Stge.io is a customisable artist landing page builder developed by graphic and web designers Matt McGinnis and Jake Caggige. Besides offering more brandable landing pages, Stage also offers an alternative for anyone who’s looking to start selling online – without needing to coordinate hosting, a site builder, and payment processing.
McGinnis and Caggige met at school and both started specialising in websites for musicians, launching their company Stage Design Group around a year ago. They’d been observing the flurry of smart link sites – often auto-generated pages by independent artist’s distributors – but found most of these sites to have a lacklustre design. They saw an opportunity to lean on their web design background and offer these types of links in a way that would look more like an actual artist website.
So Stage emerged as a SaaS (Software as a Service) platform, where artists can come in and build their own website with all of the most important links, at a fraction of the cost of having McGinnis and Caggige build one for them.
A landing page toolbox “on steroids”
Caggige calls Stage the “toolbox of a landing page, that can contain social links, link stacks, music videos and more – and puts it on steroids for musicians as they can customise it around a release rather than having an auto-generated one. It’s a highly customisable mobile page allowing artists with little to no coding web design experience to match their aesthetic.
Stage links follow a Reddit-like format (stge.io/name/username) – but artists can also purchase a domain and redirect to their Stage link. If you look at Nick Leng’s artist link as an example, you can see a responsive page with a music video, DSP links, and “now streaming” placed prominently at the top of the page.
Landing pages are not restricted to only promoting music: further down you’ll find other artist promotions too: where artists can promote various different activities alongside each other, like music, merch, tickets, reviews / interviews, etc. This is akin to what other smart link providers have introduced as ‘Artist Bio Links’ (Linkfire) or ‘BigLinks’ (ToneDen). With a Stage link, users can also integrate newsletter signups, SMS signups, Discord server invite embed, or a booking contact – as well as links to the artist website and online articles.
E-commerce baked in to keep things simple
Stage’s analytics will give you insights into how many people have visited your link and what content they’re interacting with the most. One of the features that’s a clear differentiator to other platforms is its recently introduced e-commerce integration. McGinnis explains how they “started integrating e-commerce because as web developers and designers we have had the experience where it’s difficult to have a web shop. We want musicians to focus on their work and created a streamlined and simplified experience for them.”
The team says that one of the reasons that drove them to make this feature was the increased transparency emerging around what many artists are making from streaming. They wanted to create a tool for artists to generate additional revenues that was easier than creating a whole Shopify store – but would enable them to simply sell directly to their fans.
You won’t need any web hosting, domain names, site builders, or payment processors to start selling physical products via Stage. You will only need to connect a PayPal or Venmo account with your profile, and upload info about your product. Technical processes such as shipping calculations, automated Emails, inventory management, and even shipping fulfillment notifications are handled automatically through the Stage backend. Artists can get daily payouts of their product sales, which can be an important source of revenue.
Attractive to artists familiar with Bandcamp
According to the Stage team, a big percentage of their user base currently are artists themselves – “people that are uploading their music to Bandcamp”. Bandcamp is a good comparison: Stage could be described as a marriage of the traditional smart link service with some Bandcamp-like features.
McGinnis and Caggige have new ideas for Stage in the pipeline and say that the next feature that will launch will be a digital download service, so that artists can upload beat packs, full albums, and so on, not dissimilar to how they would on Bandcamp.
There’s some tempting differences in fees, however: Stage receives a 10% processing fee including payment processing fees, compared to Bandcamp’s 10-15% excluding payment processing fees. Of course, one huge benefit of Bandcamp is its community and the way the platform recommends music to its users based on what their friends bought and their past purchases. This is something that Stage is keen on exploring too, and McGinnis and Caggige mention that they are looking to create this community aspect to support the discovery of new artists.
Stage currently offers two membership tiers: a free one, and Pro tier that costs $10/month. The main differences that the Pro tier brings is the ability to upload more products, and additional audience-building tools, like newsletter signups, and SMS signups. Try Stage here: Stge.io