We’ve been banging on for a while about the need for more and deeper partnerships between streaming music firms and direct-to-fan services, particularly around merchandise, ticketing and crowdfunding.
It’s happening, slowly, with Spotify’s announcement yesterday of a deal with D2C firm BandPage the latest example. In part, it’s a replacement for Spotify’s past deal with Topspin, putting artists’ merchandise in their profiles on the streaming service.
With Topspin bought by Beats Music (which, of course, was then bought by Apple) the deal means Spotify has a new merchandise partner, which should make it easier for artists to start selling merch from their profiles.
But there’s also a new aspect: BandPage’s ‘experiences’ – Kickstarter reward-style experiences going beyond t-shirts and mugs, that artists can sell to fans. Soundcheck access, meet’n’greets, Skype chats, song collaborations and the like. Spotify is the second service to integrate BandPage in this way, following Rhapsody.
“At BandPage, we’ve seen bands increase their net revenue by as much as 25% by adding experiences like VIP backstage passes, online concerts, custom recordings and more,” BandPage boss J Sider said yesterday, while citing the familiar Nielsen research suggesting such experiences could be worth up to $2.6bn a year to artists.
It’s important to note that the Spotify integration remains limited to artist profiles for now: going forward, the real potential will come from tapping its user data to put them in front of listeners in other parts of its service – its Discover page for example – as well as potentially through email and mobile notifications.
Spotify has ticketing (through its Songkick partnership) and merchandise, then. Crowdfunding may be the next area to move into. Imagine the potential if Spotify bought, say, PledgeMusic and properly integrated it into the service. But even if not, striking deals with that company, Indiegogo, Patreon and/or others would be a smart move. Through a workaround, the BandPage deal does actually support crowdfunding within Spotify.
“Actually, an artist could upload an ‘offer’ of their Pledge Music campaign (or individual offers from their campaign) to theirBandPage profile and we would syndicate that to Spotify and link out directly to their campaign at Pledge or wherever,” VP of marketing and artist relations Doug Scott told Music Ally. “So, while not a direct crowdfunding effort, there is a way for artists to promote their campaigns, along with everything they have for sale.”
Is there scope for direct crowdfunding within Spotify though? “Crowdfunding is a really interesting development in the music industry,” Spotify’s director of artist services Mark Williamson said yesterday. “However, for the time being we want to focus on the commercial areas that are easily available to the majority of artists and that are most attractive to fans.”