Mobile Commerce Daily is now Retail Dive: Mobile Commerce! Click here to learn more!

Rock band GBV monetizes content catalog via mobile storefront

Indie rock recording artist Guided By Voices is launching a multi-content mobile storefront in conjunction with its upcoming reunion tour kicking off later this year.

The band’s mobile storefront is powered by Livewire Mobile Inc.’s Mediadrome, a new online and mobile service that lets recording artists and record labels sell digital media, including full-track music, ringtones, graphics, videos and physical merchandise, to their fans.

“Guides By Voices is an artist that came on the radar of MTV and the commercial scene a little bit, but it quickly retreated to a smaller market niche,” said Matthew Stecker, president/CEO of Livewire Mobile, Littleton, MA. “The band has hundred albums, tens of thousands of songs, and it is an interesting artist because it has a lot of passionate fans.

“We power a mobile and wired Web site to demonstrate a couple of things—users are given easy access to the artist’s entire body of work, and we want to get people to become curators of the music,” he said. “The goal is for average consumer to purchase dozens of tracks and albums over time.

“Another goal was to leverage our existing infrastructure, as we have agreements with major and indie music labels to aggregate their artists’ content.”

Guided By Voices’ tour includes a headline appearance with Sonic Youth, Pavement, Belle & Sebastian and many others at Matador Records’ “Matador at 20” festival.

Livewire Mobile specializes in managed personalization services, operating full-track music services for 40-plus carriers worldwide, including Sprint, Virgin Mobile Canada and Telecom New Zealand.

The Mediadrome service provides a complete fulfillment channel inclusive of end-to-end content operations, storefront building and payment/settlement services.

Mobile content distribution
The music group’s customized multi-content storefront, called “Guided By Voices Digital,” features an in-depth artist experience that combines the group’s catalog, rare tracks and previously unavailable material, as well as live tracks. 

In addition, Guided By Voices fans can buy tracks from the reunion tour performances, with next-day availability.

The projected material available on the site will include songs from Bob Pollard’s Guided By Voices, along with his prolific solo output and side projects, including Circus Devils, Boston Spaceships and The Takeovers. 

Livewire believes that this type of commerce-enabled mobile site will be crucial in the digital music discovery experience of the future.

“There are many vintage live recordings and demos that haven’t seen the light of day yet, largely because it’s been cost-prohibitive to put them out,” Mr. Stecker said. “Making them available for digital sale eases some of those restrictions.”

ManageThis, the band’s business manager, said that Guided By Voices Digital will provide a way for fans—both old and new—to discover Mr. Pollard and Guided by Voices’ extensive library and a place to aggregate a diverse set of content.

Its partnership with Livewire is intended to enable fans to further connect with its recording artists, broaden their music discovery and purchase the broadest array of content.

The storefront offers various payment mechanisms, including credit cards, PayPal, gift cards and other stored value.

To get the word out, the band will build awareness throughout the tour with on-stage mentions. In addition, on-site street teams will hand out free download cards at the concerts

The band plans to do wired Web and mobile Internet marketing, including banner ads, as well as search-word campaigns.

“Livewire has been in two businesses for quite some time—the music business and the mobile business—so we’ve been spending time with record labels and thinking about how people find, buy and consume music,” Mr. Stecker said. “As physical record stores vanish, MTV goes to not playing music anymore and people are less focused on listening to music on the radio, how do people discover new artists?

“We’ve seen two real spikes of users: hit samplers, tweens, teens and consumers in the twenty-something age demographic who listen to top chart hits, then people who are music curators, consumers who have a  real interest in music beyond wanting one or two tracks—real music fans who want an artist’s full catalog,” he said.

“We want to provide an immersive experience where people can come to a one-stop-shop to not only get existing catalog of music, but also use the fact that digital medium has lower costs for publishing material that might not exist in physical channels.”

Final Take
Dan Butcher, associate editor, Mobile Commerce Daily