OurStage Act Gaining Partnership Audience Amid Economic Downturn

8/3/09

Chelmsford, MA-based OurStage, which runs monthly contests where bands upload their music and videos to its website to compete for cash and other prizes, is among a number of Web startups in the Boston area that cater to music fans and bands. But the company has also managed to attract a paying corporate audience—providing a needed financial boost during the economic recession, CEO Ben Campbell tells Xconomy.

Before the economic meltdown began last September, OurStage had $6 million worth of investment commitments for its second round of financing, Campbell says. But all of those commitments had vanished by October 2008, when investors pulled out amid concerns about the ailing economy. To stay in business, the firm shrank its staff from 38 to 17 people. It also adjusted its strategy to generate more visibility among music fans—not to mention cash flow—through sponsorships and other partnerships with large corporations.

OurStage now has 18 employees and has scraped together $4 million of the $6 million it seeks for its Series B round of equity financing. It names among its corporate sponsors or partners AOL Music, MTV2, JetBlue, and Radio One. (In July, we reported the first $3 million the firm raised in the round. It has now raised $21 million altogether from a combination of angel investors and other backers.) These big names and others have paid OurStage to sponsor the firm’s musical contests, which enable fans to have a say in who becomes the next big stars and gives the sponsors like MTV some insight into which talents will catch on with their target audiences.

Though there’s no shortage of online venues that allow listeners to pick and listen to musical acts they enjoy most, OurStage is worth noting as a local firm that has generated revenue (and perhaps someday profits) from this type of service. The company, which got its start in 2007 to focus on bringing online listeners the best new music and talents, is moving ahead with several approaches to make the site a moneymaker.

“Our approach is to partner with as many [industry] giants as possible,” Campbell says.

This approach serves the company on at least a couple of fronts, according to Campbell. In July, the startup ran separate fan-judged contests sponsored by MTV2 and Radio One. The contests not only generated sponsorship revenue, but both companies promoted the contests to their own viewers and listeners, helping to send more than 3.5 million unique visitors to OurStage.com for the month. Campbell says that the number of visitors to the site has a direct impact on how much money it receives from sponsors and advertisers. And though the company had a good traffic month in July, Campbell says that he won’t be satisfied that his company’s site is reaching a mainstream audience until the audience hits 10 million unique visitors per month.

In addition to sponsorships and advertisements, OurStage is developing two other means of generating revenue: … Next Page »

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  • http://www.ourstage.com/search?search=greg+bertinelli Greg Bertinelli

    Ourstage has a knack of pulling songs without notifying the artist. Here is a song called Ourstage Pulls It, written about such an ordeal!

    http://www.ourstage.com/play/track/QBEVBSLDANEQ-ourstage-pulls-it

    video is here!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2f6rZLJeqs&feature=email

  • http://www.winterband.com Steve Winter

    AOL’s Ourstage has deleted the WinterBand fan page on behalf of a handful of people who didn’t like what we teach and filed frivolous “complaints”

    Details and documentation are available at:

    http://www.ourstage.ws

    What has happened is outrageous religious censorship and discrimination.
    Whether you love us or hate us consider the precedent that this situation establishes.

    This is not about religion, but about the corruption at Ourstage. If they lied about us can you trust them about the voting?

    If anyone you know is investing time and effort building a presence and network of connections on Ourstage you owe it to them to make them aware of what is going on.

    Bro Steve Winter

  • Liz O’Connel

    Seems like a lot of these issues would be addressed in the FAQs http://www.ourstage.com/about/faqs also they do have people answering questions at http://www.ourstage.com/contact/community.

  • http://www.winterband.com Steve Winter

    Just do a Google search for the phrase “Ourstage corruption”