Technology has opened the doors to the music industry for everyone. Many thousands of newly founded artist projects and bands, all are challenged to find ways to connect with a future audience, trying to spread the word of their musical works.
Banders, a start-up based in London and LA, offers a unique approach to connect artists and their audience, even putting fans in the co-driver seat of the creative process of their beloved bands. Read on to learn all about Banders.
Who is Banders? Can you introduce us to the team?
The co-founding team at Banders is made up of Leah Hobbs, Frederik Pedersen and Cecilie Dreyer. Cecilie met Frederik at University in Aarhus where they both studied economics and business. During that time, Cecilie moved to Los Angeles where she met Leah. Leah has been based in LA for 15 years working in the intersection of film, tv, music and brand engagement.
When Cecilie later moved to London, she continued to work on the label side of the music industry and soon began dabbling with the idea of Banders to give artists a stronger position in the industry. The three of us, now based in London and LA, decided to form a company around the concept and today we are excited to introduce you to Banders.
Banders, the vision, in three sentences.
We want to engage the fans from day one; make fans take part in the creative process and they will feel ownership. This will help bands mobilise their fans as a digital street team when promoting music, so they can cut through the noise together with co-created content. A new ‘do-it-OURSELVES’ structure to facilitate effective and fan-driven content marketing around new music releases.
Give us a quick run through. How can artists use Banders? How and for whom does Banders work?
Whether you’re promoting new music or a live show, a Banders campaign should be the center of fan activation. All artists can currently create their own campaign with support from the Banders team.
So how do we activate the fans? We invite them to collaborate. The campaign page is the space and context for collaboration by showing a roadmap of activities, a description of what you’re asking fans to do, the reward they can achieve and the links you want shared within the fan network.
Let’s say the first ask is for your fans to submit a GIF that includes your track title. On the campaign page they can then see which dates they need to submit by and what they can get as a reward.
When artist starts getting submissions they are hidden until approved. Once approved, the artist gives the fan a reward and the content now lives as an official part of the artist’s campaign, ready to be shared on social media alongside a pre-save link, streaming link or whatever the artist wants to push.
Artists with a fanbase of any size can get started with this. We are here to mobilise the core of your fanbase as and when you need it. If we can mobilise 10% of advocates to help build content and spread the word, you’re already on an exponential growth path.
Talking Marketing and promotion: What has changed within the last couple of years, and what does that mean for music creators?
With 40,000 tracks released on streaming services everyday it’s hard to stand out. Further, the number of followers on social media doesn’t convert into the same value it did just a few years ago. All that matters now is the level of engagement and activity you see from fans and followers. It means that music creators can easily spend every waking hour creating content (besides music), to keep their fans engaged. It also means the cookie-cutter marketing approach some labels apply to new release campaigns, will no longer be effective and will not be worth giving up rights ownership for. We need to cultivate more artist-friendly and commercially viable routes to market.
How do you think will artist-fan relations change in the future? How should it change?
Everything starts with the relationship between then artist and the fan and the fans are expecting a co-creative experience. We believe in the prosuming nature of this relationship will grow stronger and infiltrate every step of the value chain. As we’ve shown in this graph, Banders will work towards strengthening and formalising the prosuming fans in the marketing process.
We believe this relationship should be the future, because, I think we can all agree that artists are great at making music and telling good stories, but it can be challenging to get heard in our crowded digital sphere. On the other hand, fans have the power to spread stories about bands and good music. They are also constantly looking for new ways to get access to the bands they love and want to participate in their journey in a more co-creative capacity. With the right tools, this is a match made in heaven.
Cecile, did the experience of working for one of the top consulting agencies in the entertainment industry, have any impact on deciding to found a music tech start-up? If yes, how?
Working in the independent sector, Cecilie was inspired to help the artists help themselves before coming to labels or agencies asking for help. Giving artists an opportunity to create their own momentum and strengthen their bargaining power, will give them access to more advantageous deals.
Banders, like ForTunes, tries to empower artists using technology. Having to write good songs, while setting up releases and running one’s business can be quite overwhelming. A message to artists: Do you perhaps have tips on how to ideally face this challenge?
The industry is now artist-led. It’s a fantastic opportunity that also comes with a great deal of responsibility and extra work. Artists win if they can structure themselves as entrepreneurs running a business. They need to get in the driver’s seat of their careers but remember to assemble a team and a toolbox to take the ‘y’ out of DIY and replace it with an ‘o’. We need to do-it-OURselves.
Closing sentence: What are the next steps for Banders. What can we expect?
We’re currently working very closely with the artists who run Banders Campaigns. We make sure the timing and content is just right. In the future, our campaign builder will become so smart that artists can build their own effective campaigns optimised for achieving their objectives.
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