Bands Collaborating Instead Of Competing: Cross-Promoting With Headliner.fm
In my opinion, there is changing something in the economy because of the internet. Before the internet, it was the best strategy to protect your goods from your competitors if you wanted to be successful and get rich. Nowadays, you get rich on the internet by sharing, by collaborating with other people.
A good example is the Facebook ecosystem. Facebook gives access to the data of its user base to other software developers, who build nice applications on top of the Facebook framework. Eventually we end up with a better situation for everyone: Facebook users can use great applications, Facebook has an overall better product to offer to the users and the 3rd party developers can build a business around the data gathered on Facebook.
The bottom line is: in the end you reach more by collaborating than by competing. How can we translate this to the music business and the practice of promoting artists? It is quite easy: bands can cross-promote. Artist A says that he likes band B a lot, the fans pick it up and they discover a new artist. Band B can do the same thing in return.
Headliner.fm is a power tool to cross-promote via social media. In the scheme below (made by Board of Innovation) you can see how the system works. In fact, artists are trading fan base reach with each other. Depending on the size of your fan base (they count your Facebook fans, Twitter followers and MySpace friends), you get a bunch of 'band bucks'. With these bucks you can 'buy' promotion campaigns on the channels of other bands. If the other band approves your campaign, a message about your band is automatically posted on the Twitter or Facebook account of this band.
I think this is really a clever recommendation model to extend the fan reach of bands. The major issue, however, is the following: as an artist I must be very careful about my authenticity and credibility. I only want to recommend the bands that I like and that are relevant for my fan base. Headliner.fm thought about this and they stress that they don't send posts unless you approve them. However, that's not enough for me. I signed up for an account with my band Amatorski and I get about 5 promotion requests per day, but I didn't approve any. I think there are some weak points that Headliner.fm should improve to make this work:
- The messages of the bands that send me a promotion request contain too much 'promo talk'. I want to use my Twitter and Facebook account as an information channel, not as a sales channel. I guess the bands should get some education about this. It is like writing copy for Google or Facebook ads: it is important to find the most compelling phrasing and you must search for the best 'conversion rates' by testing different messages. Headliner.fm could offer some automatic intelligence tools for this.
- Closely related to this: I want to edit these posts which are sent to my accounts. It is my communication channel and I want to add my personal touch. The requesting band can make a suggestion, but in the end I decide which message is posted. My fans want to see it is something that I wrote. They hate and will ignore posts that look automated.
- In the overview of promotion requests I want a simple play button to hear what type of music it is. I only want to recommend the artists that I like. Now, if I see this request from the other band, it's not easy to decide fast about the quality and relevance of the music.
- It appears that I receive quite a lot of requests from hip hop artists. That's not really a good match with my own band Amatorski and the chance that I would recommend these artists is rather small. Nevertheless, users of Headliner.fm can select artists by genre to pick the targets for their promotion requests. Maybe artists need to be educated about this too. Conversion will be better if you target bands in your own niche.This is related to the first point that I made. Maybe it is also a good idea to add some recommendation intelligence from Last.fm or Pandora into the mix?
Conclusion: interesting model, but it needs some improvements. Below you find the video explaining the concept of Headliner.fm. Feel free to try it out.