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« Songwriters who don't perform? | Main | From Exposure to Conversion - 'How to Create a Real Fan' - Part One »

From Exposure to Conversion "How to Create a Real Fan" - Part 2

Thanks for the comments I received on the Fan Funnel model we employ at ReverbNation.  I’m still looking for more feedback, so please speak up if you have any.

Now, to continue the train of thought begun in the first post…

The Fan Funnel, in any incarnation, is incomplete.  It is a ‘stock’ measurement in that it tells you how many fans you have in each section of the funnel at any given time.  But it fails to measure some important things like the trajectory the Artist has (rate at which fans are entering the Funnel or moving down the funnel), and how deeply engaged those fans are with the content, to name a few.  As a result of this deficiency, we developed a proprietary metric for every Artist that uses ReverbNation called a Band Equity(TM) Score.  Artists use this in conjunction with the Fan Funnel.

Band Equity(TM) takes into account four factors that add up to the current value of the Artists’ portfolio of fan relationships (normalized as a ‘score’), as well as the trajectory of that value:

(1)  Breadth
How many people does your content touch, overall?  How many listen or even view it in a given time period?  Having your content on many web pages, touching many people is a great way to understand the total conversion ‘potential’, and might be summed up as ‘awareness’.  All else equal, an Artist whose content touches more people has a higher potential  for converting fans and developing relationships than an Artist whose content touches fewer.

(2) Influence
How frequently do those people seek out a second instance of the content (like play a second song or video or view the blog after they play a song)?  What is the ‘open rate’ on your emails to fans (what is the probability they will actually open and read it instead of just deleting it when it comes in)?  How long do they play a song or video before they turn it off and do something else?  All else equal, an Artist that garners more engagement per interaction has stronger and deeper relationships with their fans.

(3) Recency
When was the last time you engaged your fans?  All else equal, an Artist that had their fans engaged yesterday has more Band Equity(TM) than an Artist that last engaged them six months ago.  Recency causes your Band Equity (TM) to deteriorate over time if the # of fan interactions and level of engagement drop off.   Think of this as the main ‘trajectory’ element.

(4) Access
Of your total ‘FANS’ and ‘LISTENERS’, how many of them can you contact without the assistance of a social network?  If the only way you have to communicate with your ‘FANS’ is via a MySpace Bulletin, then you do not have the Band Equity(TM) that another Artist, all things equal, has if they can send a custom email or other custom message promoting their show or new release (full disclosure:  ReverbNation provides a free email service for Artists, Labels, Managers, and Venues).  This element cannot be underestimated by Artists.  Social networks are a great place to RENT fan relationships, but the most savvy and successful Artists find ways to OWN their fan relationships, so they can access them when they want, and how they need.

bandequity.jpgFrom these four elements we construct a Band Equity(TM) Score for each Artist (and we also build our Charts from those scores, because we believe that it measures the right things).  It is updated once per day.  The goal is to raise their awareness of these important factors in their success, and to give them visibility into which promotional/marketing efforts deliver the desired result - stronger, deeper, and more fan relationships.


Let’s face it, record labels, talent buyers, gig promoters, and brands (people who pay the Artist) do not believe in MySpace friend counts anymore.  The numbers can be easily spoofed and a few bad apples have spoiled it for everyone else.  Artists, likewise, should not measure themselves by a metric like this alone, as the correlation between MySpace friend totals and commercial success is dubious, at best.  That is not to say that establishing friend relationships at MySpace is not a valuable endeavor (it can definitely add to awareness, and MySpace is probably still the best place to go to harvest fan relationships).  But, as a single metric for understanding the ‘financial potential’ of your band (notice I did not say the ‘artistic value’), it falls short.  We provide tools for the Artists to actually incorporate the activity happening at MySpace, Facebook,  blogs, homepages, etc, into the Band Equity (TM) Score, so they can have a global view of their success.  Its a big music world out there on the web, and Artists need a way to consolidate and understand how those fan relationships are changing across the board.


