A quick comparison between 2 similar music services: Spotify & SpiralFrog.
Ostensibly, they both had the same model – offer music for free, pay with ads. But SpiralFrog didn’t even get out of the gate and is now closing, whereas Spotify is burning up the ‘net and has found some well earned breathing space to experiment with its business model.
The difference? SpiralFrog focused on satisfying content owners (labels) first by ignoring customer needs and creating a clumsy, DRM-laden interface. Spotify, quite clearly, focused on creating the most attractive and useful user experience. And by doing so, people are on their side.
Spotify won people over with it’s simplicity – and with that comes a certain amount of patience with experimentation in their advertising. I heard a Spotify Windows-esque 3tone jingle before an ad recently – a subtle way to inform me that an advertiser was trying to get my attention. And it worked. And it wasn’t particularly intrusive. No, it’s not perfect and Spotify are a long way from being safe. But SpiralFrog weren’t even able to get this far.
And how is this is relevant to bands?
Focus on what your fans want, first and foremost, not what you want. Yeah, you want their email address – but they want to stream that single (or album) before they commit to downloading it, so let ’em. Don’t make them jump though hoops before letting them hear the tunes.
Try this ridiculously simple exercise before you put anything by your band online – If I was a fan, or potential fan, of my band, and not a member, how exactly would I want to hear this music, or watch this video.
Win them over with simplicity – let them hear the whole album on a dedicated page (like Bandcamp allows you to do). Direct them to free video content of the band from the same page – give away stickers.
Once they know you’re aiming to please, then you can start to experiment. But if you’re focused on making sure you, the content owner, get your way (money for that CD, emails, downloads) from day one – well, you’ll go the way of the SpiralFrog.
What I’m Listening To…