Epitonic.com Relaunches Exactly 12 Years from the Day it First Went Live

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Epitonic.com relaunches exactly 12 years from the day it first went live, offers 12 exclusive MP3 premieres.

Epitonic.com, one of the Web's first and most beloved editorial music discovery sites, relaunched today on the morning of the site's 12th anniversary. Original co-founder Justin Sinkovich is at the helm, following a successful Kickstarter campaign and a frenzy of development. There are also 12 bands premiering new music exclusively at Epitonic today including The Wrens, Marissa Nadler, Bloodiest, STRFKR, Withered Hand, Restorations and more.

First launched on March 8, 1999, by musicians who grew up in small towns that didn't have great venues or record stores, Epitonic posted free and legal MP3s for streaming and download, working directly with thousands of artists and labels. All of the music was selected, written about, and posted by a staff of young DJs, touring artists, record collectors, and music lovers based in San Francisco and Chicago.

At its height, Epitonic had over 500,000 unique monthly visitors, love from countless bands and labels, a Wired "Best Music Site" nomination, and a Webby Award. Unfortunately the site fell upon hard times, as did many in the dot-com era. Island Records founder Chris Blackwell and Palm Pictures intervened in 2001 to save the site, but it eventually went dormant in 2004.

In the spring of 2010, co-founder Justin Sinkovich had the opportunity to reacquire Epitonic. Justin, who after an extensive career in independent music, was teaching media management at Columbia College Chicago, contacted the site's original team, who were all excited to pitch in. He also recruited a team of new editors and contributors to help with the new site.

None of this would be possible without the help of supporters from around the world donating over $5000 in seed money through Kickstarter.com so that the team could get the new Epitonic.com up and running, making this a truly collaborative effort. Epitonic '11 recaptures the spirit of the original site by curating and filtering underground music, but now utilizes new technology and features that were unfathomable when the site was originally built. The launch is timed to March 8th, the day the site originally launched twelve years ago, and coincides with Epitonic's presence at SXSW and local Chicago events celebrating the site's return.

In anticipation of the new site launch, a number of labels and bands have agreed to offer exclusive premieres on launch day. Below is a list of all the MP3s:

All Smiles - "Captives"
Autumn Owls - "Spider (demo)"
Bloodiest - "Slave Rule" (Relapse)
Braids - "Lemonade (Lemonparty Bliss Out Remix by Landon Speers)" (Kanine)
Cast Spells - "All Brass" (Sargent House)
CS: ATX feat Esso and Scheme - "For No One" (Closed Sessions/Decon)
The Impressions - "I'm The One Who Loves You" (Cool Pepper Disc Reissue)
Marissa Nadler - "Baby I Will Leave You"
Restorations - "Neighborhood Song" (Tiny Engines)
STRFKR - "Born" (Polyvinyl)
Withered Hand - "I Am Nothing" (Absolutely Kosher)
The Wrens - "As I've Known"

"Epitonic was so important to me that I felt it was worth reviving, but I wasn't sure anyone else cared. The outpouring of excitement and support overwhelmed me when we announced a relaunch - then a little panic set in. Everyone was expressing their anticipation of something as special as the original. I had better not let them down. I focused on rebuilding something modern and exciting, but I also wanted to maintain the aesthetic of what we set out to do over a decade ago. Our first goal was to get a renovated version of the old site with some key new features up for Epitonic's 12th anniversary, and once we are live, we'll get started on an extensive list of additional features to be implemented in the near future."

"I've had tons of help from the staff - both from members of the original team and from new contributors, many who were fans of the site long ago. So many talented people have donated time, resources and money, and I cannot thank them enough. I think what we have built is a compelling and contemporary version of what Epitonic's mission has always been: To be the ultimate source of carefully-selected cutting-edge music that's always free and legal."

"Freeloading hipsters of the world, rejoice! The original partners behind trendsetting Epitonic.com, a site that provided free (mainly indie) MP3 downloads from 1999 to 2004, plan to re-launch the site this year." - The Onion AV Club

"The relaunch of early indie mp3 site Epitonic has the blogs buzzing." - Chicago Reader

"If you were a young, Internet-savvy, indie-rock enthusiast in the first few years of the 21st century, chances are you downloaded a Pedro the Lion MP3 or two from Epitonic, the early-adopter Free Music on the Internet! Ah, but let us see what Epitonic 2.0 has up its sleeve." - Village Voice

"I'm not only impressed, but kinda floored that [Justin has] decided to relaunch Epitonic - the one-stop web hub devoted to all things indie, created by Sinkovich and his buddies back in 1999." - Time Out Chicago

"Before Pandora, Hype Machine, and even Last.fm, the best way to discover new independent music was through a site called Epitonic." - Gaper's Block

"Epitonic was a pioneering free (and legal) MP3 site that focused on independent music. The site is planning a comeback this year." - Pitchfork.com

For more information or to arrange an interview with Justin, contact:
Brian McKinney, 1-Up PR

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