eListeningPost : The Next Generation Of Sales, Marketing & Social Networking — Music 2.0
– EMI First Major Label On Board
– Unique Word-Of-Mouse Try & Buy Service
– Exclusive Music Direct To Your Email Inbox
– Free Trial Plays, Ad Revenues + Option To Buy
– Fans Benefit, Artists Get Paid
EMI Records is the first major label to sign up to eListeningPost, a new service ushering in a revolution in music distribution, being labelled ‘Music 2.0’. The software, currently undergoing vigorous beta testing ahead of an official launch on 5th December, offers a radically new approach for trying and buying music called “Super Distribution”.
Participating artists, from major to unsigned, receive an “ePreview” — a secure version of their track or video that can be sent directly to fans via their own verified email lists. This could even be an exclusive or pre-release sample, should the artist choose. The ePreview, which offers fans up to five free plays of the video or track, can then be forwarded on to friends. When this is done, recipients can themselves play the track five times as well as forward it on once more to a new set of recipients. Hence Super Distribution – which combines the viral power of email with the desire to share great new music with friends.
A click at any point during the previews enables the track to be purchased direct from the artist, with the artist choosing one of three pricing options (Budget, iTunes-equivalent, or Premium — see below), and taking all proceeds from the sale. This means all the money comes back to those making and supplying the music — no iTunes-type middleman taking a cut.
A further option to add relevant advertising to the previews gives artists an extra opportunity to earn revenue, from every single trial play, enabling them to start earning money straight away, in some cases before the music is even released.
The service, which uses proven DRM from RealNetworks and Microsoft, has been created for use by all artists, from unsigned to major label, and can be fully branded in-house with specific artist/label logos and designs. Following a one-off £35/ $45 / €45 set up fee, artists are free to send as many “ePreviews” (video or audio) as they like to their fans worldwide for a paltry £5/ $9 / €8 per month.
For artists this means a brilliant new way of organically building their fanbases and online buzz, while all the time earning their due. Social networking sites (MySpace et al.) are great — they let artists build a fanbase, get their music out there. But where’s the money? With eListeningPost, as well as taking all proceeds from download sales, artists receive 60% of any advertising revenues their previews generate.
For fans – an increasingly on-the-go generation of heavy music samplers — eListeningPost offers the potential for pre-release and exclusive recordings from their favourite bands, direct from their in-boxes, in click-to-play format, and only delivered to true fans who have confirmed that they want to receive artist/label mail-outs. It also proffers them a coveted taste-making role in forwarding the best new music to their friends.
EMI have agreed to trial the service using their artists. eListening Post is also in talks with Sony BMG and Warners.
The service will provide artists and labels information on the number of times the track/video has been played in each country or region around the world, together with consumer feedback — fans must rate the track after two free ePreviews in order to receive the full five.
ePreviews can be sent to artist’s fans using their own email service or by using eListeningPost’s bulk email and address management system for a small additional monthly fee. They can also be placed as a link for download from any web site, such as a band’s MySpace page or official homepage. A strict policy on misuse – whereby senders of unsolicited email containing ePreviews will be banned from the service — will eradicate the potential for eListeningPost’s service to contribute to the problem of “spam”.
eListeningPost is the brainchild of Greg Holloway and Keith Harris. Keith is former General Manager of Motown, former Chairman of the Music Managers’ Forum, newly-appointed Director of Performer Affairs, PPL, current Chairman of UK music business network, MusicTank, and has represented Stevie Wonder for nearly thirty years. Greg Holloway was formerly the international controller for RealNetworks Inc., a leading creator of digital media services and digital rights management technology.
Said Greg Holloway, “Having the backing of major labels is great and the meetings we have had with EMI, Warner and Sony/BMG have certainly helped validate our business, though we’re keen to point out the benefits for all musicians. The fact that eListeningPost allows artists to control the promotion, sale and distribution of their music around the world at a very low cost and also benefit directly from advertising makes eListeningPost a great solution for both major record labels and unsigned musicians in bedroom studios.”
Said Keith Harris, “I see this as a way that artists can communicate directly with their fans, and also get paid for the use of their music on their own terms”