Minnesota grad helps music enthusiasts

by Allie Winter

After preparing for a future in finance, Aric Berquist’s career path took a new direction.

He had an idea last year to create a Web site dedicated to helping musicians and their fans: synchronicitylive.com.

“I’ll never forget that day; the idea hit my like a ton of bricks,” Berquist said.

He graduated from the Carlson School of Management with a marketing degree in 1994. After finishing school, Berquist put aside his love for music to work for a telecommunication company and then a financial services company.

“(This area of work) was hilariously outside of my passion zone,” he said.

Berquist said the idea behind the Web site is simple, but has never been attempted. It’s a live broadcasting site, scheduled to launch the end of April.

Musicians or artists can plug cameras into a computer and broadcast their concerts to the world at no cost for musicians and viewers. The only stipulation is that site users become members.

“I have no idea how we do it, but it’s impressive,” Berquist said. “We give you the best picture and you don’t have to do anything.”

Berquist said beside his love of music, he created the site to help musicians get their material heard because he knows how difficult it is.

“They need a platform to be heard,” he said. “If they have it, it’s an incredible opportunity; we can do amazing things for a band.”

on the web

For more information, go to: www.synchronicitylive.com

Fans can also find any type of music genre broadcasting live at any time. Berquist said the site allows visitors to see how many people are logged on and watching a certain show, pick their favorite genre and categorize their own lists of bands.

Because the site is worldwide and live, it has the potential to harbor illegal broadcasting, but Berquist said people will be watching the site non-stop to make sure all performances are legitimate and no illegal activities are taking place.

“We don’t want a free-for-all,” he said. “But, it’s not like we’ll just shut someone off because they’re bad.”

If musicians want to know if they are popular, they can go on the Web site and see a list of everyone who viewed the shows online and chat with them.

This worldwide connection is what impresses the site’s director of marketing, Larry Bassani.

“You’re interacting with people, musicians and fans in a virtual world,” he said. “It’s pretty amazing.”

Berquist said it’s also a good way to keep up with local music and find out what’s playing in hometown areas.

This feature attracts Jon Li, a University School of Music and Institute of Technology student who sings and plays the piano, guitar and cello.

“I can’t always make it out to local shows or when my friends are playing around town, so that’d be one way to not miss their concerts,” he said.

Although the site is free, Berquist said he’ll allow musicians to charge admission to live shows if they choose. However, he predicts most bands won’t charge viewers.

“Most are going to keep it free; it’s all about the exposure,” he said.

But just because the site is free doesn’t mean Berquist won’t be seeing any cash flow. He said the company is creating an advertising model and merchandise line called “Expose Yourself.”