Tag Archive for 'TrueAnthem'

Ad-Funded Music: trueAnthem, WE7

“Brought to you by Fruit of the Loom.”

How would you feel about your music being preceded by a brief recorded message from the underwear maker? Are fans just as willing to listen to audio advertising at the start of songs as they are willing to put up with seeing ads? If it means they get the song for free, apparently the answer is yes.

We’ve talked about bands and brands partnering up (like Throw Me The Statue in an Urban Outfitters commercial) and the trend is clearly not slowing down. In this new frontier, it’s becoming imperative to think outside the box and explore new media. Even CBS is doing it: OMG Boobies: Victoria’s Secret on Your Mobile. One of the most prevalent examples of band/brand partnerships that we’re seeing as of late is the ad-supported music model.

trueAnthem, which we first stumbled across because of their early work with Ultraviolet Sound, has been forging ahead and signing more and more bands. Led by Brad Barnes, they are pioneering a “new way for independent and undiscovered artists and bands to get paid while sharing their music with their fans for free – and without having to sign away their lives to a major music label”. Check out their widget (which you can grab and post wherever) – you can download the artists’ album for free. Free, as long as you don’t mind hearing and ad at the start of each song.

Personally, I don’t mind at all. The folks at trueAnthem (probably largely thanks to Emaleigh) have done a great job of pairing the right brand with each band and presenting the sponsor’s messaging in an appropriate way. If you browse through the various bands, you notice brands like Guitar Center, Steve Madden, and Baby Phat… and when you hear that band’s music you can’t help but nod and go “yep… that’s a fit”.

Another interesting example is the recently launched digital music service WE7, which has “all four majors and hundreds of independent labels via The Orchard on board.” Compensation is derived from ad revenues.

What seemed like a distant pipedream not too long ago is certainly becoming the new reality. The music industry simply must accept that the new generation of music consumers – you know, the ones who grew up with the internet and can’t imagine a world without it – expect to get their music for free (one way or another). And they want to consume it in their own way, on their own time, and in their preferred way. So, we might as well make that possible and find ways to still pay the artists. And that is exactly what WE7 has done.

A key ingredient in this equation is obviously appropriate pairing of bands and brands. The sites and services who do this best will likely come out on top. The advertisers need to reach their target demographics. And the music capturing that particular audience might be just the vehicle to get them there.

Ultraviolet Sound – Another Great Music 2.0 Band

Recently, I had the pleasure of discovering a band that totally rocked my world from the second they walked on stage. Following the Presidio 10 race, an event put on by The Guardsmen and the Ashlyn Dyer Foundation (two San Francisco-based charity organizations), there was a party for the runners, organizers, supporters etc. Click here for more great pics of the event taken by Guru Khalsa of TheAList. Though I was only able to catch a few of their songs, Ultraviolet Sound secured itself a place on my list of Hot immediately.

Not only do they have that funky, gritty, electro pop punk sound that I love, but they (like more and more bands every day) are challenging convention and embracing the changing music industry. Ultraviolet has teamed up with TrueAnthem, which is an “advertiser supported online music promotion and distribution company” all about connecting the band to the fan. You can listen to and download their songs on TrueAnthem for free, because at the start of each song is a brief “sponsored by” message delivered by the band itself. Howard Stern, anyone? Not sure if he was the first one to read the radio’s commercials himself, but he certainly popularized the concept.

While this model won’t work for everyone, I know I for one will gladly listen to a quick message if I get the song for free. Honestly, I’m surprised more media outlets haven’t embraced the Howard Stern style method of having the person/people/band people are tuning in for deliver the ads. San Francisco’s dance station, Energy 92.7, does this well. With any other radio station (yes, I still listen to traditional radio in the car) I change the station when commercials come on. But when Fernando and Greg are doing their show, I gladly listen to all their ads cause their delivery is priceless – they make going to the dentist or mattress shopping sound fun. Since I have come to trust their recommendations I am more likely to check out the things they advertise than what I hear elsewhere.

We see more and more examples of free music, almost-free music, listen-for-free music and pay-the-band-not-the-label music sources everyday. Those who are still clinging onto traditional models – and can’t pull their heads out of their asses – sit around and bemoan the crumbling of the music industry, stressing over declining CD sales and cursing today’s youth and their sense of entitlement and wanting everything for free. Meanwhile, others are watching with interest as the industry evolves, are adapting to it and celebrating the myriad new opportunities being created.

Last.fm is a great example. They recently demonstrated that giving users access to free streaming music encourages music purchasing. Since their “free, on demand” service launched, they have experienced a 119% increase in their sales through Amazon. Those are some nice stats, people. Even MySpace Music is looking to the stream-for-free model to increase record sales.

Let’s support bands like Ultraviolet Sound, explore the many new ways of discovering, making, and distributing music, and evolve the shit out of this industry, shall we?