Good artists do their art for its own sake, compelled to do it despite knowing they may never make a dime off it—exactly the thing that makes it strong. It’s an interesting paradox.
Later this month, Facebook will most likely announce its new music platform. The social networking goliath is partnering with music-streaming companies Spotify, MOG and Rdio (and maybe others) in a typical Facebook integration (get someone else’s service through your FB account).
Coinciding with the expected announcement, Forbes reported that Root Music, creator of BandPages—Facebook’s top music app—has just raised $16 million in new investment, bringing the start-up’s funds up to $19.1 million.
BandPages is a free Facebook plug-in that connects musicians and listeners. According to Forbes, bands can “share songs and videos, post upcoming shows, sell tickets and even band merchandise without the cost and hassle of dealing with third parties.”
With BandPages, Spotify and the others, Facebook will have a powerful suite of music apps. Users will be able to see what their friends are listening to, swap bands, look up new bands and listen to their work, even see when they’re coming to town and get tickets to their shows.
And most of the services will be free. According to Forbes, Root Music has chosen the “freemium” route—giving away basic services and charging $1.99 a month for other services.
Spotify kind of works that way too, offering free basic service to people who get invites from friends who are already users—it starts at $4.99 a month without an invite and you pay more for premium. MOG and Rdio charge similar fees to join and get premium services.
So I get how these services are making money. But how are the musicians making money? Actually, this whole thing raises a few questions for me…
Are rock stars artists? How do artists, including musicians, make their money today in the era of Spotify and NOOKs? And are these new technologies killing or saving art?
Stay tuned for Parts 2, 3 and 4…