Adios, Garageband.com

Being a struggling, unsigned musician involves a lot of faith and superstition. You begin to believe that fame, fortune, and hot and cold running groupies are just around the corner, and if you can just complete that one magical task, it will all be yours for the taking.

Once upon a time, you said, "If I can just get a good album review in the paper, I'll make it." A few years later, it was, "If I can just get enough friends on MySpace, I'll make it." And until recently, it was, "If I can reach the top of the charts on Garageband.com, I'll make it." Sadly, that avenue to the stars is shutting its doors after ten years next Wednesday.

Rocks Off got this email:

It's been over ten years since we started helping discover independent music on the ol' interwebs. Things have changed a lot since then. Most of those changes have been good and some of them have been bad. Some changes are just bitter-sweet.

It's with this bitter-sweetness that we are announcing today that Garageband.com will be discontinued as of July 15th, 2010.

The landscape of how music is discovered and delivered has changed drastically over the last decade and we are proud to have been a huge part of that change -- first with

Garageband.com and then with iLike.com and beyond. Sadly, that landscape will not include Garageband.com anymore.

Link your account to iLike: (action required)

If you want to continue to make your music available for streaming or download on iLike.com and the iLike application on Facebook, please go to iLike.com and login with your Garageband username and password by July 15th, 2010. This will automatically link your account to iLike so we can port your music, profile photo, and biography to iLike.com.

Finally, if you have recently made a purchase on Garageband.com and would like a refund, please email refunds@iLike-inc.com to request a refund. Valid refund requests must be received no later than July 31st, 2010.

Sincerely, The Garageband and iLike team

For those of you who never experienced the Web site, it was something truly innovative. By uploading your music to the site, it was anonymously and randomly reviewed by other artists. You could unlock your reviews, or move to the top of the review queue, by doing reviews yourself. (Or paying a fee - this is the music industry, after all.)

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Those who reached the top of the charts were destined for stardom... or so the Website always claimed. While no one who ever reached No. 1 on Garageband.com became the next U2 or anything, several respectable artists, like 10 Years and American Idol finalist Bo Bice, did gain significant exposure through high numbers on the site.

Early in the site's history, it offered a $250,000 recording contract contest. At least one winner, Sunfall Festival, never received the money they won, but whether that's because the band didn't like the contract or because Garageband Record Label folded isn't clear; the band claims both. Another winner, Ultraphonic, who did accept the contract and recorded with the label, also never saw their album released due to the label's closing.

During his time with a Houston band, Rocks Off had more faith in Garageband's ability to launch a career than Bono has in sunglasses. The reviewing experience was an arduous one. Most reviews were done by other bands simply to unlock their own reviews, leading to an unending series of poorly worded, short criticisms and a criminal overuse of the word "gay."

Rocks Off likened the experience to being beat in the nuts with a bag of low self-esteem rocks. Regardless, when the term Battle of the Bands is thrown around, Garageband.com stands tall among those who have actually lived up to the title. We're sorry to see it go.

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