Analysis

Digital music tools: Linkfire


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This is a recent article from Music Ally’s Sandbox digital marketing report, which is part of our subscription service. Sign up for a free trial here.

One link to serve them all: that is Linkfire’s aim – to reach all fans, no matter their music consumption preferences, in one fell swoop.

The link shorteners space is not, excuse the pun, short of competition (bitly, goo.gl, tinyurl, po.st etc.). Linkfire, however, has a unique proposition: to address the complexity in music consumption.

Music consumption has never been this segmented across multiple devices and numerous access and ownership platforms. The idea of pushing out an iTunes link to a Spotify-only user does not make sense; nor does it make sense being pushed to an Android phone owner. Yet these marketing mistakes are made daily. And the alternative of having five links under each post does not bode well in the superficial social media age.

The idea of users operating across multiple platform holds especially true for Denmark where the digital music market is carved up between 8-10 providers, unlike Sweden with its clear leader in Spotify. Hence Linkfire, a startup based in Copenhagen, emerged from a co-development project with Universal Denmark. All the majors in Denmark and a large number of indie labels there are now using it.

The tool is simple. Put any link of an album (or track) on a digital music service and Linkfire will start to search for all corresponding links across the following: iTunes (all countries), Amazon, Spotify, Deezer, WiMP, Beats, Rdio, SoundCloud and more – with Tidal, YouTube Music Key and Bandcamp among those to be added by the end of the year. You can then manually add any links that were not automatically picked up – such as YouTube and physical stores.

This will all be rolled into one customisable link for marketers to send out. The link will lead a user to a responsive microsite that will ask them to pick a service; with the use of deep links, this directly opens apps and not webpages. The services can either be ranked by popularity in that country or manually. It can also remember a user’s choice or ask them every time and allows a sample play where applicable. The microsite will only show services available in the user’s country and applicable to their device. The tool also shows a preview of how the link will look across Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn, with a possibility to customise.

One social media-friendly link and all your physical, digital and streaming services are covered in a responsive microsite – and all created in a few minutes. This is a very powerful tool in the new age of music consumption. Labels, managers, artists and distribution companies are happy to be using one link across their media campaigns that is attractive to their entire audience and does not run the chance of turning a fan away based on their consumption choice.

The platform also includes the usual stats: clicks over time, traffic source, platforms/OS, geography, affiliate clicks/conversion and click-through by service. The last is a unique piece of data – highlighting which services your particular artist’s fans are using to consume music.

The only other player in this specific music space is SmartURL. It offers automatically fetched worldwide iTunes links, manually created device links and manually created streaming services links. But to manually fetch all appropriate links would take a good bit of time in what Linkfire does for you in under a minute.

Currently, as the product is being validated, the service is free – with a premium tier coming in January. Paid users will be able to collect retargeting data, generate affiliate income, have daily rescans as services update their links, and keep complete control over their own data created from links. On top of this, the most interesting feature will be the complete revenue tracking. This means users can pixel fans with a session ID (upgraded cookie) that will track exactly where people came from and what they did within iTunes (e.g. buy the item/multiple items or apps). This is currently available for all the major stores and Linkfire is also hoping to be able to have this transparency for actions within major streaming services in the future. The cost of the premium account is €9k a year.

Free users will continue to have all standard functionality without any of the extra features and it is their affiliate commission and their data that will pay for the service indirectly (the latter being a standard practice across link shorterners).

Linkfire is presently running across the Nordics and is expanding into the UK and across Europe, ready to work with its partners to cover all their needs. Early next year, Linkfire will also launch a widget that can provide a preview of tracks, full albums or even playlists that could be embedded in websites and blogs. This would mean a 30-second preview, which could then push you to an open platform or invite you to connect to one – something similar to Bop.fm. There will also be a customisable video player that could be used to share with superfan communities in advance.

Linkfire only launched in September of this year but has over 250 users and 2,500 links created to date. For the segmented music space we operate in, this is a vital tool to super-serve all your fans.

Try it out here: http://theavener.lnk.to/FadeOutLines 

Claire Mas

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One response
  • sifr4 says:

    Tried it. It’s a fail.

    Distribution platforms keep their content metadata in different formats. One platform might list an artist as “Artist1 & Artist2” while another might list an artist as “Artist1 (feat. Artist2)”. And yet another might add the “(feat. Artist2)” credit into the track title. Linkfire cannot discern between these platform idiosyncrasies. So you end up having to manually source most of the links anyway. If their product is automation, they don’t have a product yet.

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