This is the third part in a series of posts looking at how to market music on Facebook. Part 1, looking at some basics and the iLike service, is here and Part 2, looking at Freeload App, is here.
While the last two posts have looked at ways bands can try gain more fans by working on their own, Headliner.FM allows bands to work together to boost their fanbase, revolving around the exchange of ‘Band Bucks’ an in-service currency used to trade promotional messages with other bands fans amongst the 27,000 strong pool or artists using the service.
When you join Headliner you are awarded Band Bucks based on the number of fans you have (this service also connects to Twitter and Myspace accounts). Your bucks will grow in tandem with your fanbase, or if other acts join the service because you have referred them. It’s amongst the 27k userbase where the Band Bucks come in use. Essentially this is a promotion service where you send out messages to the fans of other bands, called ‘shout outs’. These other bands aren’t selected at random, but chosen based on genre of music or location. The other band can then decide whether or not to post that message out to their fans, who in turn can choose to like the message or not. If the other band do post the message they get paid from your stash of Band Bucks, and of course if you do a shout out you get paid in Band Bucks.
Quick Pro’s & Con’s
The pro’s to this are the unique way you can contact bands that might have fans who could potentially also be into your music. The ‘shout outs’ can be promotional in nature, pushing deals, competitions, free downloads, ticket discounts, merchandise whatever you think might be of interest. There’s a limit of three requests per day for these shout outs, and with Band Bucks there’s at least some control over this preventing the service from being over-run with spam. Also since the service integrates with Twitter the promo messages can only be 120 chartacters in length plus a shortened URL. So they’re short but sweet. And for bands with no idea of self control 120 chars is plenty.
I’m not sure if this sits in with the pro’s or con’s. It’s promoted as a free service, while it’s actually a freemium service (free with paid for aspects). Don’t get me wrong developers do have to make money and it’s an interesting enough product that can at least be road tested first. The three tier service offers a basic package with analytics for free. At $30 a month the Pro package offers better analytics, the ability to reach more fans, schedule messages to post later, and geo targeting meaning you can reach local fans (the free version only offers genre targeting). At $50 a month the upper tier offers better analytics, ability to reach even more fans and the running to be in a featured artist. By far the $30 pack seems the best deal, but it really depends on what you get out of it.
What could be useful with a service like this is to target the fans of towns your band is visiting, or using your tracks and videos as free downloads for fans of other bands to try out. Even trying to be more creative with the messages might get you in front of more eyeballs. 120 characters might not seem like much but if you find the right hook, ensure your Facebook presence looks professional and has plenty of content to show how good your band are, then getting potential new fans will certainly be a lot easier. You’re not going to conquer the world with this service, but it might get a few more likes.