World Music

Monmouth Student Reimagines the World of Music Distribution

Pandora streams free music, but you have limited say in what plays and the commercials are endless. Spotify streams free music where you are able to choose what you listen to, but the commercials are still there. On iTunes you can download music with no commercials, but it costs money. Now, imagine a website where you can download music that is all yours for free and the artists can get paid a fair amount for all the music they create. That is what Cortex Music is.

Matt Alonso is a senior music industry student at the University who transferred here from Caldwell University in Caldwell, NJ, where he studied communication with a focus in radio. While he was there, he met many people who worked in the radio business, but someone told him he should not go into radio because it is dying medium.

This experience is what lead Alonso to look into the music industry field where he stumbled across the University’s continually growing music industry program. This new change in direction for his schooling is what lead to the idea for his own music platform, Cortex Music.

About three years ago while driving to dinner with his family, Alonso was listening to poor quality sounding music and thought to himself, “What if there was a way for people to download quality music for free while still paying the artists?” He then saw a billboard for headphones on the side of the road and the idea for Cortex Music came about.

Alonso has been working on this platform ever since. It’s hard enough being a full time student with essays, projects, and homework, but also being a working student takes a lot of time out of your day. Alonso manages to do it all and put a lot of hard work and passion into building this idea.

Through an internship at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, NJ where he works in hospitality, Alonso has learned a great deal about marketing for artists and about the live aspects of music. Alonso says that all the hands-on experience has really helped him during this process. By talking to many big and local acts and learning about their experiences, he was able to learn about what artists now want and also their thoughts about the industry.

The idea of Cortex Music is a platform that will work for all the variables in the business: the artists, the fans and the advertisers. Artists get paid for their music, fans get their favorite music for free, and advertisers can put their ads on the website. These advertisements are not like Pandora or Spotify where your experience is interrupted by commercials. The ads are like billboards where people can see them without interrupting their music enjoyment.

“From the local rock stars to the national touring acts, launching Cortex Music puts the control of the music industry in the hands of the artists. Getting them paid, connected with each other and their fans and most importantly: getting their music heard.” Alonso explained in a Kickstarter video about his new idea.

Cortex Music is not only a place to download music but also a place where bands can build relationships with their fans and other bands. Artists and bands can support each other and connect with each other to build more marketing opportunities. “It’s a way to make local music stronger together,” said Alonso.

This platform is one step closer to happening, it just needs the proper funding to really take off. Alonso launched his Kickstarter a few weeks ago and is receiving pledges until Jan. 10. He needs $5,500 to launch Cortex Music. Artists and bands who pledge at least $50 are pre-registered to be one of the first artists featured on the streaming site. Bounders and Grin and Bear are some of the first bands to be backers for Cortex Music.

There is an average of 4,000 undergraduate students at the University, so if each one of them pledged a single dollar, Cortex Music would already have almost 80 percent of its necessary funding. If there is nothing college students love more, it’s free stuff. COrtex Music revolves around free music and supporting bands that you love to listen to.

Alonso took a simple idea and has created a novel plan for the music industry that helps everyone involved. His passion and dedication to the idea has brought him this far, so who knows what the future holds. Help Cortex Music keep rocking on by visiting

PHOTO COURTESY of Nicole Seitz