With so many ways to get music in front of consumers--iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Freegal, Bandcamp, Facebook--it would seem this is an ideal time to be a new band, but it's also probably more difficult to snag a listener's attention than ever before. And without listeners, you certainly aren't going to land any big gigs.
DeliRadio has launched a platform that allows venues to "connect with local music lovers and drive ticket sales ahead of events" by creating streaming radio stations comprised of songs by bands scheduled to play said venue.
The concept behind Emeryville, Calif.-based DeliRadio--which launched two years ago and now has 22 people on staff, including three software coders--is pretty simple: Take a concert or festival calendar and turn it into a "radio station." Sara Mertz, co-founder and vice president of business development, explained that DeliRadio started as a record label and grew in answer to questions that labels face.
"We were trying to solve the problem of people finding out about music," Mertz said. "How do people find out about new music? How do we put our artists on shows and get butts in seats? Any given night, there are 10 bands you'd like to see if you knew about them."
DeliRadio has partnered with BandsInTown (a concert aggregator) to see who is playing where. After that, it would be easy enough to pluck a song from a band's Facebook page or website to populate the radio stations. But Mertz, who is also a band manager (she manages the Soft White Sixties), rejects the idea that musicians are or should be grateful for any kind of publicity.
"Bands opt in," Mertz said. "They give us a track or two and we always attach that to their tour dates and a link for tickets."
It's free to venues and, most importantly, free to musicians. And DeliRadio contacts musicians directly--15,000 bands have now "opted in."
"It was daunting at first," Mertz said. "People thought we were crazy."
The crazy part seems to be offering the service at no cost. If it's free to venues and free to musicians, how do they make money? Through sponsors, Mertz said.
"We're working on an NPR model. A sponsorship model," she said. "A sponsor could say they want to get in a market and target a specific demographic, so we would offer a station ID callout, 'Brought to you by Audible,' for example. We will never have advertising. We want to make it as easy as possible for listeners to hear a band and buy a ticket. If ads are in the way, we aren't doing a service."
Currently, a search on DeliRadio for bands coming to Boise brings up stations for The Crux, Knitting Factory, Neurolux, Revolution Concert House, Reef, Shredder and Treefort Music Fest. Knitting Factory is the only venue so far to put a DeliRadio player on its website.
While there are nearly as many ways for a listener to find music as there are bands out there, it's servicing those up-and-coming bands that is DeliRadio's focus.
"We don't want to become more like Spotify," Mertz said. "We are more interested in touring artists. We don't want dead guys. We don't need the legacy acts."