One might argue that the last thing the Internet needs is another music store. But Hot Topic might have actually put some thought into its new venture, ShockHound, which at the very least does its competitors better by giving the consumer more than just “piles of context-free MP3s.” At this point, it’s nice to see someone at least trying to mix content into a sales model, and seeing credentials like “former editor-in-chief at Ray Gun” on the site’s attendant press release is encouraging.
“Our goal was to create an authentic, online experience of music discovery,” says Betsy McLaughlin, CEO of Hot Topic, Inc. “A place where fellow music lovers can come together and explore, share their likes and dislikes, read the latest music news and enjoy exclusive content on their favorite artists.”
ShockHound boasts top editorial talent led by editor-in-chief Randy Bookasta, former editor-in-chief at Ray Gun, a groundbreaking alternative rock publication; managing editor Dan Epstein hails from Revolver, a leading hard rock and heavy metal magazine. Content at launch will include reviews, music news, interviews, original programming and music videos. ShockHound encourages its members to be an integral part of the experience, offering users the opportunity to join in the never-ending musical dialogue via user reviews, comment sections and personalized user pages
It seems like the site is already somewhat successful in that end, with what seems to be a regular stream of reviews, interviews, and whatnot alongside comment sections full of insights like “scaat”‘s remark on how the Soulwax remix of MGMT’s “Kids” is “pretty tite.” The real question is probably which site is more likely to still be around in a year: Shockhound or MySpace Music? Quick hint: To my knowledge, only one site has a Radio Birdman t-shirt for sale.