BandPage Touts Big Sales Metrics for Artists' Merch

BandPage has announced a few large metrics today, over a year after signing key deals with Spotify (where it recently became the only way to place merchandise for sale on the platform), iHeartMedia and a notable funding round: 3,000,000 items, ranging from t-shirts to private concerts, are now on sale through the many tendrils the company has fostered throughout the diffuse and often disparate hubs of the digital music industry. The company offers musicians and labels a centralized location to update common information like tour dates, merchandise, and biographical information across the many partnerships its struck, including Facebook, Twitter, Shazam, SoundCloud, Google, Pandora, Spotify, Vevo, Rhapsody, Rdio, Tumblr and LyricFind.

As well, the company is touting some smaller numbers: "Online click-through rates -- online, not just the music industry -- are roughly what a banner ad generates [at] a 0.1 percent click-through rate. We're seeing 0.5 percent to 1 percent," BandPage founder and CEO J Sider tells Billboard. "Conversion rates are typically 1 to 5 percent -- we're seeing conversion up to three times that amount."

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As social networks and streaming companies like SoundCloud began to gain ground, bands and labels were faced with the seemingly futile task of keeping information current across the many ways fans could potentially look for that information. BandPage was Sider's solution. The company has a subscriber base of over 500,000 currently, from independent bands to major labels.

More importantly to bands and labels may be the company's efforts to optimize the various types of products that artists can put up for sale. "There are different types of customers on different platforms," Sider tells Billboard. "We look at it as a marketing funnel -- the top is new fans, which may come through Shazam, or search. When fans are looking up your lyrics, they've already been over to a streaming service and listened to you and they like you." 

Sider says the company has spent a lot of time trying to figure out which mix of products resonates best with fans at each level of "the funnel," but has plans to make the process more mathematic. "What we're working hard on is an automated, scalable solution. So when musicians put things in their BandPage store, those things are categorized. We then display different things according to different levels of interest."

So what sells? Fan experiences have been resonating extremely well, Sider tells Billboard (again). "Traditional goods sell. But what we're seeing is that in-person offers are really important." The "fan experience" market is potentially worth a lot of money, about $2.6 billion, according to a study by Nielsen.

Asked about deals with nascent stateside streaming service, like Deezer, Sider says: "Any place where there are fans that are actively engaged, we are in conversations with." But a beta program with YouTube shows promise, especially as that service may ramp up its marketing efforts for its Music Key streaming service in the coming year.

In a still-contracting recording industry, the importance of providing artists, especially independents, hard data on how to monetize their work has become extremely important. So, where's the basement show?


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