Band vs Noise Ep. 10: "All-in-One vs À La Carte music marketing services and platforms."

In a world full of music marketing services and platforms, music marketing consultants and coaches with their own favourite tools, and advice coming from every direction (incl. from your "well read" non-musical uncle who has never created a song in his life) how are we the creators meant to decide what tools to choose and use to take our music towards our artistic goals? 

This question has plagued both myself and my band mates in the past, so in an attempt to clarify my own thinking around the idea of "music marketing service platforms" I decided to break the mindset around music tools into two distinct categories: All-in-One platforms and À la carte services. 

What was I looking for?

  1. A solid reputation for online-support; as I'm based in Australia I want to know that I don't have to make an angry international phone call just to get some help when things go wrong (and they always ALWAYS go wrong!)
  2. I know I'm going to need stable yet flexible website hosting with high-up-time and modern features.
  3. A domain name (a .com .net .etc) for my new site.
  4. (Ideally) The ability to host and serve high quality audio and high quality images (plus the ability to easily embed high quality videos from a range of sources). 
  5. An email service that allows for good growth without dramatic increases in cost.
  6. Social integration on the website/email tools/music players etc without slowing down those primary technologies.
  7.  An understanding of the effects of exchange rates on artists in countries like Australia where the purchasing power of our $AUS has ranged dramatically over the past 5-6 years (so if a company has a history of large and/or regular price hikes, they're OUT!). 

The All-in-One platform (the Pro's and Con's) 

  1. Pro - Single point of contact when you need to ask a question or push for new features
  2. Pro - Fully featured product-set where the user experience (UE) should be similar enough to feel both familiar and comfortable. 
  3. Pro - All-in-One services in the music marketing world seem to provided by established companies, where their longevity and customer loyalty is easier to quantify, and hopefully the company itself is more financially stable. 
  4. Pro - A single music upload process can allow you access to everything from iTunes to Spotify, to music sync and to music publishing, all being visible within a single user interface (UI) and revenue centre. 
  5. Pro - a paid All-in-One service encourages payers to actually use and engage with the product to avoid paying real money for no reason - this is less often the case with free or trial-period based products from Start-Ups and less established companies. 
  6. Pro - over time your All-in-One provider may establish partnerships with other premium providers or even purchase entire companies and integrate them into your existing service (so longterm you might not actually miss out on as much of the specialisation that a'la carte provides as you might imagine). 
  7. Con: All-in-One projects might be charging you for feature-sets that aren't yet available in all regions of the world (think paying for premium music publishing services that can't yet collect publishing from all the regions where your band is getting plays).
  8. Con: Single Point Of Failure!!! Imagine some disgruntled user with the skills to take down or at the very least interrupt your All-in-One service decides to direct their energies at doing just that - you might see your website, music hosting, image hosting, email service provider and more taken down in one fell swoop. Not good! 
  9. Con: As all features are included in the nominal-cost of the All-in-One service it is much harder to correctly identify what you're actually paying for each feature within the set. This may worry some bands and musicians that would like to know if their service provider is charging them premium dollars for functions such as email which is something that is both easy and affordable to obtain from specialised email service providers. 

The À La Carte platform (Pro's and Con's)

  1. Pro: The flexibility to mix-and-match platforms and services that offer advanced and/or specialised technical knowledge and deploy that advantage within specific areas of your music marketing toll box. This flexibility also allows bands and musicians to drop and replace a single tool if it's not what your chasing or a better a'la carte option comes onto the market.
  2. Pro: The clarity offered by paying for premium features, and not paying for free or freemium tools, makes it much easier to clearly identify the nominal-cost of specific tools when they're broken up from the whole. 
  3. Pro: the impact of a negative exchange rate movements can be mitigated somewhat buy substituting some of the less essential paid-services in your tool box for free of freemium (think going with Mail Chimp instead of aWeber for email). 
  4. Con: Multiple passwords and log-ins, differing levels and quality of online security and fraud protection. Bands will also expose themselves to much wider range or customer service principles, business motivations and financial positions (as many a'la carte music marketing services are venture funded Start-Ups). 
  5. Con: Multiple points of contact around album launch time, single release time, tour marketing time, etc - this might become both laborious and even tiresome for a band or musician with a lot on their minds already. 

Thanks so much for reading, and if these ideas interest you please subscribe to podcast, or just give this a share somewhere that matters to you, with people who matter to you. ~ Josh

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