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Aussie music gets cranking

New user driven music site gives the Australian music community a chance to support local acts.

New user driven music site gives the Australian music community a chance to support local acts.

It's become a trend to make music interactive by letting the public decide what they hear and who becomes popular -- take Australian Idol for example or BigPond's "Band on demand" initiative where anyone can vote (via SMS or the web site) to decide which band will play a free concert. Well they keep on coming, though here's one with a bit of a twist.

The recently launched OzSoundCheck is an online community where unsigned Australian music acts can gain free exposure and receive feedback from fans. Artists create their own profile, upload their songs (in MP3 format) and photos, list gigs and wait to be judged.

Non-musical users must register in order to vote, which is called "cranking" and is done in a similar style to the user driven social content website Digg.com where you "digg" stories that you like in order to promote them. Unlike Digg however, once you've "cranked" an artist or song, there is no way to "uncrank" them which may be annoying if you change your mind or hit the "Crank it!" button accidentally.

According to the forums, the "next stage of the Cranking system" is about to be released, which "will see a whole lot more functionality" and "really flesh out the Cranking system and give everyone a detailed look at how each artist is tracking over time".

The Top Cranking (most popular) songs and artists are given more exposure by being displayed prominently on the home page. Sydney-based outfit Ruby Love Rocks (RLR) have recently joined the OzSoundCheck community and are already members of MySpace Music. When asked what made them join yet another user driven online music site, RLR's Glenn Urquhart told CNET.com.au "It's immediate. We like that as soon as you register they throw you on the homepage so people know you're new and can check you out."

In comparison to MySpace Music, RLR say it's great that you can see how popular your music is in relation to other acts whereas the only indication on the MySpace site is through fans leaving comments and "friend requests". And because it's a site for Australian artists you get local exposure so that gigs are likely to be more accessible to the people who enjoy your music.

Besides offering artist info, images and streaming MP3s, the site also lists Australian music news, a gig guide of registered artists' upcoming shows and forums. As a new site, it's hard to tell whether people will take to "cranking", but if sites such as MySpace Music (although there is no way to vote there -- yet) are anything to go by, we're definitely embracing user driven content.