Reader Comments (25)

i know this discussion is largely based on metrics, but i just wanted to quickly respond to the topic of the series regarding the idea of creating a fan.

i'm noticing certain young rock groups that are at the stage of getting some popularity, and an observation i've made is that these groups are not doing well at converting the polished image of a band or performer starting out, into a musician that has attitude - which is the way we perceive some of the best out there.

not saying you have to be a rick, but when you roll into a new city or play a special show, you don't have to thank the audience fifteen times with utmost sincerity.

it's tempting with all these social networking tools to try to be super-approachable and your best friend, but my advice to the rockers out there is to do it with discretion.

do you want to be best friends with the girl you have a crush on, or do you want to take her home?

i hope this post was relevant in some way

July 10 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Tunes

This is a great way of keeping tabs -- and learning ways to improve -- how artists can truly connect with their fans on the online space.

Just curious, I notice a "Shows" tab on your online interface; I'm a big believe in the online/offline mix when it comes to musicians, so how do shows come into plays with this? I am guessing as part of the bigger picture in ACCESS, RECENCY, and BREADTH?

Overall, though, great stuff, keep it coming.

July 10 | Unregistered CommenterMaggie

Hey Jed, you know you got a lot of support at the grass roots, you don't need to pay lip service to myspace.

People are blogging about reverbnation. I seen 'em.

The question IS around fan engagement, and perhaps the role of data in determining value again, but think of what reverbnation represents to artists who are now maturing in their social networking, blogging, etc. reverbnation represents empowerment - reverbnation helps artist to engage and make that attention operable, fox and zuckerburg want us to sell our fans their clicks.

I actually had a email from one poor guy who said "At least on reverbnation I made 27c."

But I'm excited about the distribution offerings - but haven't had much luck integrating stuff into html pages though, maybe you can make it easy on us weekend coders!

But I think there's a powerful story here for musicians about offering value that stands out from the pack.

Also I'm quite odious of the term "street team" if you're looking to engage with an adult market. But y'know, you can always put a bow on it and call it something else.

And Mr. Tunes - good points but remember. You got to get her number first! And I know this guy Jed who can help you there . . .

July 10 | Unregistered CommenterMatt @ Kurb

First I would like Jed to know that I have taken so long to comment because I was spending the last day checking out Reverb Nation and just exactly what it could do for me. (It looks as if it could do me some good the only problem being that I still have much I need to do for myself before Reverb Nation could be truly useful to me)...So, I am sorry that I did not comment sooner :)

Second; I think it is pretty slick how you have taken this platform here at MTT and not-so-subtle-like turned it into a Reverb Nation promotional tool...or even "Info-mercial".

Now if Reverb Nation were some kind of sham / con / rip off, then i might have been offended...but luckily for you it is a truly useful resource / outlet for independent musicians.

I also think that the way your site will stay ahead of all the other "music" social networks is due to the tools you offer and the constant upgrading of those tools.

Once I feel more comfortable with some of my music to offer, I look forward to working with Reverb Nation.

PS - @Mr. Tunes & Matt....for the record getting her number is not always the case

July 10 | Unregistered CommenterMilton

Good question, Maggie:

Just curious, I notice a "Shows" tab on your online interface; I'm a big believe in the online/offline mix when it comes to musicians, so how do shows come into plays with this?

We share your belief that offline activity is of critical importance to an Artist (perhaps the most important rev source for indie Artists). About a month ago we began to provide a place for Artists and/or venues to record the attendance data after a gig (and indicate who the headliner was). We are currently trying to figure out how show attendance data can/should be used as a component of Band Equity. i.e. what is the relative 'value' of a live show attendee versus, say, an online listener? Any thoughts? I'm all ears.

July 10 | Registered CommenterJed Carlson

It's official. You need to come on the Musicians Cooler Podcast and talk about Reverbnation. I've had a few musicians mention it (I have a few more episodes in the can). It's time I get to know Reverbnation.

