At the intersection of these two markets is a fundamental disconnect. Nearly all other aspects of the music; information about the artist, albums, songs, concert tickets, lyrics, and ring tones, have been digitized, correlated and rationalized, but merchandise is a mess. There is no collective understanding of who, where and what is available in terms of fan gear.
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Madison, WI (PRWEB) July 31, 2008
How will musicians survive if music becomes free? This is one of the questions asked by Tunipop, Inc. as it considered the launch of its new website Tunipop.com. Fan merchandise such as t-shirts, posters and buttons are increasingly cited as one of the untapped channels of revenue artists can leverage to overcome the decline in recorded music sales. However, Tunipop has found the merchandise market irrational when compared with trends in music distribution and consumption.
The entire supply chain stands to benefit from Tunipop's presence in the market. Recording artists can further leverage their brand and syndicate information about their merchandise offerings across a broad array of music discovery and delivery platforms; service providers stand to gain ancillary revenues through a consolidation of spending in the channel and increased page views; and fans ultimately benefit through convenience and predictable access.
"Historically there has been a separation between an artist's music and their merchandise, but the line is beginning to blur as artists and labels look elsewhere for revenues," said Andy Young, Tunipop Founder. "At the intersection of these two markets is a fundamental disconnect. Nearly all other aspects of the music; information about the artist, albums, songs, concert tickets, lyrics, and ring tones, have been digitized, correlated and rationalized, but merchandise is a mess. There is no collective understanding of who, where and what is available in terms of fan gear."
Tunipop reviewed thousands of artist's web pages and found several trends: Only 25% of artists in the broad rock genre offer any type of fan merchandise, even though they have an established online presence to communicate and interact with their fans. 40% of these same artists market, sell and fulfill their own products, while the remainder outsource the task to a third party. From a consumer's perspective, there is no standard method or graphic moniker that quickly identifies which artists have merchandise and where it is located, unlike the seemingly ubiquitous MySpace or iTunes logos found on so many artists' web pages.
"It appears that for majority of artists, merchandise is an afterthought, or it may be they are hesitant because it's value rarely extends beyond their own web or MySpace page," says Young. "I believe that music merchandise as most people perceive it is dominated by a relative handful of artists, when compared with the much larger number of artists found on a typical digital music service."
Tunipop.com aims to be a focal point for the industry, not as a retailer, but as aggregator of information about merchandise. Collected data will be correlated with existing music metadata, so that digital retailers, and other related services, can deliver actionable information about merchandise in conjunction with music.
The site features the Tunipop Go2Merch directory, which lists the official source of fan gear from hundreds of artists. Fans and suppliers can contribute to this directory, and all submitted entries are reviewed to insure they reflect the official source as listed on the artist's web page. Once in the directory, a Go2Merch banner can be downloaded which links interested parties directly to the artist's page on Tunipop. Currently operating in Beta mode, plans for the site include a mobile offering, enhanced user interaction, along with a dashboard for artists and suppliers.
"The opportunity to do more with music merchandise is obvious, but it needs to be brought into the digitized realm of music to have any chance of benefiting the overall market," adds Young.
Based in Madison, WI, Tunipop has explored the intersection of merchandise and digital music since 2005. Currently in Beta, it will be an advertising, user fee and data licensing supported company. As a leader in the new music market, Tunipop provides online services to collect and validate information about music merchandise. The company's success strategy leverages the need of the music industry to drive sustainable revenues, and the desire of passionate music fans to support the artists they love. Tunipop is privately funded.