Nowadays, artists and digital marketers in the music industry have a seemingly infinite supply of new media solutions at their disposal for managing direct-to-fan activities. While many of the companies pioneering these new technologies and techniques often fade away as fast as they have appeared, there are without a doubt a few innovators which have emerged as forerunners in direct-to-fan management solutions.
As of recent, both technological advances and the internet have brought about the ability, and the necessity, for marketers to track true performance metrics in real-time. Marketers are now able to evaluate the effectiveness of their marketing initiatives based on data capture, sentiment, engagement and, most importantly, conversions. Access to this data helps marketers better define where to concentrate efforts, which is bringing a new precision to marketing in the digital music industry. Targeting is crucial, especially in the music industry, because artist marketing is all about being in touch with your fans.
With the right fan management platform you have all the tools you need to grow your fan-base, build relationships, and measure the impact of everything you do along the way. However, with such a wide range of companies providing digital marketing toolkits, how do you know which is the best technology to manage your fans online? BandMark picked 10 companies with momentum in the digital marketing toolkit space that you need to know about: Topspin, Bandcamp, Nimbit, Rockdex, Mozes, NextBigSound, Rootmusic, FanBridge, Buzzdeck, and Artistdata. Read on for a review of the first 5 companies, and then check back next week for part-two of this review.
Topspin is a popular direct-to-fan marketing and retail software platform which gives musicians, as well as authors and filmmakers the ability to promote their art and connect with fans.
What can it do? Topspin allows users to effectively spread their content with the use of their multi-media players which stream high-quality audio and video that can be played and shared on websites, blogs, facebook feeds and mobile phones. In terms of direct-to-fan contact, Topspin provides users with the ability to reach their fans via email, FB & Twitter in exchange for free downloads. When sending emails, Topspin offers users the ability to target fans based on: geography, purchase history, social influence, or even how they found you originally. Topspin even allows artists to bundle their digital media with their physical merchandise, tickets and Fan Club/VIP access for the ultimate fan experience. Like most software platforms of this type, Topspin provides real-time fan data which allows for more targeted and cost-effective marketing initiatives.
Why use it? With integrated ecommerce and reporting functions, fan management, asset management, and ticketing tools in one software package, this platform is the whole shebang! Give it a try by creating a free account using the basic services for as little as 9.99$ a month. With musicians from Les Blanks to Arcade Fire and legendary Paul McCartney, all having run successful campaigns with Topspin, what do you have to lose in giving it a try?
Bandcamp is a service which provides musicians with a place to host, stream and then sell their music through personalized home pages. Although it sounds a lot like MySpace, what differentiates Bandcamp from sites like Myspace is its convenience and the ability to monetize efforts.
What can it do? Bandcamp offers a plug-and-play simplicity which jives with artists who are not web-savvy and up-starts who are just looking to sell or share their work. For the most part, Bandcamp takes care of the ‘nitty-gritty’ technical details, so that users can focus on producing and promoting their craft. Nevertheless, for those who wish to roll up their sleeves and delve into the world of digits, Bandcamp features an incredible array of statistical tools to help users learn more about their audience.
Why use it? In addition to convenience, the benefit of using Bandcamp is the freedom it gives artists in how they share their work. Unlike other platforms, Bandcamp’s user-defined pricing scheme empowers musicians to price and sell their work at their own discretion, in whichever digital format they prefer. Artists then pay a portion of their profits to the site. The one catch is to find a price that’s low enough to create conversions, yet high enough to cover the site’s commissions. Bottom-line: If you’re not an economist with a background in price optimization, you may want to avoid this hurdle altogether by releasing work for free. Either way, with Bandcamp, the choice is totally yours!
Nimbit is another direct-to-fan platform created for fan-management activities in the music industry. Nimbit prides itself on providing an easy solution for self-managed artists, managers, and emerging labels to: grow and engage their fanbase; to sell their music online; and to sell tickets, VIP Bundles and all their merch online.
What can it do? Nimbit helps artists to connect with their fans through email marketing, twitter and facebook. With Nimbit’s platform, musicians can sell their digital music on nimbitmusic.com, facebook, in addition to their dedicated site. In fact with Nimbit, artists can sell just about anything, direct from everywhere, while Nimbit fulfills on the seller’s behalf. Nimbit also allows artists to offer free tracks for email sign-ups, create and share download cards, and to create customized promotions. In addition to allowing users to create their own fully customized store-front online, Nimbit offers a variety of reporting features which help artists to manage and optimize their business activities. Marketing analytics, real-time sales reports, tracking fan history, catalogue management and multi-artist dashboards are among some of the reporting features offered by Nimbit.
Why use it? Would you ask your plumber for medical advice? Probably not; that’s why Nimbit was made by musicians, for musicians. “We’re not just a bunch of tech heads trying to make a buck off musicians. We’re people with experience from all sides of the music business. We’ve seen the problems of the old-style music industry first hand and we’re here to change it.” Bonus: Nimbit runs an affiliate program for companies targeting similar audiences. Affiliate partners can place either a unique button or banner on their website, and earn commissions ranging from $10 – $20 per signup!
Although Rockdex was originally created to be an extension of the Music Arsenal band management application, RockDex eventually grew into something much bigger: a full-fledged company. With the launch of its 1st standalone version in 2009, Rockdex caught the attention of music professionals with its simple and visually intriguing social media metrics and insights.
What can it do? RockDex is a unique, B2B platform that tracks thousands of websites, collecting data for musicians from blogs, fan connections, pageviews, tweets, song plays and more. Rockdex then uses this data to provide artists with a high-level view of their online buzz, including a comprehensive picture of growth and scale. Using this revolutionary software, artists can explore actual conversations in order to understand what motivates fan behaviour and drives exposure. Rockdex can even spot viral trends and help artists track the progress of such trends over time through constantly updated charts, graphs and maps.
Why use it? No matter where you stand in the music industry, Rockdex has something for you. Record labels, Managers, Artists, Publicists, A&R Reps, and Booking Agents are all making use of Rockdex to stay ahead of the curve. With a free 15-day trial on all accounts, it’s worth checking into this platform to find out what all the buzz is about…literally!
Mozes Connect is a web-based platform that allows users to create and manage customized, targeted mobile marketing campaigns. As mobile marketing becomes increasingly important in the case of live events, Mozes’ mobile platform is an ideal new media technology for bands and other performing artists wishing to connect [with fans] at the point of inspiration.
What can it do? Mozes connect is a simple platform which allows companies to create mobile experiences in order to engage audiences at live events. With Mozes, users can run a variety of mobile campaigns including: contests, voting, trivia, fan generated content, or simply send out branded media. Mozes also offers users a variety of cool web widgets, and other proprietary tools, to boost campaign results. Most importantly, users can check the status of their campaigns in terms of participation, locations, poll results and much more, and then use this information to manage their mobile activities in real-time. The best part? Marketers have the option to easily change any campaign into a mobile and/or email list building engine so that marketers can keep the customer relationship going even after the event ends.
Why use it? Mozes Connect is the only platform solution focused exclusively on connecting companies with their audience via mobile phone – in particular at live performance venues, something which is extremely useful for bands and musicians.