www.getoutthere.bt.com is a website set up by beleaguered UK communications firm British Telecom for the purpose of giving undiscovered talent a forum in which to expose their art to the online community. It started off in 1999 as a service for musicians, much like Vitaminic and IUMA, but quickly expanded to encompass film, photography and writing as well.
The idea is that the user registers (for free) and uploads an mp3 for music, a well compressed mov or mpg for film, jpg for photographs and for written work the text is pasted into a field on site and uploaded from there. Each category has a number of genres to choose from and one is also asked to include a brief description of the work, give credit to collaborators and provide a small image, not necessarily of the author, though obviously that's the intention.
A couple of days later, after the work has been screened for obvious illegal sampling, obscenities etc, it appears on the site where other users can download the work and rate it up or down using a voting system. There is also a field provided so that one can leave messages and comments for the artist. The work begins its life in whatever category's "Latest Releases" chart and moves from there into charts where the position is determined by number of downloads or number of votes. Each category has its own chart and they are subdivided into smaller charts by genre. There are prizes each month for the most successful artists, ranging from record tokens for runners up, to serious kit, (like an Akai sampler for musicians), for those who hold onto the number one slots.
There is also an editorial section, where one may find one's work reviewed by professionals in the field as well as interesting and valuable advice on how to "make it".
They plan next year to include a real-time chatroom and a film script subsection within the film category.
It's an ambitious project, well meaning enough, but tries too hard to be all things to all men resulting in clunky, slow performance from the site itself even when used over a broadband connection. The chart system is weighted, supposedly so that an artist who uploads work halfway through the month stands as much chance of winning as one who had been there from the month's beginning, and this can lead to some very odd results. On the plus side though, it is perused by A&R men and it has been known for GetOutThere artists to hit the big time thanks to their exposure on the site.