This Valentine’s Day, UCLA student Ritesh Gupta launched CollegeRoots.com, an online service that lets musicians and bands from university communities showcase their work and boost their popularity through integrated social media.
Artists are organized by region and university on the website, which supports individual “My Scene” pages for each group and non-artist users. Users can log in through Facebook, listen to uploaded tracks for free and “root” for their favorite musicians.
Gupta, a fourth-year business economics major at UCLA, said the inspiration to create the site came to him when he noticed that many college students were unfamiliar with local artists coming from their own schools. Gupta said the website is structured to give college artists widespread exposure within a close community of like-minded musicians.
“We give artists the benefits of free national exposure and a tight-knit community; we become their megaphone,” Gupta said. “For users, we act as a filter for unique artists that are passionate about what they do.”
The main currency of CollegeRoots is the titular “root:” every artist a user “roots” for will show up on the musician’s own personalized fan appreciation page.
UCSB fourth-year sociology and business major Noah Greenberg, a manager for CollegeRoots, said the startup hopes to help underground artists break out of the college scene.
“There’s no way for an artist to let their own local scene decide that they’re good enough to make it,” Greenberg said. “For me, what really makes CollegeRoots so cool is that it allows local artists to be heard by their community, and for their community to really ‘root’ for them and get them some exposure.”
According to Gupta, five UC students currently hold official roles in the project. Gupta said he has relied on feedback from over 100 students to perfect the way the site looks and operates.
“I am almost floored by how much support there has been for the site,” Gupta said. “Essentially, all of the [marketing] we’ve done up to this point has been online or viral, which is amazing and humbling to me because I’m not forcing it down anybody’s throat; it’s been this very organic growth.”
According to Greenberg, CollegeRoots also aims to help local artists book and advertise shows through strategic partnerships with music venues and affiliate ticket deals.
Fourth-year psychology major Evan Effres, whose acoustic folk music is featured on the site, said he believes CollegeRoots is an extremely effective up-and-coming method of marketing.
“It is a great networking tool for musicians in college,” Effres said. “It is just a good scene with good vibes; I actually know a couple of musicians that are also on the website.”
Gupta said he’s optimistic for the project’s future, though he’s more focused on making sure he enjoys the fruits of his labor.
“Am I going to be 80-years-old and still have this website? I have no idea,” Gupta said. “But I am going to have a damn fine time doing this while it exists.”