j sider

“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.”

BandPage CEO J Sider is telling Music Ally about his company’s new partnership with eBay’s secondary ticketing service StubHub, which goes live today. But he’s also explaining how it fits with the firm’s wider mission.

A band is a business, and the fans are customers. And now we’re helping those bands reach 15 million fans each month that are engaging with music-related tickets on StubHub.”

StubHub is the latest partnership for BandPage and its drive to help musicians put their official biographies, photos and merch / VIP experience offers in front of more fans. StubHub joins the likes of Spotify, Vevo, Xbox Music, Shazam, Google, Rhapsody, Rdio and LyricFind on BandPage’s list of alliances.

“We’ve got partnerships with the major streaming services, lyric sites, video platforms, search engines and now ticketing sites,” says Sider. “The goal across the board is to look at where millions of fans are engaging with musicians where today they’re not necessarily seeing the offers or the latest content. And we want to drive billions of dollars of new revenue for musicians by helping to open up those channels.”

Although biographies and photos are part of this partnership, the StubHub deal is also geared towards commerce, with artists including OK Go, George Clinton and Switchfoot among the first to make merch and experiences – think backstage meet’n’greets and other in-person treats – available to fans buying tickets for their gigs.

Sider says that it’s the ideal place to promote these offers, because fans are already in a buying frame of mind. “Across the board on marketplaces you see healthy conversion rates of over 5%, where on the artist website it’s generally about 1% or below,” he says.

“The really impactful thing about this deal with StubHub is that fans are already there with the mentality of purchasing, and the checkout flow is very efficient and streamlined, which is not necessarily always the case on an artist website. That’s what makes the difference: fans on that site are five times more likely to buy something.”

Sider says the deal is also proof of StubHub’s desire to “open up their doors to be more artist-friendly and drive more revenues for musicians”, and he’s keen to stress that it’s not just a partnership about the most popular artists.

“Yes, we work with big names that put these types of packages in their BandPage store, but we also have up-and-coming bands around the world,” he says. “Even if you’re a band playing to 100 or 200 people a night, you can still put these in-person meet’n’greets together, or dinner with the band before a show. They sell incredibly well.”


The StubHub deal is US-only at launch, but will expand globally later this year. According to BandPage, “nominal buyer and seller fees” will apply, as with other transactions on the secondary ticketing site.

One risk in this partnership for artists comes directly from that secondary nature: the danger that fans will be cross at the sight of their favourite artists trying to sell them merch and VIP experiences on a site where tickets can already go for a premium on their official price. Mightn’t it lead to accusations of cashing in, at a time when secondary ticketing is under fire in countries like the UK?

Basically, is this truly fan-friendly? “As a business, this is a really incredible channel to reach my customers. My customers are already over there and happy,” he says, adopting the point of view of an artist.

StubHub have 15 million monthly customers, and they went there because they like the brand and the experience there. Otherwise they wouldn’t go there, right? Fans are already enjoying that experience, and now they can see more information about those artists, and something like meeting them in person is a pretty exciting experience too.”

Music Ally also talked to Sider about BandPage’s business more generally. What partnerships are working best, for example? He steers clear of specifics, but stresses that BandPage sees the scale of its partners – from Spotify to Vevo – as an important asset to musicians.

“You see incredible amounts of traffic on these platforms compared to artists’ websites. In general you see fans are spending about 10 times more time engaging with artists on these platforms, and we can see through our partners how many times fans are coming back to these platforms compared with the artists’ websites,” he says.

What about streaming partnerships specifically, though, with the likes of Spotify, Rhapsody and Rdio? In theory, the ability to drive a portion of a band’s streaming listeners through to buy merchandise and experiences should be one of the best arguments in favour of streaming as the engine for their wider income, rather than something simply to be judged by its per-stream payouts.

In practise, BandPage’s partnerships haven’t helped to stem the flow of criticism from some artists of streaming, while the integrations still seem lower-profile than they could be – for example, on Spotify, BandPage offers only appear in artist profiles, rather than being shown to fans in other parts of its apps or mailouts.

Sider is more optimistic. “We work very closely with Spotify, and they are investing heavily in helping to strengthen the relationship between their platform and musicians. I talk with them weekly, and we’re sending a lot of fans to musicians’ stores every week and every month. It’s starting to make a difference,” he says.

We’re looking at how we can continue to improve the click-through and conversion rate to drive more revenue for musicians. I have a call with them tomorrow to look at the implementation as it is today, and a number of ways we’ve been looking at doing things differently – of integrating things or displaying things differently – so it drives even more revenue for musicians.

“These partners like Spotify and StubHub are the ones leaning in and leading the way, and it’s an important time for music and musicians in general. Traditional revenue streams from recorded music have gone down a considerable amount, so what are the other ways we’re generating revenue and moving forward as a business? These new platforms are popping up and becoming very powerful, and we’re working on behalf of every musician in the world to open up these new channels.”

Music Ally’s next Learn Live webinar will help you understand what’s required for artists to thrive in new international markets!

Music Ally's Head of Insight

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