Joel Oberstein (New Releases Now!) – Interview (Part 1)

A new interview fresh from the oven for you. The interviewee this time is Joel Oberstein from New Releases Now!, a site that was recently reviewed on MusicKO.

This is the first half of the interview. The second (“Music & You”) has just been posted. Give it a look.

Full Name: Joel Oberstein
Startup: New Releases Now!
Position:  Co-owner / President






Tell us a little about your startup. How was it conceived? What are its most distinctive features in your opinion?

We’ve been in the music marketing business since 1995 and despite the fact that we’re living in the information age we found that there wasn’t a comprehensive source for retailers, radio programmers and on-air personalities, music supervisors, clubs/concert promoters, and others in the entertainment industry, as well as music fans to sample what was being released each Tuesday across all genres of music.  Having grown up in the heyday of record stores, we like to think of it as a virtual new release end-cap.  We keep release info active in the system well past street date, so if you’re interested in seeing what came out in prior weeks you can do that.  Users can also search for titles by genre or even record label, so if you’re a fan of Prog Rock or Sub Pop Records for instance you can easily find those titles as well.  NRN Radio then allows a user to stream a track from those selections.  We also partner with several popular music related and pop culture sites such as Ranker, Popdose, The Music’s Over, and American Music Association (to name a few) to provide content for them.  In addition to being a high traffic site, we also deliver NRN electronically every week to a large industry/fan mailing list.  As a huge music fan, it’s the type of service I would sign up for if I didn’t work in the biz just so I could stay up to date on what’s going on release-wise.

What was the original launch date?

November 2009

What has been the response so far?

People seem to like that it’s easy to navigate and has what they’re looking for in one place.

In which countries has it been more successful?

Since we’re based in the U.S. that’s where most of our traffic comes from, but we do see a lot of activity in the Europe, South America, and Australia/New Zealand.    

What features can we expect to see implemented in future revisions?

The site will soon receive some cosmetic changes and part of that will include incorporating tour information on our release pages.  We’re also going to add the ability for users to leave comments about releases that will tie into Facebook.  And there will be a few more new wrinkles in the coming weeks.

There is a certain tendency to demonize the Internet in the music industry. I think it is all a matter of perspective – it all depends on the uses it is put to. What is your opinion? In which areas has the Internet left an unquestionably positive mark?

I worked in record stores for many years and will always love them, but the internet has taken music discovery to a whole new world where you can sift thru to find what you like…and then buy it from your favorite store!

What advice could you give to anybody who is launching a music-related startup in the future? What are the obvious mistakes that should be avoided?

The music industry is getting its footing again and this is an exciting time to be involved.  Find a gap and make sure you have a solid idea to fill it….keep it simple.

Continue to Part 2 of this interview (“Music & You”)