NEW YORK (AP) — The digital age virtually wiped out specialty theater record stores, where show-tune lovers could happily browse aisles bursting with cast albums and sheet music. Now some entrepreneurs are hoping to bring back such an experience — online, of course.
Monday marks the launch of BwayTunes.com, which promises to become the Internet's most comprehensive catalog of digital musical theater music.
The website will have Broadway-related songs, albums and compilations on sale, as well as better ways to search for music, a personal locker to hold all downloads, a player to listen, access to AccuRadio curated Broadway-dedicated radio channels, links to sheet music and several blogs. It will even feature music for2 shows in development.
The new, ad-supported site is the brainchild of theater marketing professional Jim Russek, an executive creative director at theater advertising agency AKA-NYC, and Erik Hartog, a Wall Street strategist. They have partnered with 7digital, a fast-growing music and content digital platform with broad licenses with record companies.
"Every time I'd go on Amazon or iTunes, what I was looking for was hidden in 25 million songs and it was a long search," said Russek, who with Hartog has spent three years on the project. The result is free-floating location for casual fans and music buffs: "As the specialty music store was on the corner of a side street in a city, we're on every street corner in America."
While he didn't want to divulge the full costs of the project, Russek said the site becomes viable if it attracts 50,000 users a year, and direct mail invites will soon be going out to 600,000 theater fans. Music prices, which are set by the record companies, are the same as in iTunes — $1.29 for many songs and $8.99 and up for albums.