Clash caught up with Tom Hopkins of the pioneering download site Bleep.com and asked him the secret of his success.
When was bleep started, and what was the initial goal?
Bleep was launched by Warp Records in January 2004, the first download service to come from within the independent music sector itself. The aim was to provide high quality, DRMfree Mp3s from Warp and other associated independent labels.
How has the site developed over the last couple of years and what are the key genres you deal with now?
Our catalogue has grown steadily and we even supply content from some of the major labels these days. We’ve got loads of different stuff – post-rock, electro, indie, disco, techno, hip-hop, classical, dubstep, alt-rock, electro-acoustic…as long as the music is good the genre is not important.
How closely is Bleep’s modus operandi tied in with Warp’s?
We have a similar outlook to Warp and are run out of the same offices. But musically speaking we’re our own entity and pride ourselves on our content selection.
What sets bleep apart from other d/l sites?
We receive widespread support among online music fans for offering DRM-free MP3’s at a high bitrate (up to 320kbps) as well as files in the lossless FLAC format. We also have a
strong reputation for our editorial policy. Bleep selects labels on merit rather than making blanket deals with the biggest digital aggregators.
What plans do Bleep have for the future?
We’ve got lots planned but we’re keeping it under wraps for now, you should start seeing some changes to the site this summer….
Who are your five most downloaded artists to date?
Boards Of Canada, Battles, Autechre, Burial, Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip