Friday, September 30, 2005

Happy Birthday GarageBand! Today is the six year anniversary of the domain. Not bad for a career in music, huh!? Anyway, here's a little blast from the past for all you long time fans...a screenshot of an early homepage.

and a copy of the press release. What's perhaps most remarkable is that, except for the $250K contracts, all the ideas laid out in this press release have come to fruition.

September 30, 1999

RECORD PRODUCER JERRY HARRISON (Talking Heads) JOINS FORCES WITH TECHNOLOGY PIONEER AND FORMER NETSCAPE EXECUTIVE TO LAUNCH GARAGEBAND.COM Empowers Music-Makers, Enthusiasts To Identify Best Of The Emerging Bands; Hottest Bands To Be Offered $250,000 Recording Contracts And Will Be Produced By Proven Music Industry Pros.

San Francisco, C.A. -- Sept.30, 1999 --, the only Internet site created by musicians for musicians and dedicated music fans, was officially launched today. Its goal is to identify, cultivate and sign the best of the emerging bands, especially those that too often fall beneath the radar screen because they are in towns and cities that are not media centers. Top bands will receive $250,000 recording contracts and will be matched with proven producers and other music industry professionals.

The announcement was made jointly by garageband's three co-founders: Jerry Harrison, record producer and former member of the rock band, Talking Heads; Tom Zito, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, and Dr. Amanda Lathroum Welsh, former head of research for Netcenter, a division of Netscape Communications and designer of garageband's proprietary LCE rating and review method which determines which bands will be signed.

Unlike other music websites which concentrate on the distribution and delivery of music, is focussing on the content side, that is identifying the best of the emerging musical talent based on the ratings and reviews of other musicians and avid music listeners. Said Tom Zito, Chairman and CEO of, "For most new bands out there it's virtually impossible to get through the doors of the record companies and they can't afford to give their music away on the Internet. The best of them do have hit record potential and we want to uncover these talented groups and give them a genuine shot at the success that they deserve. Because it takes talent to recognize talent, we are placing the decision-making power with those most qualified to exercise it, the music-makers themselves." is inviting aspiring musicians in rock/pop, alternative, urban/hip-hop, electronica/dance, R&B and other genres to upload their music onto the site where it will be reviewed and rated by their music peers, using's proprietary ratings engine. Bands can upload as many songs as they wish at no charge, but in order to do so, they must first review and rate at least two randomly selected and anonymously assigned tracks that have been submitted by other bands. Music lovers are also invited to be part of the intelligent process for determining which bands they want to be recorded. Bands that receive the best ratings then advance to round two for a "virtual battle of the bands."

Starting in November, and on a monthly basis beginning next year, top-rated bands will be awarded $250,000 recording contracts and be paired with top-tier record producers and other respected music industry professionals who have agreed to join's Advisory Board. In order to expose every band's music to as many qualified reviewers as possible, has designed a "Frequent Reviewer" Points program with rewards ranging from time in a world-class recording studio for bands, to VIP concert tickets for fans.

Great care has gone into designing a rating system that recognizes the quality of the music, not just the quantity of the votes, thereby eliminating the risk of "ballot box stuffing." Known as the LCE, (Lathroum Comparater Engine) this proprietary rating system was co-developed by Amanda Lathroum Welsh, Ph.D., co-founder and president of, and three of her senior engineers. The LCE system is based on a range of measurement comparisons which are designed to eliminate the bias and lack of context that can skew other comparative rating methods.

Said Jerry Harrison, whose successful career as a musician and record producer spans some thirty years and who formed his first band as a teenager in his hometown of Milwaukee, " is a groundbreaking concept in the music business because it offers every group an equal opportunity to be discovered -- not just those playing in the big cities.

"But is also about creating an Internet community for musicians so that, from across the country and around the world, they can communicate with each other and with industry professionals to help them develop their music and their careers. For the music industry, we want to be the premier A&R Internet site, both by identifying hot new artists to sign and promote and also by developing and nurturing those promising new bands that are not quite ready to head into the studio to cut their first album." has drawn together an Advisory Board for its virtual community comprising a broad range of respected music industry creatives and professionals. It currently includes Jim Dickinson (musician/producer), Dave Jerden (recording engineer), Paul Kolderie and Sean Slade (producers and mixers), Stephen Hague (producer/mixer), Ed Stasium (producer/engineer), Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley (producers), Nick Launay (producer), Tim Palmer (mixer/producer), Rick Nowels (songwriter/guitarist/producer), Dave Way (engineer/mixer), Mathew Wilder (composer/artist/producer) and Stephen Lironi (producer). Other names will be announced shortly.