The June 2022 Sandbox Guide is a budget marketing special – we spoke to the experts and found out the new tools, tactics, and strategies they’re using to squeeze costs, whilst enabling high-impact campaigns. In the Guide, we compiled all the platforms and ideas suggested by our experts into a toolkit – but we realised that there many more great platforms to help cut costs.
So we dug deep into Music Ally’s Tools archive, and pulled out some of the platforms that we have profiled int he last 12 months that will help you save money. Below are platforms that can help you build websites, sell merch, create viral competitions, and throw listening parties (and more) – all at affordable prices.
Creating websites: Band Theme
Even in the age of TikTok and Fortnite, artists need websites to own the relationship with their fans, or promoting current activities – or simply for SEO purposes. So what if there was a tool designed for artists’ needs, with the power and flexibility of WordPress – but as simple to use as Squarespace et al.?
That’s the promise of Band Theme, a brand new website builder specifically designed with music in mind. It was developed by the team behind The Creative Corporation, who’ve been offering strategy, design and digital services for clients such as UMG, AWAL, SME and Domino for 20 years.
Band Theme’s pricing is very competitive. Access to a theme is £85 / $119 / €99 a year, which includes support.
Smart link service: Amplify
We’ve written about a handful of music smart linking services recently, including Linkfire, Feature·fm, ToneDen or stge·io. Bristol-based Amplify is one of them and aims to stand out with a very extensive set of features – plus outstanding artist branding capabilities.
Amplify says that their platform is being used by 80,000 artists and creators, including Darkoo and Joey Bada$$, to grow their profile and engage fans. In April this year, Amplify·link 2.0 was launched including a host of valuable new features including donation and merchandising options as well as newsletter signups that can be integrated across all links.
Since we wrote this Tools piece, Amplify has changed its price to the best one of all: free – with all premium features. You can hear the team discuss it in our podcast interview.
Selling merch: Fanbace
Merchandise is an important revenue stream for artists, and a means to create stronger bonds with their fans. With a focus on removing the barriers of the traditional merchandise model, sustainability and maximising merch sales channels – Fanbace is aiming to become one of the go-to solutions, especially for the independent artist sector.
Fanbace ‘s dashboard enables artists and their teams to create and sell print-on-demand merch to fans globally. There’s no commitment or minimum order quantity involved, which removes the barrier of entry of the traditional merchandising model.
Mark Ryan, CEO & Co-Founder of Fanbace, explains how it works:“We have a global network of partners around the world […] We use the same blank products in every territory around the world – so if a fan in the US was buying a t-shirt from an artist in the UK.”
Viral competitions: Feature•fm
When picking one of the many smart link providers for your artists, looking beyond their core functionalities is key. Functions that help drive important marketing goals – like saving music, or DSP follows – are of special interest. With that in mind, smart linking and music marketing platform Feature.fm has a new contest feature which will be interesting for many artist teams.
The new tool allows artists and their teams to create prizes and incentives for the fans who take specified useful actions, where each action undertaken by the fan earns them points.
The competition feature has just launched for the Pro Artist and Pro Marketer tiers. Free users will also have access, but with some restrictions on how many actions can be added.
Listening parties: Vertigo
Listening parties were a big deal in 2021! It makes a lot of sense: they drive up excitement during release week, allow artists to interact with fans – and most importantly, they drive concurrent streams! Vertigo Music aims to add even more to the listening party experience.
Though listening parties have been a crucial element of release campaigns – especially during Covid-19 – many of the available solutions to host these events are not necessarily ideal. As Daniel Yen, CEO of Vertigo Music, puts it: “A lot of artists hold listening parties on Twitter or Discord or they hold Facebook Live or Instagram Live sessions and then on these listening parties ‘go stream my music’ is the big call-to-action and they send all their links to their Spotify and Apple Music. Vertigo is looking to actually innovate that experience where they can have that social experience with their fans, but their music is actually streaming at the same time.”
Artists can claim and verify their Artist Lounge (their space on the app) for free, unlocking additional marketing features for them. For example, they can host live video, live audio, and chat with the fans.