Virginie Berger: New Digital Music Tools for New Needs - midem white paper
Digital music: new tools for new needs By Virginie Berger, Founder and CEO of DBTH, a strategy, development and management firm, dedicated to artists and creative industries (France)
Table of Contents1. New tools for new needs2. Case study (old generation tool): MySpace3. Case study (new generation tool): Bandcamp4. The Key Learnings
1. New tools for new needs New tools – distributors, e-commerce websites, applications, tools, data analysis, technologies – open up new possibilities for music and accentuate an already strong trend: the necessity to engage fans in a tailored dialogue with the artist, the record label and the extended fan community. These tools have become essential for artists, no matter the level of development. That way, an artist alone, self-produced or signed with a record label, can use a distributor to broadcast their music on online stores, video platforms to host their videos or a streaming platform to make their titles available. There are many platforms for music distribution, because there are so many ways to consume music. These new way of consuming are relayed by new platforms.
a. Aggregation-type e-commerce platforms Aggregators manages the marketing of digital music, with one or different kinds of offers to the public. But available catalogs on these platforms are so broad, that quite often – just as in the case of physical catalogs – there are specific actors in charge of promoting some titles, such as the web promotion or web marketing (B2B) agencies. Most aggregators can also offer these services as a complement to digital distribution. Furthermore, you can find some technological services suppliers that realize tools adapted to this online or mobile communication and therefore play a particular B2B role in this chain. A few examples: Zimbalam, Ditto music, Tunecore….b. Digital distributors The distributor can also offer services on top of the aggregation work. Its financial remuneration is, like in the case of physical distribution, a percentage of the income generated by the sales. The distributor represents a significant catalog in terms of references and especially in terms of turnover on the different online stores. This position can weight to get the best factory price and ensure a good promotion and visibility. A few examples: Believe Digital, Idol…
c. Streaming platforms With streaming, you can listen to music without needing to download it beforehand. You dont download music on your hard drive, you listen to it while connected to the Internet. The most popular websites are Deezer, Spotify or MOG... Some platforms offer prime subscriptions that include a few advantages (unreleased material, mobile version, ad-free, special offers...). These models generate revenues essentially through advertisement space sales, the subscriptions dont generate enough profits yet. Some also suggest buying titles with link that redirects on a digital music store. Deezer indicated being the first iTunes affiliated in France.d. e-commerce platforms These are websites that allow you to buy music digital files, but some propose also video files (video clip and others), concert tickets and other by-products. The sale is directly done on the platform and the sales is materialized by the download of files. A few examples: iTunes, Amazon, Fnac.com….e. Direct-to-fan sales platforms These platforms (software) are directly integrated to the artist website, they help you manage interactions with fans (newsletters, emails, marketing, sales...). TopSpin is the leader with Nimbit.
f. Community platforms Facebook and Twitter, generalist social networks, represent the mainstay of online marketing. On Facebook, everyone can display their music taste on their profile and install music applications. Twitter is a dialog and broadcasting space for music fans and a loyalty-builder for artists. Besides, there are music community websites where the public can discover new artistes and keep updated on their upcoming releases or concert dates. MySpace propose, for a few years now, a free and personalized web space for its registered members, where artists can display various personal information and create a blog. Finally, websites with primary function to broadcast music, such as web radios Deezer, Beezic or Last.fm, include a social network where members can affiliate by taste and receive recommendations.g. Websites hosting for artist These websites, such as MySpace, Bandcamp and Noomiz, host artists pages. After creating an account, you can customize your pages, upload your content, and even sell it at the conditions you want (“pay what you want” for instance). Nimbit, the American website, now even offers to create an artists website under Wordpress (most popular platform for creating websites in the world) for free, with various applications that permit you to broadcast, distribute and sell your music.
h. Video hosting websites The websites hosting videos such as Dailymotion or YouTube now play a determinative part in promoting music online. Thanks to them, not only can record labels and artist upload their music videos, interviews and any other audiovisual material aiming at attracting new fans, but also can fans post their own videos. The classification of content with keywords permits to aggregate all video material. Artists can also create their own music channel and interact with their fans via comments and forums. The website home page displays the best rated and most viewed videos: the public controls the buzz.i. Web radios Web radios are more or less similar to radio stations but broadcasted on the Internet via continuous playing. Alike classic radio stations, there are generalist web radios and themed radio stations. It is even easier for them, considering they are not subjected to quotas such as those laid down by the FCC or Ofcom for FM radios. There are thousands of wed radios because, technically, anyone can create their own radio station. Example in France: Goom Radio, Zen, Pandora…
j. Data analysis: analyticsThese websites or software help you monitoring all statistics concerning your website (whocomes, from where, who listens to what and how). You can also follow what people do with yourcontent outside your website and analyze your web presence on websites, blogs and socialnetworks. Thanks to these tools, you can also analyze your newsletter efficiency.A few applications: Next BigSound, Google Analytics, Reverbnation, FanBridge, Band Metrics…Lets now analyze your presence online. That is to say your performance and your contentsperformance, through different spaces... We will look at two flagship websites, the old and thenew generation.
