Music apps

5 powerful music apps that should make intermediaries nervous


By Eliot Van Buskirk,

At the start of the Web 1.0 beta (that is, in the 90s), most of us who paid attention thought that the musical intermediaries were about to disappear. Technology on the horizon would allow bands to sell tickets, merchandise, and recordings directly to fans, while promoting their music through early internet radio stations, where payola and corporate influence overwhelmed. the FM dial was not a factor.

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Everything seemed to work outside the usual boundaries of labels, publishers, distributors, traders, retailers, ticket sellers, promoters and the rest of the middlemen that had been created over the last hundred years between artists and artists. the fans.

That didn’t happen, in part because the music doesn’t take place in a vacuum. Musicians, like everyone else, need a support system to create a market. And so Ticketmaster still dominates ticketing, and in just about every other area (sales, radio, promotion, social media), bands still go through middlemen to reach fans – often at the cost of considerable friction, even if they run their own label. . There’s the 30 cents they have to pay music retailers for every sale on Amazon or iTunes, not to mention the hundreds of millions of dollars in cash and equity paid by Spotify and other startups as artists go. complain about less than a penny royalty checks.

Maybe it’s the social media bubble, reminiscent of those heady days in the 90s in San Francisco when your pet turtle could have gotten funding for a dog cat food start-up, but we sniff a return of the “direct to fan” ecosystem. This time, part could stick:

Let’s start here, because people love to hate on Ticketmaster. Instinctive enemies are somewhat justified in their loathing of a company that appears to charge music fans for doing additional work by replacing cashiers. But the enemies are at least partially wrong as they tend not to recognize that the “convenience costs” are typically shared between Ticketmaster, the promoter, the venue, the management, the bands themselves, and possibly other parties. Yes, a lot of bands you love and hate Ticketmaster are snapping up some of that fee.

This is one of the reasons that Ticketmaster is not going anywhere, especially now that it has merged with Live Nation. It’s just too ingrained, and pretty much everyone except music fans love this fee. However, there is one flaw in Ticketmaster’s armor: the allocation of tickets to the bands themselves. As noted by The New York Times‘given the Ticketmaster fee circumvention of the String Cheese Incident jam group, Ticketmaster’s standard practice is to give groups 8% of tickets to a show, which they can do whatever they want – sell them, give them away to friends, family and superfans sprinkle them on the homeless or whatever.

The bands are monopolies. There is only one. This gives them some bargaining power to ask for more than 8 percent of the gate. They can sell that, or 10 percent, 20 percent, or even 30 percent of the tickets, assuming they can lobby Ticketmaster and the sites for more tickets, like an industry insider who wishes to remain anonymous. told they would. Among the contenders to help them offload this inventory, Crowdsurge is particularly promising. It’s a white-label service that doesn’t charge anything at the grassroots level – a slim middleman that allows groups (and venues and promoters) to essentially run their own mini-Ticketmaster.

Music and merchandise store: Bandcamp

Most fans don’t go straight to Bandcamp when they want to purchase a download because it doesn’t have everything like iTunes and Amazon do. However, if they visit a place on the web that the group controls at least part of (the group’s website, Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, Twitter, etc.), they might find themselves directed to Bandcamp to buy stuff or even download them for free.