Bandpage Looks to Bring Billions of Sales to Industry, Starting with Rhapsody

The fruits of Bandpage's ambitious and long-in-the-works data crunch -- focused on identifying artists' most engaged fans and knowing what type of product those fans may be interested in, to oversimplify -- come off the vine today. The company has launched its most intimate partnership to date, with Rhapsody, the world's oldest streaming service. The move represents "phase two" for Bandpage, which began as a place for artists to post updates across the many social networks required to operate an artistic career in the modern age.

As today's press release states: "The music industry, with its billions of monthly active online users, has online engagement, the raw ingredient for effective behavioral targeting, that dwarfs almost every other industry on earth." What Bandpage has been doing for some time is observing that data and testing, through its partners (Spotify, Google, Shazam, Stubhub, SoundCloud, Live Nation among them) whether, for example, diehard hip-hop fans respond to the offer of a ticket, or a t-shirt, at specific points in their listening and purchasing -- and what they don't respond to. One aspect of this research was made public in its partnership last month with Stubhub, where the company was allowed to place offers for VIP packages alongside ticket listings on the reseller's site.

For its partnership with Rhapsody, listeners identified as particularly big fans of acts will get infrequent ("One or two a month," Sider says) push notifications shows, special recordings, meet-and-greets, and more.

"We see the entire industry moving in this direction," Bandpage CEO J Sider tells Billboard. "Because of the increased revenue that we're already seeing, when you apply that to the rest of the industry, it's billions of dollars. At a time when we really need it! I feel like we uncovered a gold mine."

Bandpage is hoping to use the curatorial advantage of phenomenally broad data sets to bring the music industry more, and additive, revenue. Sider argues that because of the well-tread, little-seen nature of artist-to-fan interactions online -- think Facebook and Twitter -- that the potential for artists to reach those fans remains almost wholly untapped. "We believe [this technology] will roll out to every major streaming service, and that this will become the way musicians reach their fans. Your fans are spending way more time on these streaming services now, and that's where you want to be displaying your tour dates, special offers, for fans," says Sider. According to the CEO, listeners are three times more likely to open a Bandpage/Rhapsody notification than they are typical push updates from streaming services. The most engaged fans are 13 times more likely to purchase items in this way.

Through this data daisy chain, Bandpage has amassed a significant trove of information about listeners-as-consumers, which it continues to refine as more and more of these algorithm-driven integrations are rolled out.

Listeners -- and readers, and moviegoers, and runners, and everyone else -- expect the digital world to form-fit. It's expected to, as best it can, know what they're thinking before (or at least at the same time) they do. Normally this is in the service of an improved experience, like more relevant news made more prevalent on Facebook, which in turn helps Facebook or whoever provide a more compelling, expensive product for advertisers. In the case of artists trying to sell things to fans -- outside of concert tickets, which have been well-covered by the startup economy, and actual merch tables at those shows -- the development has been much slower. While push notifications aren't the end of the road for artist revenue generation, they're a good place to (finally) start.