Remember 2005? Hypemachine hit the freefall mp3 word online and found an early niche in organizing noise into smooth waters. It’s hard to believe they managed to sustain themselves this long without investors, (chalk it up to the times), but with streaming services and folks mostly on phones vs desktops, it actually makes sense that after 12 years the indie company Hype Machine is finally raising funds to jolt their format. Why are they relevant? You may ask as you bask at the open streaming world you bask upon, Spotify, Soundcloud, and Bandcamp are great places to find music, sure, but Hype Machine still uniquely pools together writers. It’s a community of the best local writers writing about that amazing solo no one heard at a place no one was at (except the few that were) it’s about the depressed bedroom artist bleeding this song for you who’s going to know it’s all right because that’s what music does for people, it’s about us lifting each other up, Hype Machine does that without being loud or bulky about it, they simply push us to push each other, that’s what the rest can’t do quite like they do.
Official Statement by their founders and the place you can help is here
How did we get here?
Hype Machine was built in a college dorm room in 2005, and over the years has grown into a dedicated community of music fans. We are a team of three—an independent company without investors or funding. Most of our revenue comes from ads on the desktop site, but due to changes in online advertising, this is no longer enough to support the service.
We’ve been amplifying the work of emerging musicians, writers, and communities for the last 12 years. Remaining independent has allowed us to make the kind of product we want to use ourselves: focused, playful, and in line with our ideas about what’s ethical. (We don’t collect or sell user data or emails, for example.)
What does Hype Machine do?
Hype Machine tracks music that people are talking about. We index hundreds of publications, handpicked as trusted voices in the global conversation about music. Our thinking is that if one of them liked something enough to write about it, it’s worth a listen.
Every track indexed ends up on the Latest page, whether it’s published by a site with 20,000 followers or 20. Listen and you might stumble into your new favorite song, a style of music you hadn’t heard before, or an artist that was way off your radar.
Music is more accessible now than ever before thanks to streaming services. That’s great! We use them too. What makes Hype Machine unique is how we approach discovery—finding new and unfamiliar sounds through the lens of the writers in our index. Because sometimes, the most exciting stuff is just outside our listening habits.
How did it start?
In 2005, music discussion was dominated by a handful of large print magazines. Blogs emerged to cover a broader range of music beyond the top commercial releases of the day, spreading the conversation across thousands of sites.
Hype Machine brought all these posts together in one place for easy streaming. Built as a personal project, it quickly caught on with curious listeners. The following year, Anthony bought the hypem.com domain, moved Hype Machine from the server it shared with his collection of Godspeed You! Black Emperor concert photos, and increased capacity for our growing audience.
We’re grateful that Hype Machine has been able to reach so many people over the years. It may seem like a large company from the outside, but it’s just the three of us sitting around a kitchen table, answering emails and writing code.
Why are we raising money?
As music experiences on the internet have become more centralized, powered by a handful of large services, they’ve also become more alike. Today, a listener’s choice is between minor interface and catalog differences—a narrow way of interacting with a key part of contemporary culture. We think that people deserve a multitude of ways of experiencing music, and we’d like to build more of them with your support and feedback.
Crowdfunding is our sole option—online advertising only works well at immense scale (while introducing complex privacy issues), and venture capital prioritizes returns over sustainability.
Your monthly contribution will allow us to keep Hype Machine running, but most importantly, continue creating ways to explore new music. We’ve been thinking about these ideas for many years, and we’re ready to try more of them out with you.
Let’s build it together.
—Dave, Zoya, and Anthony