Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Indie911 launches Hooka

Take a hit. Pass it on.

Online portable media store allows consumers and artists to reap financial benefits from the media they create and consume.

indie911, a leading online music and media destination for independent artists and fans, today announced the public beta launch of the hoooka. The hoooka ( ) is a personalized media store and player that enables both artists and fans to play, share, promote and sell their favorite digital media. Allowing users to instantly become their own mobile media store, the hoooka showcases playlists that can be posted anywhere online, from blogs and social networking pages to personal Web sites.

"The biggest challenge facing any new artist is finding an audience," said Justin Goldberg, founder and CEO of indie911. "We have created a cool, easy way for independent artists to spread their music and videos directly to a large audience and empower fans to share in the commercial success of marketing and selling their favorite media to family, friends and fans anywhere on the Web."

Consumer and Artist-Friendly Features The hoooka is a unique technology that combines the community and networking aspects of MySpace with the digital sale opportunities and exposure of iTunes. It was designed to give consumers and artists an easy tool to share and sell media, with the following unique features:

• Chat live across multiple social networks. For the first time, users from different social network communities can chat live through the hoooka platform regardless of what network, blog or individual Web site on which the hoooka is embedded.

• Videos. Users can populate their hoooka with music videos and feature films from the indie911 database as well as their own user generated video content and offer the media for stream or sale.

• Customizable. The hoooka can be fully customized to reflect user personality, artistic tastes or even current mood. Users are free to create as many hoookas as they want, tailor the colors and skins on the player and upload any type of media - be it pictures, videos, music or user-generated content.

• Stronger value proposition for artists, labels and consumers. Rights holders receive 80 percent of the revenue made for any song or video sold through a hoooka, while 10 percent of the revenue goes to the "hoooka owner." As most competitors offer rights holders' percentages in the 60 to 70 percent range, the hoooka offers one of the best splits in the industry.

"Media companies need to move away from their walled-gardens toward an open-platform where free commerce is enabled and embraced," said Ted Cohen, advisor to indie911, current managing director of digital media consultancy TAG Strategic and former SVP, EMI's Digital Development & Distribution. "The best digital media companies are moving quickly to take advantage of the rapidly growing online audience for music. Embracing new ways to promote artists and tools for artists to directly reach their fan base is the wave of the future."

Hoookas For Everyone Whether you're a music fan, artist, record label or promoter, the hoooka provides a cool way to discover, promote and highlight your personal favorites or top artists.

• Music fans. indie911's 100,000 members now have the ability to create and share their own hoookas with anyone anywhere. By simply selecting music or video from the online catalog, fans can begin sharing, selling and making money immediately from artists ranging from Willie Nelson to Barenaked Ladies.

• Signed and unsigned artists: Through its unique "sounds like" system, the hoooka is a great tool for discovering new, unsigned artists, as well playing favorites from major and well-known independent artists such as Cartel (Epic), The Cardigans (Nettwerk), Grace Potter & The Nocturnals (Ragged Company/Hollywood Records), Keller Williams and The String Cheese Incident (Sci Fidelity Records).

• Music festival organizers: Various event promoters have partnered with indie911 to create personalized, branded hoookas that highlight various artists performing at their festivals including:

o South by Southwest Music Conference, Austin, Texas, March 8-17. indie911's 'hoookafest' includes various events happening during the annual Austin festival, including the Afro Punk showcase and the first blogger-curated music showcase known as "The Hot Freaks." There will be over 50 individual hoookas created from various artists performing at SXSW.

o Langerado Music Festival, Sunrise, Fla., March 8-12. This jam band festival has created artist-branded hoookas for the String Cheese Incident and Tea Leaf Green.

o Winter Music Conference, Miami, Fla., March 21-24. This electronic music conference will feature hoookas celebrating the launch of new music from Tila Tequila and Sander Kleinenberg.

About indie911 indie911 is a leading online media and social network providing tools and resources for thousands of musicians, filmmakers and consumers to sell, stream or share any content (music, videos, films, or photos) anywhere online - including websites, blogs and social networks - to an ever expanding network of users. indie911 has evolved into one of the most popular independent music destinations on the Internet, featuring over 9,000 artist and labels, over 75,000 song and film titles, over 100,000 members, and nearly four million monthly page views. indie911 provides original programming, artist services program, and a social network for artists to interact directly with their audiences and find new avenues of exposure and revenue.
For more information please go to

About hoooka The hoooka is a free, portable digital locker that allows users to share, promote, sell and play their personal media favorites, via the Web. The hoooka combines the community and networking aspects of MySpace with the digital sale opportunities and exposure of iTunes. Anyone, from artists to fans, can easily create a hoooka and post it anywhere - blogs, social networking pages or Web sites - and instantly become their own mobile media store. For more information please go to

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