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Building an independent music platform – your feedback so far

What your survey results have said so far.

A while ago I launched a few surveys to get your feedback on what is most important to fans, artists and labels to help me look into what a new music-selling platform could look like. These surveys are ongoing and open-ended so do fill them in but here are some interesting results so far.

Fans want forever access to what they’ve purchased

Music fans all want forever access to their music. They want it DRM free and they want to redownload it at any time. Streaming availability would be nice too, but so far for the crowd who have completed the survey so far, downloads come first. That isn’t reflective of the general music landscape (we are told) but ownership for super music fans seems to be more of a priority. Fans also welcome messages directly from artists – especially notifications on new releases and they also want to search by genre.

Discovery of new artists is something both fans and artists want more of

Both fans and artists have left an ongoing theme that whilst music distribution seems quite easy, discovering something new is not. Fans want to search by release date and “sounds like”, whilst artists place value on curators being able to craft a selection of new material to fit in and appeal to a wider audience. The consensus so far is human interaction in this works better than automated playlists but being able to sort through the noise by various categories is also useful.

Search, ownership and ethics matter most

Easy search, owning and accessing your purchases and most of the money going to the artist are the three themes that come across from the “what is most important to you” question from fans. Clearly knowing you are supporting an (indie/smaller) artist makes a difference here.

Artists lack a home and they want a place for slower conversations

One theme coming through the artist survey (and to a lesser extent labels) is that artists lack a home and they’d like to integrate their personalised shop with some kind of social element. This involves customising the look and feel of their shop to dress it for promotional reasons but the theme of discussion boards was heard loud and clear. In the additional comments, artists felt lost in the noise of social media and that a message is instantly lost. If you are a smaller artist then a discussion board felt like a natural fit for many artists to be heard through that noise. It also felt like a place they could control. I’d be interested in how platform-hopping causes problems for artists as you might focus on one area, miss another and then feel less of a person for doing so. You’re not, don’t worry.

Everyone hates bots and fire emojis

Bots and low-value fire emoji comments make reviews and comments tedious. Whilst a spambot will help, there is absolutely something around making sure comments add value for either reviews or descriptions.

Other things to note

Licensing, direct mail, links to websites and social media and even the ability to insert a CD and register it to a profile to show your true music catalogue are all things that popped up. Commission from labels and artists to each other and to the platform needs to be transparent and easy to understand. The percentage varies quite a lot for what a platform would be expected to take – anything from 5 – 30% has been submitted so far.

So what’s next?

The surveys will remain open to gather more info as people fill them in. I’m going to start investigating the technical feasibilities in the meantime. Thanks to everyone who has filled the survey in to date. I can’t promise I’ll be able to build something or pull this off but I’m certainly giving it some very serious thought.

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