provide a platform where crowd-funding and social economies combine to support each other in a sustainable environment. According to Travers “self sustainability for musicians and music innovators” is the ultimate goal, and I believe him. At this point Stereotribes has no investors and is entirely self-funded by Travers. He says this gives him “mobility to listen to the people he serves”, and he highlights the lack of outside influence as a way to ensure the purity of his vision isn’t compromised by investors, so that the platform remains ethos-led.
The overly glossy exterior of Stereotribes was exposed as an honest guy with focused desire for change, perhaps with too much PR and marketing. Maybe it‘s just the jaded musician in me, but the corporate sheen that makes Stereotribes appear fake to my eyes might prove its legitimacy to others. In truth, Stereotribes is a community oriented website that provides the platform and support for artists to create art. It’s not a one-stop-fund-me-shop, it’s a continual process for artists to affect progress and quite possibly make a living through connecting with like-minded audiences. Stereotribes is not just another way to rinse musicians, it’s the opposite, and I’m glad to have been proven wrong.