Ektoplazm needs your help!
We are a team of dedicated electronic music fans on a mission to transform our successful free music blog into a next-level distribution platform for independent labels and artists. We started this crowdfunding campaign to help us realize our vision of a better world for musicians and music lovers everywhere.
What is Ektoplazm?
Ektoplazm is the world’s largest distributor of free and legal psytrance, techno, and downtempo music. The site has served up more than 6.7 million releases (approximately 30–35 million tracks) on a shoestring budget since 2007. Here’s what we offer today:
- Thousands of DRM-free lossless quality downloads (FLAC or WAV) with sensible, standardized file names, proper ID3 tags, and high-resolution album artwork—the best in the business, free or paid!
- New releases posted almost every day. This is an incredible level of service, especially considering Ektoplazm is free!
- Distribution services for independent labels and artists: we receive the raw materials and manually process, convert, tag, package, upload, distribute, and promote your music. Through years of hard work we’ve built the best distribution platform for aspiring new artists and unconventional veterans in the niche market of psychedelic electronic music.
Whether or not you are new to Ektoplazm be sure to check out A Beginner’s Guide To Ektoplazm to hear our story and download some of our all-time greatest hits and favourite albums!
Although Ektoplazm has achieved a lot so far, it is currently at a crossroads. The site has grown from a small-time music blog into a sprawling distribution portal visited by hundreds of thousands of international visitors every single year. However, our capacity to share new content and support more artists and labels has been reached; it isn’t possible to post more than we already do because of the amount of time it takes to manually process incoming releases. Hosting so much free music isn’t cheap, either: our infrastructure costs are rising rapidly and we are regularly running into technical limitations serving millions of files every month. The original service was never designed to handle this kind of growth.
In short, for Ektoplazm to grow and improve, both the site itself and the underlying concept need a major overhaul!
Ektoplazm’s many fans agree. Over the past year we’ve received a great deal of feedback from the community. You want us to forge ahead and redevelop Ektoplazm into something even better than it is today. Behind the scenes we have been working hard to come up with a sustainable model for the future of Ektoplazm...
We envision an electronic music ecosystem supporting independent labels and artists at all stages of their life cycle, from “just starting out” all the way to popular success. Currently, Ektoplazm does a great job launching new acts—but we’d also like to support our success stories as they grow. Our goal is to empower independent labels and artists with powerful tools of distribution, promotion, and fan engagement—and to provide listeners with an excellent source of high-quality, curated content from all across the spectrum of electronic music.
To realize this vision Ektoplazm will be shifting from our current donation-based model to a freemium model much like SoundCloud or Bandcamp. However, instead of charging listeners for access we plan to offer “pro” accounts with valuable features for independent labels and artists. Our job will be to create a free service that everyone will love to use—as well as some really awesome “extras” for power users. Along the way we will do our very best to ensure that everything you can get for free from Ektoplazm today continues to be free in the future. After all, we are music lovers, just like you!
With your support, we’d like to transform Ektoplazm into a next-level music distribution platform.
Taking Ektoplazm to the next level...
We are asking for $25,000+ as seed capital for development and programming work, new infrastructure (e.g. dedicated servers), manufacturing and shipping a bunch of cool perks (e.g. limited edition Ektoplazm t-shirts, finally!), and of course to pay for the campaign itself (IndieGoGo takes 4% if we are successful).
We feel that this amount can be stretched to pay for 4-6 months of development work, with our plan being to launch the new site by December 2012.
With your support we will do the following:
- Transform Ektoplazm with a completely new look and feel. Ektoplazm’s design is now about 5 years old and it shows. Time for a refresh!
- Design better release pages with individual track downloads! No longer will you need to download an entire release just to get the tracks you want.
- Develop profiles for labels and artists. Post your bios, your upcoming gigs, and interact with fans. We want to be your home on the web!
- Implement true social networking features e.g. music lovers will be able to log in, save favourites, share releases with their friends, comment, rate, make top ten lists, etc.
- Create a smart system of “crowd curation” that will push the best music to the top of the site without letting the service succumb to spam and gaming.
- Automate release submissions with a self-serve release uploader and processor, allowing more labels and artists to get involved and have their music heard. Our aim is to keep the cost of this service (if any) as low as possible so that we can continue facilitating thousands of freedownloads per release per month.
- Purchase more servers to handle the increased load, increased stability, and less downtime. This part is going to cost a lot; currently we’re spending about $300 per month and barely making it work. We’ll need entirely new infrastructure to keep up with growing demand as we move to a more self-serve model of music distribution.
- Post more free music during redevelopment. We’ve set aside part of our budget so that we can keep the music flowing while we work on the new site.
Our campaign is “all or nothing”. If we don’t meet our funding goal we don’t keep any of the money. Why? Simple. We want to be sure we can deliver on our promises. Twenty five thousand dollars may sound like a lot, but in the development world it’s not very much at all.
We feel that what we’re asking for is the absolute minimum needed to help us accomplish the goals outlined above. However, for Ektoplazm to truly succeed we would like to break this target by a wide margin. And if we do...
If we beat our funding goal, and complete the necessary development work, we aim to work on a number of extra projects, such as:
- Streaming radio: no need to download the music; tune in to one of several Ektoplazm radio channels and enjoy some of the finest sounds on the web.
- Mobile access on your phone or tablet; we want everyone to be able to access the music of Ektoplazm on the go! Imagine being able to stream music or download songs direct to your phone.
- An expanded musical scope: we’d like to feature many more styles of independent electronic music without descending into multi-genre chaos. Only follow the styles you are personally interested in!
- Automated music discovery and personal recommendations; Ektoplazm will suggest new music for you based on what you already like.
- Internationalization/translation: only about a third of Ektoplazm’s visitors browse the site in English. Another third browse in Russian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and French, and we would like to translate the site to these languages. If you can help us do this, please contact us!
- Do you have any other great ideas? Get your wish list started in the comments! We ARE listening!
A message for previous donors
If you’ve already donated to Ektoplazm we want to be sure you don’t miss out on the perks we’re offering during this campaign. Simply make a new contribution and then contact us with your IndieGoGo account name, the date and amount of your previous donation, and the e-mail address associated with your Paypal account. We’ll manually add up to $200 of your previous donation(s) to your current donation and then give you the perk for the combined total. We’d appreciate if your new donation is at least half of your previous donation since many of these perks cost us money to produce.
For example, if you’ve previously given Ektoplazm a $40 donation and want to claim the $120 perk, just donate an additional $80 and send us the info above. We’ll match up the donations and send you the $120 perk! (Note: because most previous donations have been in EUR, please convert to USD, which is what we’re using on for this campaign. You can use this tool to do so.)
Spread the word and help us out!
Even if you can’t support us monetarily, you can still help us out! Just spread the word:
- Share this campaign on Facebook and be sure to like our page: http://www.facebook.com/Ektoplazm
- Tweet in support of @Ektoplazm and follow us for updates: http://www.twitter.com/Ektoplazm
- Circle us on Google+: http://gplus.to/Ektoplazm
- Upvote us on Reddit!
- Labels and artists: give us a shout in your next newsletter or promotional blitz!
- Tell your music-loving friends all about us. We’ve prepared a beginner’s guide to Ektoplazm to introduce newcomers to the service; please pass it on!
We’re also looking for a few qualified people to join the project and help with the actual redevelopment effort. If you have experience with server configuration and management, object storage, front-end development, database design, etc., please contact us and let us know how you’d like to be involved.
Finally, keep checking this campaign for updates... we plan to continue adding new content as the month unfolds.
Thanks for stopping by!