The independent music scene the world over has registered increased visibility in the last few years thanks to the internet and websites such as thesixtyone.com. One of the first few websites to host new and non mainstream music, thesixtyone.com acts as a space where upcoming musicians can share their music for free or a marginal sum. According to the site “thesixtyone’s guiding principle is to provide talented artists the opportunity to make a living making music.” Users can therefore purchase songs or mp3 albums uploaded by unsigned and independent artists unless they are up for download for free. The site takes its name from Highway 61, a route with deep connections to American music culture.
Once you register with the site you are given a number of “hearts” akin to Facebook ‘Likes’ that you can attribute to the thesixtyone’s innumerable songs. Patronizing interesting and popular talents also help you earn reputation points and more hearts. The best music bubbles up to the front page where you can listen to the most popular songs from any genre. In addition, listeners can earn a reputation, level up and collect badges by voting on and recommending songs others like. Quite basic and juvenile this business of heart-ing songs, but it does help separate the wheat from the chaff, giving truly brilliant musicians a chance to share their music all over the world.
Unlike other music based websites, thesixtyone focuses on all aspects of the album, paying equal attention to the music, lyrics, photographs and artist information. The site’s visually innovative and unusual interface reflects this attention to detail. Big, full screen photos of the artists with words to sing along with makes this feature heavy website a great place to discover new talent. The website has played an important role in furthering the success of many popular musicians such as Angus and Julia Stone, Matthew Mayfield, Young the Giant, James Vincent Mcmorrow, The Weepies etc whose music can be found here.