Sunday, April 24, 2011

FanTrail - The Next Phase Of Music Social Networking?

The recent South By Southwest conference saw a new kind of social network for musicians debut called FanTrail. It's a new kind of network based on a free iPhone app that not only allows artists to reach out to the fans, but to tap into their highly useful and valuable social information.

One of FanTrail's features, called LoveMail (kind of a dorky name) allows musicians to record short audio messages to fans, which is certainly a lot more personal than a text message that might be ghostwritten. Another feature, LoveMeter, ranks fans loyalty by measuring their music purchasing and concert activity, which could be a data goldmine during a marketing campaign.

According to an article in the New York Times,
"Using FanTrail, artists can tailor messages or commercial offers to specific groups of fans, identified by location or LoveMeter ranking. For instance, a band touring in Chicago might invite only its biggest fans there to a secret show, or offer them premium merchandise. A virtual tip-jar allows artists to collect extra money from fans or raise donations for their favorite cause.

Calling it a “psychographic GPS,” Richard Nichols, the manager of The Roots, imagined that FanTrail could be used for advanced forms of crowdsourcing like testing out new tracks on only the biggest and most loyal followers."
Other similar mobile services are beginning to pop up. Skygrid Groups and Mobile Roadie also have apps built specifically for artists to reach out to fans via their smart phones.

It's good to know that social networking continues to evolve, although some of the bigger networks do show some signs of stagnating a bit (Facebook anyone?).
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