Artistco: Case Study
A platform by CME exploring a new business model in the music industry that allows artists and fanbases to connect
O to 11,000
artists and fans signups during the first
2 months of beta release, from scratch
(visitor to artist signup)
cover songs submitted by independent artists,
as far as Contest results
The Music Business - Reinvented
“Without music, life would be a mistake” ― Friedrich Nietzsche.
Making a living from creating and performing music is a true labour of love, not for the faint-hearted. A career in music is open only to those with the courage, skill, passion and the ambition to pursue a life of creativity. And in the 21st century, its harder than ever to make money from it.
Not so long ago, the music industry business model was simple. Recurring revenues - royalties - were paid to artists by music publishers (record labels) and settled on the actual sales of physical product. : First vinyl LP and 12” records, cassette tape, and more recently CDs.
Then the internet came along in the 90s, and everything changed forever. Records became MP3. Analogue became digital, and all music could suddenly be easily copied with no perceivable loss of quality and distributed without costs.
Over a period of 15 years, what once was the “drugs and sex and rock and roll” industry, marked by enormous wealth, glamour and excess, sharply declined in value as a new generation of fans - the Millennial generation - grew up without ever having to pay for music. The days of a teenager saving up for weeks to buy their band’s latest work were long gone.
Whilst other revenue streams such as paid streaming services are now showing steady growth this massive decline in sales of recorded music has yet to be offset, and worryingly for artists, the lion’s shared of the revenues are going to the streaming platforms rather than the creators. In 2018 the global music market is worth less than two-thirds of what it was worth in 1999.
Artisco: Bringing Artists and Audiences Together
Artisco.com is the brainchild of Zhao Yitian, a well-known entrepreneur and respected figure in the Asian music industry who is deeply involved in music technology over the last 25 years. Zhao is the founder of CME, the music tech company behind the beloved Xkey portable Bluetooth keyboard.
Artistco.com is a platform that lets musicians connect with and market their music to their fanbase with no middleman. The main advantage for musicians is that they get 100% of the revenue, which means that they are fairly rewarded for their work and that makes it possible for the artist to continue making music.
The platform also has inbuilt social gamification which means that users collect free music credits the more they share their favourite artist's music online. The more people share tracks from their favourite musicians and the more artists acquire new subscribers, the bigger the rewards for fans - free music credits from the platform and other goodies such as concert tickets
Getting Musicians to Try Artistco
CME engaged Mi4 to launch the Artistco platform. The first step in a SaaS marketing strategy is customer acquisition, and in the case of Artisco, we had not only a new brand but also a new concept that we had to convince musicians to sign up to.
However, musicians are naturally sceptic souls, perfectionists, as well as understandably protective of their work. So credibility and trust were paramount in our communication. But at the same time, musicians are also highly passionate and knowledgeable about their instrument and the surrounding technology whether they are a guitarist, a keyboard player, DJ or an electronic music producer.
To find the correct audience Mi4 built a series of Facebook campaigns. We created advanced interest-based audiences spanning music genres, instruments, model references, Facebook groups, production software and artist. About 300 ad variations have been A/B tested towards segmented audiences, in order to find the “sweet spot” that would get musician’s attention.
After several campaign iterations, which included several retargeting campaigns we were also able to create “lookalike audiences” and there we saw an extraordinary level of results which built the critical mass that Artisco required to progress to the next stage
𝄞 There’s a House....in New Orleans… ♫
Once we had our musos on board it was time to build some excitement and drive some buzz and fun. We launched our first cover song contest to the Artisco community, to cover the classic by The Anima’s “House of the Rising Sun” in any style of their choice.
This was an opportunity for the community to get to know each other and to showcase their skills. We were amazed by the talent on and divergence of interpretations of this beloved classic display.
The results, we think, speak for themselves.
CME and Mi4 share entrepreneurial DNA as well as a passion for music technology and have been working together for six years. Our relationship goes beyond a marketing supplier since Mi4 is responsible for a large part of CME’s company-wide digital strategy as well as overseeing product development managing remote teams in Asia and Europe.
As CME continues to identify new avenues and test new ways to monetize music and in today’s brave new digital world Mi4 will be right there to help them realise their vision.