Big Billy Clark, an A & R executive for Interscope Records and a seasoned music industry professional who has worked at Def Jam and Atlantic Records, recently launched the beta version of Musicolio, a new music social networking site.
Users create a profile specifying their music industry expertise, with a broad range of options to choose from: everything from acoustic guitarists and singers, to entertainment royalty accountants and bodyguards, even more obscure musical skills like Uillean piping and Bouzouki playing.
“That’s why the site was created, ” Clark noted. “Artists travel and are always looking for people in each city for video shoots, live tapings, etc. They want to be able to find dancers, choreograhers, rappers, singers, stylists, make-up artists, roadies.”
But why the Uillean piper feature? Apparently, Clark’s idea for the site came about when he working with Christina Milian on her top five hit, “Dip it Low.” Clark was searching for a player to reproduce the song’s plinking intro, featuring an unusual, far-East sounding string instrument, and was unable to find a single person who could recreate the sound.
“We called every musician we knew who put bands together,” Clark said. Ultimately they found a man who owned the instrument Clark believes was a sitar…but he couldn’t play it.
As someone who’s spent many a fruitless hour sifting through Craigslist’s musicians forum, discovering that the “Super skilled shredding guitarist” is a 13 year sitting in his garage without a guitar, or that the “Super awesome shredding guitarist” is actually a 63 year old sitting in his garage who can only play Black Sabbath covers, I can understand the frustration of endlessly searching for the wrong player. It’d be nice if the process of networking through the Internet was a little more streamlined.
Thankfully, Musicolio has thought of that too. Rather than a free-for-all, open-to-the-public admission process like business-oriented LinkedIn, or everything-oriented Craigslist, each Musicolio applicant is screened for quality control.
“In order to be a member of Musicolio, you must be approved,” Clark explains. “We did not want Musicolio to become a site that had fake accounts, people spamming or harassing other members. Everyone on the site is professional, and about business.”
The application process requires submissions of sample work (or, at the very least a detailed essay describing their experience) to back up their chops.
Taking its cue from such specialized networking sites like Model Mayhem (which is geared specifically to the modeling industry) Musicolio intends to provide greater opportunity specifically to the music industry.
“There are numerous major record label execs on the site, and they post projects or artists they may be in search of,” says Clark. “I always get e-mailed by various label execs asking me if we have specific types of artists on the site or specific musicians to tour with artists. There is an endless amount of opportunities for those who utilize the site properly.”
As the site is still in beta-mode, the amount of posts on the forum and registered professionals is still a bit sparse. But with big name talent like Babyface reportedly using the site as a platform to find new talent, it seems like Musicolio could prove to be a useful resource for musicians in the future. (And let’s not forget superstar Tay Zonday of “Chocolate Rain” fame contributed their theme song!)
“The goal for the site is to become THE easiest way for people wanting to connect, collaborate, find work or find talent to to so,” says Clark.
“Music is a love we all have, and a lot of of want to make music our careers. It was the driving force in me traveling an hour every single day to Def Jam to intern for free…it was the driving force in me putting up with a business that is relentless and hard to make connections in.”
Personally, I’m excited about the prospect of someone else screening talent for me, before I engage in more shot-in-the-dark talent searches that result in guys who think they might own the right instrument I need….but can’t play it.