2. Case Study (Old generation tool): MySpaceWhat about MySpace now? Only 3 years ago, MySpace was incontrovertible for all artists. They had to be onMySpace. And now? • Why keep your MySpace profile?MySpace can still boast about being the most powerful music social network (MySpace claims hosting abouttwenty million profiles dedicated to music).Nevertheless, figures show a traffic in decline. MySpace, launched in 2003, was the incontestable leader in thetop social networking sites. But since 2008, its traffic is in free fall and the websites overhaul in October 2010hasnt stopped the fall, it actually accentuated it. In fact, MySpace users, who were waiting for these changes,where disappointed and have now deserted the platform.
As the Sandbox website shows, the majority of influential artists communicate now principally on Facebook,Twitter and YouTube. Their MySpace profile is nearly abandoned and rarely updated.For instance, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and Katy Perry updated their Facebook status 26 times over the 28first days of June 2011, they posted 82 new status on Twitter and only 3 new post on they MySpace blog.Why does MySpace suffer from this turnaround? First of all, MySpace hasnt been able to adapt to webevolutions and its usages. The technical environment has barely evolved and the website wasnt made for aneasy handover. Besides, while MySpace is a community website, where users can create a profile and displaytheir passions, Facebook - created at the same period as MySpace - has positioned itself as a social network,where users can mainly communicate and easily share between members. MySpace hasnt been able tofollow the evolution of its users and found itself in the impossibility of meeting their needs.But MySpace remains a really useful tool for artists. Firstly because MySpace remains the leader in SEO(Search Engine Optimization). That means that someone who types your name in the search engine will findyou easily because you will appear in the first results of the research. MySpace is essential for people to findyou and discover your music.A MySpace profile should be seen as a business card. A first contact with your music and your creativeuniverse. Most of professionals still have the reflex, it is therefore important to offer a clean and simple profile.Secondly because artists are now in a strange position. MySpace is dying but no website, at the moment, canreplace it entirely.
3. Case study (New generation tool): BandcampIts one of the best websites for any independent artist who looks for a simple platform to host and selltheir music. Artists can create a simple profile where people listen to their music under different format.Artists can choose to offer titles on streaming or to download, to give or sell their music, digitally orphysically. In exchange for any download, Bandcamp suggests to collect email addresses of yourvisitors.Bandcamp can be directly integrated to an artists website. It could be an interesting alternative to thecreation of an online store. You can also, thanks to different tools, integrate your Bandcamp page toyour social networks profiles.Lastly, Bandcamp offers various statistics on your profile: who visits your page, who listens to what,how often, for how long and where?Bandcamp works with Paypal to secure financial transactions on the website. Since August 2010,Bandcamp will take a commission of 15% on your sales.Exsonvaldes, a French folk band, uses Bandcamp for over two year. I suggest you to visit their pagefor inspiration. You just need to click on one of the album covers, they actually have created aBandcamp profile per album.
4. The Key Learnings: Here is what you need to remember • New tools – distributors, e-commerce websites, applications, tools, data analysis, technologies – open up new possibilities for music. • These tools have become essential for artists. There are many platforms for music distribution, because there are so many ways to consume music. • MySpace hasnt been able to adapt to web evolutions and its usages. But MySpace remains a really useful tool for artists. A MySpace profile should be seen as a business card • Bandcamp is one of the best website for any independent artist who looks for a simple platform to host and sell their music. • Artists can create a simple profile where people listen to their music under different format. Artists can choose to offer titles on streaming or to download, to give or sell their music, digitally or physically • Bandcamp can be directly integrated to an artists website.
About the authorVirginie Berger, more than 13 years of experience in the media and music industry, is thefounder and the CEO of DBTH, http://dbth.fr, a strategy and development firm, dedicated toartists and creative industries. She also wrote the book “Music and digital strategies” (IRMApublishing).She is the former marketing and content director of MySpace France, and now also reader forIMM, Nanterre university, Irma and author.She is also the publisher of “Don’t believe the Hype”(http://virginieberger.com), a websitededicated to musicians, artists, bands and people from the music industry. It gives them thetools, resources, expertise and guidance to help them take their music career to the nextlevel.Twitter @virberg Email email@example.comThis report is brought to you by midem Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org Visit midem’s website - www.midem.commidem is the place where music makers, cutting-edge technologies, Follow usbrands & talent come together to enrich the passionate relationshipbetween people & music, transform audience engagement & formnew business connections.midem takes place every 3rd week of January and brings together Download midem iPhone App6,850 professionals from 77 countries. http://road.ie/midem 13