BandPage Unveils New 'Experiences' Service

Guitarist Zakk Wylde is offering guitar lessons through the new service

Want to hang with George Clinton? Need a personal guitar lesson from Zakk Wylde? How about an 8-mile run with Dead Prez’s while he teaches you beatboxing?

BandPage on Monday is unveiling a platform allowing bands to design and sell custom “experiences” such as these. Fans are also able to send suggestions about what types of experiences they would like to buy from their favorite artists. Among the 50 artists participating at launch are Parliament, Maroon 5, Stars, Nataly Dawn and others.

Dubbed BandPageExperiences, the program is an effort to give musicians an additional revenue stream to augment their income from touring and music sales, said JSider, founder and chief executive of BandPage.

“Albums and concerts only happen once or twice a year,” Sider said. “That’s like having a coffee shop that’s only open two days a year and sells only three types of coffee. We wanted to give bands a place where they can be open year-round and offer something outside of downloads, CDs, T-Shirts or plain vanilla concert tickets.”

Prices for current offerings range from $50 to $2,500, but artists are free to go above or below that range. In fact, Sider wants musicians to experiment with a wide range of prices -- affordable options for casual fans, mid-priced offerings for more dedicated fans, and premium experiences for the super-fan.

Here’s a sample of what’s on offer:

  • A VIP meeting with George Clinton during his West Coast tour -- $150
  • A 30-minute guitar lesson from Zakk Wylde, guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne, Pantera, Black Label Society -- $2,500
  • Skype chat with Andy Biersack, lead singer for Black Veil Brides -- $500
  • An original song from Múm -- created using whatever sounds you send them and recorded on a 7-inch vinyl -- $1,500
  • Two tickets to watch a Stars concert from the backstage -- $100

Artists receive 85% of the proceeds, while BandPage takes a 15% cut. After about 3% in credit card fees and other transaction costs, the company nets a little above 10%.

Such experiences have several advantages over traditional music merchandise. The first is that they cannot be pirated. As music itself becomes ubiquitous through digital distribution and CD sales plummet, artists have to be more creative in how they generate revenue. Live concerts have ascended as the primary source of revenue for many artists in large part because fans continue to value experiences that create memories. BandPage Experiences is aimed at augmenting that aspect of artists’ business.

“The whole point,” Sider said, “is to enable artists to create deeper connections with fans through memories, not stuff.”