Today, I'm taking a look at Fairtilizer, a potential new haven for indie musicians. Fairtilizer bills itself as a "trusted filter" for new music. If you are familiar with the concept behind Digg, this is going to be really easy to understand.
Anyone can submit a song (in MP3 format) to Fairtilizer as long as they hold the rights to that song. Unlike Digg, where once you submit a story the public starts reviewing it right away, Fairtilizer requires their editorial board to review every song submission to ensure that it is good enough for the site. I am not exactly sure whether this editorial board judges songs based on their musical merit or if they are just weeding out bad quality recordings and other junk that floats in, but that is definitely an important distinction. Tracks then make their way to the front page of the site, or "The Charts" as they call it, if they have enough user votes and listens in the Upcoming section.
I am not sure whether or not Fairtilizer is attempting to take on the wildly successful MySpace Music, but it certainly does appear that they are taking a much different approach to MySpace. Although there is a profile page for people who are submitting music, it is nowhere near as robust as what MySpace Music offers. The focus is more on individual tracks and music than bands here, and that's not a bad thing.
One thing that I really like about Fairtilizer is their integration of RSS feeds. You can subscribe to a feed of tracks from all over the site. For example, if I wanted to subscribe to someone's feed of submitted tracks in iTunes, I can just grab the URL, put it in iTunes, and it will automatically grab new tracks from that person whenever they submit them.
I think that Fairtilizer has a pretty cool concept going if some people start using it, but like most Web 2.0 services, if there aren't a lot of people using it, it becomes pretty useless. It is going to be really interesting to see how Fairtilizer does in an already crowded online music market, especially with heavyweights like Last.fm, iLike and Pandora all helping people discover new music.
Lastly, I think that I have to touch on the name. It's pretty obvious that a lot of people are going to be mistaking the name "Fairtilizer" for something else. It's also hard enough to spell that I had to check myself several times throughout this review, just to make sure I didn't miss an "i" somewhere. Richard MacManus, from Read/Write Web put it in at No. 1 for his Top 10 Worst Web App Names article on Monday. I'm not sure if it is too late to consider changing the name, but...I would consider changing the name.