OurStage: A New Opening Act for AOL Music

3/5/08Follow @wroush

At Boston-based music website OurStage, independent bands can upload music and videos and compete for a monthly grand prize of $5,000, with site members voting for the winners. But perhaps just as valuable as the monthly prize is the pure exposure bands can get through the judging process, as well as the site’s non-monetary prizes, such as the chance this month to open for guitar artist Kaki King, get a mentoring session with hip-hop star Arrested Development, or play at the Dallas International Guitar Festival.

And the exposure opportunities are bound to increase, now that OurStage has inked a deal with AOL to provide streaming audio, interviews, and videos for AOL Music, which gets more page views and unique visitors than any other music site on the Web, according to traffic measurement company comScore.

“OurStage has become an important tool for artists seeking to develop the kind of grass-roots fanbase that can really launch their careers,” OurStage CEO Ben Campbell said in a statement about the agreement. “AOL’s position as the number one Web destination for music fans with over 20 million people using the site offers OurStage artists unbelievably valuable exposure. We are very pleased to have such a powerful partner that is as committed as we are to building a vibrant new arena for independent music to flourish.”

OurStage is already featured in the “Discover New Music” section of the AOL Music home page, which links to OurStage’s lists of the monthly contest winners in each music genre and of the top 10 vote-getters from the past year. Under the deal, content from some of these artists will appear directly on the AOL Music site.

As part of the deal, OurStage gave AOL’s Platform-A advertising business an exclusive right to place ads on the OurStage site. As of today the OurStage website was already sporting a badge saying “in partnership with AOL Music.”

Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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