About The Site
Rkstar... summary style!
Rkstar (pronounced "rock star") is, in short, a online music zine covering the capital district of New York and the national music scenes, targeting teens and young adults. The music is varied from rock to folk to ska to hip-hop.
Originally created in 1996 under a different name for the purpose of using the internet to promote great new, but underplayed, music... we're sticking to our roots today with a strong focus on the bands who deserve more recognition than they're given. We've also added the use of real-time media (hundreds of audio and video clips) to help the readers to better get a feel of the musicians and their music. We also keep the site entirely free to reach as wide of an audience as possible. The site tries to keep everything fun and relaxed while occasionally adding in a political point of view where needed.
THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY
Every band to make it big was a local band at some point in time. Based in the capital district, we're really familiar with the local music scene; and frankly, there are dozens of bands and musicians who are better than most of the commercially successful acts that get regular radio and MTV play. In recognition of this, local music plays a big part of the site, helping music fans everywhere become aware of these great but generally unknown bands.
THE BUSINESS THEORY
Something I've learned over the years about local success can be taken from business theory. To be a successful scene, you really don't want bands competing with each other for fans, but rather supporting each other... even if it's not at all beneficial to themselves. Say Band A is a pop rock band, and a member has a friend whose really into ska but not pop rock. The member could say "that's too bad you're not into our music, but check out Band B... who are a great local ska band". And Band B would do the same for Band A. That would be great if that scenario came up all the time, but it really doesn't. What Rkstar intends to do is become a giant recommendation pool. Local bands can gain votes by getting their fans to sign up, and in turn, the site introduces those fans to all the other bands on the list. And vice versa, that band will be introduced to every other local band who gets their fans to sign up. A similar theory applies to the Reader's Choice singles chart which has more of an emphasis on national acts. It's goal is to introduce people to the new music on the list. A lot of people want to just vote for the one song of the band their fans of and vote everything else down. But what happens when every song has one vote up for every twenty down? The list dissolves and no one listens to the new music. So now you have to vote close to the same number up as down, and there's sound samples of every song so you know exactly what you're voting for. That way people become familiar with the new music and often find a new band they really like.
HOW DOES THE SITE MAKE MONEY?
Rkstar is inherently non-profit, with the sole purpose of benefiting and promoting the local and national music scenes. All the money and time needed to keep the site running (which is a lot) is provided for free by myself to keep the site as non-biased as possible. I do however need to make a living... so to help with the costs, I use the site for name recognition and as a portfolio of my work for hire (web design, graphic design, video editing, compression, and more). So if you or anyone you know could use these services, please get in touch with me about it. But don't worry- income or not, the site is going to keep running and keep growing (just maybe not as fast).
As with any long-running independent site, we've undergone plenty of changes over the years. Here's a quick run-down. Debuted Jan. '96 as "Dan's Top Ten List" to change it's name the following month to "Belle's Underground Market", or "BUM"... and managed to not get too much hassle from BUM Equipment. The site featured a local page which listed upcoming concerts, and local band and resources links. In January of 2000 the site changed over to BUMrock with a greater focus on reader involvement. And in May of 2001, BUMlocal started rocking the capital district as a site of it's own. In March of '04, BUMrock and BUMlocal merged to form Rkstar. The name was chosen for several reasons: 1) The term "rock star" has a lot of positive connotations to it, and I want the site to have a strong focus on positivity. 2) It's kind of a fun play on a newspaper name, like "The Daily Star", and the site is also a publication. 3) Rkstar instead of Rockstar because I wanted a unique name, and I prefer to keep the domain name and URL's as short as possible. and 4) It's fun to say!
Long story short- Capital District based massive music zine!
(The music capital of the world)