The editors of Berkeleyside, truth to tell, are not regulars at local rocks gigs. It’s perhaps a question of age and taste, but it’s also a result of a common problem: how do you know whether you’ll like a band you’ve never heard?
We’ve now provided an answer (not to age and taste, but to unfamiliarity). Berkeleyside Radio, which launches today, plays songs only by artists who will be performing locally in the next two weeks. You can access it either through the link above or by clicking the button in the central column on our homepage.
Berkeleyside Radio comes courtesy of Berkeley startup DeliRadio, the brainchild of Wayne Skeen.
Skeen loves lots of hard-working, little-known bands plying the intersections between various rock and punk styles. But the founder of Berkeley-based independent record label Ninth Street Opus was frustrated by what he saw as a market failure.
“Lots and lots of people would like these musicians if they knew who they were,” Skeen explains. “I worked with bands day in and day out who were playing to perhaps 60 people. I thought there was a population of people who would like to know who’s playing nearby.”
Out of that conviction, Skeen launched DeliRadio last September. DeliRadio takes a different slice to the problem of promoting little-known artists. Instead of just cataloguing songs or videos, DeliRadio focuses on music listeners can hear live. So if you click, for example, on the Berkeleyside Radio station DeliRadio has created, you can hear music by bands that will perform in or around Berkeley in the next two weeks.
Unlike streaming music services like Berkeley’s MOG or Spotify with millions of songs, or Oakland-based giant Pandora, DeliRadio runs at a comparatively modest level for now. There are some 5,500 artists and 32,000 tracks in the database. But Skeen says DeliRadio is growing steadily, streaming over 30,000 tracks each week.
“It’s a drop in the ocean, but that happens to be the drop we focus on,” he said.
Most of DeliRadio’s use is through the web app, but there are iOS and Android apps available as well. There are 15 staff in Berkeley working for DeliRadio and eight programmers based in Houston. Artists can create their own accounts in about 20 minutes, and DeliRadio staff will help them create their profile pages.
Where does DeliRadio go from here?
“We want to be part of the live music ecosystem,” Skeen says. “I don’t know yet where we’ll attach ourselves to the revenue streams that take place.”
For the moment, Skeen is content to enthuse people about some of the music that’s playing near them and inspire them to go out and hear it live.
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