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Baboom to launch in January with Kim Dotcom album

By | Published on Thursday 21 November 2013


Kim Dotcom’s Baboom, the direct-to-fan service formerly known at Megabox, will launch in January with the release of Dotcom’s own album, he has told Wired.

Baboom has been in development since before the shutdown of Dotcom’s original Mega business early last year, and a launch date has been regularly pushed back since around the middle of 2012. An initial video preview of the service went online in September last year, but exact details of how it will work remain slightly unclear.

Describing it as “an iTunes-Spotify hybrid” in his Wired interview, Dotcom said: “[Baboom] allows artists to sell direct to their fanbase and keep 90% of sales. On top of that we’ll be the first site that offers a solution for artists to make money even when we offer music for free”.

It’s worth noting that giving 90% of revenues to artists is not quite as revolutionary as he makes out – direct-to-fan platform Bandcamp, for example, only takes a 15% cut of sales up to $5000, before dropping to 10%. His service is also not the first ad-funded free download set up – SpiralFrog and the original We7 both attempted it with little success, albeit, in a different form to Baboom.

Explaining how the ad funded element of the platform would work, he continued: “Users can install a little plug-in that replaces the ads you’d normally see on the internet with ones that we control through our ad network. Just as advertisers go to AdWords to buy ads from Google for certain search terms, they’ll be able to come to us and buy these ads at half the price and still have ads shown against the same keywords. And 100% of the money is credited to the user, who can spend it on music. It’s basically rewarding the user for the ad impressions that they are exposed to every day. We estimate that users will be able to buy around ten additional albums each year without charge”.

Which is an interesting idea, and might help Dotcom win some friends in the artist community (it could happen, you don’t know). Though if, as it sort of sounds, Baboom will force its ads into slots where other firm’s advertising would normally appear, well that could result in a whole new load of conflict for the Mega man.

We’ll find out exactly how the service works in January, when it will be demonstrated and tested with the release of Dotcom’s own debut album, ‘Good Times’, before a full launch “a few months later”.

Asked why he’s recorded an album, Dotcom said that he “wanted to understand what an artist goes through to make a record”, adding: “I’ve been working on it for two years and back in the studio for the last three months. It’s really hard to make an album. I have a lot of appreciation of the hard work it takes artists to go from an initial idea, putting it together in ProTools, then getting it mixed and mastered. Most people listen to tracks that last three to four minutes and don’t realise that it’s sometimes one-and-a-half to two months of work per song”.

Not musical himself, Dotcom acted more as a producer in the traditional sense, offering guidance and ideas (“It’s basically like what the Black Eyed Peas do”, he said of the sound of the record) to people who then did the donkey work. He did have some musical input though: “I did some vocals as well on three or four songs, but I sound like crap, obviously. Fortunately there’s a thing called AutoTune so they make it sound OK”.

Read the full interview here.