12 02 16

YouTube buys BandPage to boost direct-to-fan features

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Some big news to end the music industry’s digital week: YouTube is acquiring direct-to-fan startup BandPage.

“We are very excited to announce that BandPage is joining YouTube, a move which dramatically accelerates our shared goal of helping musicians everywhere thrive,” announced BandPage in a blog post.

“BandPage is dedicated to helping musicians build their careers by growing their fan bases and increasing their revenue on the largest digital music services in the world. By joining forces with the team at YouTube, we can help artists reach their fans in more powerful ways than ever before.”

Specifics, including a price for the acquisition, and exact plans on how YouTube will integrate BandPage, are thin on the ground at this stage.

“The team has a lot of things planned to help musicians succeed on the platform, and more broadly across the BandPage network. There’s still a lot that we can do to help musicians, and we can accomplish so much more together,” is how BandPage put it.

“Our collective goal remains the same: to grow an open network of digital music services, develop intelligent new tools for managing/distributing artist content and commerce, and create new revenue opportunities for all musicians, on YouTube and beyond.”

The “beyond” element could be interesting. BandPage has been Spotify’s partner for merchandise for two years now, after its previous partner Topspin was bought by Beats Music. Now Spotify must figure out how to replace a partner that has fallen into the hands of a rival. BandPage also has partnerships with Rhapsody, Deezer and Vevo among other services.

BandPage started life in 2010 under the name of RootMusic, initially as a way for musicians to create dedicated music tabs on their Facebook pages.

As Facebook evolved away from its tabs structure, the company rebranded to BandPage, and pivoted to a model of being a central hub for artists’ biographies, photos, merchandise and ‘experiences’ – backstage meets, Skype guitar lessons and more – which it then pushed out to partner streaming services.

In September 2015, BandPage said it was sending more than 1m fans a month to musicians’ own stores via its integrations with Spotify, Rhapsody, Rdio, Vevo and other services.

“It’s business 101. If I’m a business trying to sell a product to a customer, and there’s a way for me to put my products on the shelves of a place where millions of my customers are spending time and engaging with content about me, that’s going to drive new revenue for me,” CEO J Sider told Music Ally earlier in 2015.

YouTube is probably the biggest place where fans are spending time with musicians’ content, so we’ll be intrigued to see what happens next as the dust settles from the acquisition.

Plus there’s the question of whether YouTube plans to put BandPage to use as a direct-to-fan service for YouTube stars who aren’t musicians. Meet’n’greets with Zoella and PewDiePie? Online Minecraft lessons from Stampy? The next few months should be very interesting.

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Stuart Dredge
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