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  • Writer's pictureGreg Orr

The online world of music you will never discover in a record store.

Updated: Sep 24, 2018

As the major record labels starting to shrink and amalgamate , sales of physical media shrunk year on year.. A small band of online platforms started to arise, to give those who were left behind by the major Labels. a new voice, and a new way to have a career. This would be accomplished by selling media and interacting with there fans in a way not seen before. This was part of a movement called democratisation , which is a shift in power, a spreading of power back to those who have not shared in it.

As the democratisation moment happened platforms such as Napster allowed for pirating of music to occur. It caught the major labels of guard they didn’t know what to do

Don, Kasumuen Records comment on major labels reaction to file sharing.

Profits dived , physical media sales dropped the labels had no answer to this. With music now seemingly free to share these online platforms developed a new strategy. Offer the music fan something they can’t get from streaming and downloading. This would encompass engaging with music fans . Making the fan a part of the process of making the music through online platforms, crowdfunding and social media.

First came Myspace, it was mainly known as a precursor to Facebook, at one point it was more visited than Google, it allowed artists to connect with fans and stream there new music at the same time. At its height it had over 100 million users and was a major way to discover indie artists and home made musicians .

Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook would offer 75million to buy Myspace but was rejected, later with Myspace dying he would introduce similar functionality in his Facebook Platform with artist pages and Facebook messenger able to connect fan with artist.

2008 bought about Bandcamp , it could be argued that Bandcamp was the biggest shifting of power back to the self managed music artist yet seen. Bandcamp provided nearly every tool necessary for the home made Indie musician to make and distribute there own music. With a simple interface the artists could now sell physical cd's, vinyl, stream there recordings and sell merchandise . All the credit card payments were taken care of for you. You didn't need a website as they took care of that to. One would get an email when you have sold something, then you ship it. It also gave the artists the ability to value add , by signing cd's offering extras to there fans.

Pledge music is a platform similar to Bandcamp. It differs though in a variety of ways not least the fact that it has a crowdfunding basis. Artists put up a campaign and you make a repurchase of a product that help funds the end products recording and manufacture.

Due to the vast array of artists on the site, we attract a similarly diverse group of fans. It’s safe to say the majority of them are pretty hardcore superfine of the artists on the site. But we do also have a community of music lovers who use the site to discover new bands and support some of our other smaller artists in their crowdfunding endeavours. Luke Arthur, Pledge Music

Industry wide sales of physical media are dropping but not for pledge music.

We are seeing growth, the growth is in physical media, thats what were all about. Signed cd’s are the highest selling item on the platform, and they are frequently supplemented by offering fans to get their name in liner notes, numbering copies and much much more, onto of this we sell a lot of unique experiences on the platform. Luke Arthur, Pledge Music

As well as physical media, a fan can acquire bundles of products such as concert tickets with a cd and a vinyl. Hand made items, hand written letters and exclusive releases only sold on the platform.

With all the competition now for peoples attention , these platforms have to a big degree attacked the problem via direct engagement with the music fans. People thrive on the feeling of being connected . They also yearn for the feeling of engagement

For the Fans we’re there to bridge the gap between them and their favourite artists . Fans can come to the website and choose from a wide range of carefully curated exclusive offerings that, intern, contribute to the success of an artists campaign. We’re essentially e-commerce but with the added bonus of exclusive content and products fans will find no where else. Luke Arthur, Pledge Music


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