The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


iSOUND the hard work of an SMU alumnus

The music industry is drastically changing. Record labels have realized the need for new ways to promote music, and discover new talent. This realization has opened the door for many unsigned artists to make their music available to all listeners.

This industry’s changes have resulted in many music-based Web sites. These Web sites allow artists to create full-featured Web sites for their own bands and upload their own MP3s. They provide great exposure to record labels as well. The music-based Web site, iSOUND, has received a great deal of attention.

Musician and entrepreneur D.J. Burdick, 25, created iSOUND in 1999 in Seattle, Wash. His goal, to create a site for unsigned artists to share their music with the world, has always been clear. Burdick, the founder and CEO of iSOUND, began this career shortly after graduating from high school. In developing iSOUND, Burdick focused on providing visitors with the opportunity to find more information about their favorite artists.

“I was looking for information about artists I liked, and I couldn’t find anything comprehensive on the Internet,” Burdick said. “So, I decided to create my own Web site.”

Burdick spent about two years developing his Web site. He first registered the Web site as The site always added unsigned artists, but did not offer definitive services for the artists. The team began focusing on the idea of allowing all unsigned artists to easily create their own Web sites with every feature they could possibly want. With the expansion of the site, the team changed the name in order to incorporate the new music community of users and artists. The site’s name change became final in early 2004 after the team purchased from an independent party.

In 2000, Burdick moved to Dallas, Texas and began attending SMU. While in Dallas, Burdick discovered the difficulty of finding gigs and getting his music heard. This discovery sparked a new idea in his head.

“I decided to expand I wanted to make it a music community where artists could share their music with the world,” he said.

While a student at SMU, Burdick continued working and expanding iSOUND. After graduating in 2004 from the SMU’s Cox School of Business, he decided to apply his newly learned business habits by making his full-time career.

“Working on my own company had allowed me to work on what I’m truly passionate about. I get to focus on what I believe in,” Burdick said. “I wanted to make my full-time career because I had so many ideas. I love running my own business.

“I feel there are so many more rewards. I just wanted to help the music community and set a stage to the millions of people visiting iSOUND every month.”

The music industry has continued changing drastically. MP3s have become very important for unsigned artists wishing to promote their work on the Internet. Many of these artists, however, lack the financial means to advertise their music. The idea of promoting on the Internet has solved this problem for these unsigned artists lacking funds.

“The music industry is going through a huge transitional phase. Everything is changing and the record labels are realizing this. They are now using many of the same avenues to promote their artists as those available to unsigned artists,” Burdick said.

After questioning 52 SMU students about iSOUND, about 34 percent of the students had heard of the site. About 18 percent have visited and have discovered new favorite artists through the Web site. Two percent of the questioned students have actually uploaded their own music on

A complete industry of music-based Web sites has developed. These sites allow musicians to promote their music over the Internet. With, artists may sign up and upload their music on the site for free. The iSOUND staff then listens to the songs and rate the music. As new listeners visit the site, they discover new music and earn points for sharing that music with their friends. Musicians can gain thousands of new fans by just uploading their music onto a popular music Web site such as iSOUND.

“There is a growing group of signed bands getting a large share of radio and video play that started entirely by promoting on the Internet and playing small clubs,” Burdick said. “The future of music is on the internet. Get your music uploaded, spend a few hours a week promoting online, and you’ll be amazed at the results.”

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