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Earbits Service Shuts Down
"If today's streaming companies truly care about the creators of their product, they're going to have to do more than talk about wanting to drive more value"
By Eric de Fontenay (Founder & Publisher)
(more articles from this author)
2014-06-17
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I received the following email from Joey Flores, CEO of Earbits, on its demise that I wanted to share with readers:

It is with heavy hearts that we must announce the shutting down of the Earbits service on June 16th.

Shutting down a company after 4.5 years is going to be painful for anybody but is particularly painful for us here at Earbits. Most startups validate over the course of a few years that their concept is inherently flawed, or that the economics of it would not work out at scale. For Earbits, nothing could be further from the truth. We proved to ourselves and a substantial number of artists and listeners that our concept does work, that our vision is what the industry and larger streaming providers need to be doing in order to create more value, but that we simply needed a lot more capital to pursue such an aggressive mission properly. In trying to build a digital media, two sided marketplace in an already tough industry, it appears we bit off more than we could chew.

That being said, for over four years our team worked tirelessly toward the goal of turning streaming music into a true creator of value for the content community. By showcasing features that allowed our listeners to connect with our artists, we generated for them hundreds of thousands of new mailing list signups and Facebook fans across a relatively small audience. The revenue and other value that our partners generated from these new connections was often ten or twenty times higher than what they receive from ad-supported royalties on major services, and it provides concrete evidence that there is more streaming companies can do to provide the content community with a return for their hard work.

If there is anything that we want to impart on the industry about our experience it's this. If today's streaming companies truly care about the creators of their product, they're going to have to do more than talk about wanting to drive more value. It takes ingenuity and sacrifice to change an industry like the one we are all so passionate about. At Earbits, we have helped to shine a light on new and innovative ways that streaming can bring value to artists and content owners, and to provide an example of the sort of short term sacrifices it takes to begin to truly solve this problem. Though we are hopeful about the future of streaming, two things are clear to us through our conversations throughout the industry. Most companies understand that the types of solutions we built at Earbits are an inevitability for any successful and sustainable streaming provider, but those companies are just not prepared to make those sacrifices today.

We want to take an opportunity to thank every supporter, listener, artist, label and even naysayer who helped to shape the Earbits journey since we started the company in 2010. And more than anything, we want to thank our team and investors who took this risk alongside us. All of you helped us to accomplish more than anyone thought possible and our team is eternally grateful to have been given the chance to pursue this vision and impact artists and music lovers for four great years.

We hope that the connections we enabled between music lovers and our artists will continue long after the Earbits service is gone, so we encourage our listeners to take the next few days to note the bands and songs they bookmarked on the Earbits service.

As we have done from day one, we want to do right by our artists and label partners. All artists or labels who purchased Earbits marketing services can request a pro-rated refund by emailing our client services team by June 18th. More instructions are being sent to paying clients directly.


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