July 11 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Jackson

Jed --

Thanks for the reply. I've been tossing around ideas for this too, since, as you say, independent artists in particular are selling most of their music and merch at their shows. I suppose you could look at Attendance & Product Sales vs. Plays & Product Sales to start with.

On top of that, there's a ton of value in your online component from live shows too -- what kind of conversion are you getting after a show (people signing up for a mailing list, logging on the a web site, adding you to their friends list, etc.) and how do these people compare to someone who is just listening online? Most likely these people are more active in other ways, too, and become Street Teamers and Promoters at a higher rate than just Listeners.

Again, this was a great read -- I really love what you're doing. I'm interested to see what kind of insights artists can get into their audiences and online presence using the Band Equity score over time.

One last question -- does the Band Equity score take into account external factors, as well? Say, blog posts about the band?

July 11 | Unregistered CommenterMaggie

I'd be honored. Click on my name in the post and send me an email to set it up.

July 11 | Registered CommenterJed Carlson

I love the way you think. There is definitely a 'synergistic' relationship between offline and online, and someday we hope to understand that - but that day is a ways off at this point.

Band Equity does not factor in blog hits about the Band, but not because we haven't tried to measure them. We have a free feature for Artists called 'Blog/Buzz'. The Buzz part of the feature is an automatic news clipping service about the artist that scours google, yahoo, msn, feedburner, and other aggregators for posts about the Artist. The problem with using it is that many Artists have names that are too common as to be certain that posts coming in for +"Artist Name""music" (our default search string) are actually for that Artist. We allow the Artists to 'hide' posts they do not want showing in their 'Buzz', but the accuracy is still not there enough for us to feel comfortable using it as part of the Band Equity metric at this time. Its a work in progress.

July 11 | Registered CommenterJed Carlson

I have briefly looked into Reverb Nation and I am interested in finding out the success of band recognition because of it. I was just thinking the other day that Myspace was growing old and that there are not enough tools or ways to track your success. The band I help travels a lot withing a few hours of home and needs to do a better job marketing and pulling in new fans to that area for the gig. I am not knocking it by any means but I would like to hear from someone who has used the program personally for their band. Looks like an awesome concept and I can not believe I have not heard more about it until yesterday!

July 11 | Unregistered CommenterJane

It's interesting how ReverbNation has broken down fan engagement to a measurable metric, almost even a science. While I understand the rationale and methodology behind this, calling the resulting metric a Band Equity score is a joke. We're talking about art, and the value of the art is not only the amount consumers pay or even the levels of fan engagement. I generally agree with what you are saying about the Fan Funnel and about the factors that go into the Band Equity score, but still, this doesn't sit well with me. I guess it could be useful for my promo campaigns and the like.

Btw, when did this blog become the voice of ReverbNation?

July 12 | Unregistered CommenterGavroche

Jed, this is great stuff - I really like the way Reverb Nation is heading... I'm continually impressed with the ongoing little modifications to the service and the interface - no fuss, no big 'relaunch', just continually responding to what needs to get fixed. That's pretty rare.


July 13 | Unregistered CommenterSteve Lawson

Definitely sounds cool, Jed, and I think what RVN is doing right now is a great foundation to build on all of that. And I agree with you Steve, I'm loving this "work-in-progress" outlook for ReverbNation. Really great stuff here.

July 13 | Unregistered CommenterMaggie

I am in agreement that Band Equity DOES NOT account for the Artistic Value of a song in any way, and did not mean to suggest that it does. I tried to make that clear with my comment:

But, as a single metric for understanding the 'financial potential' of your band (notice I did not say the 'artistic value'), it falls short.

As for the 'double post' that sort of took over this blog for a bit, I apologize. It was originally supposed to be only one post, but it was just too long. I didn't want to separate them by too much time in between, as they go together.

July 14 | Registered CommenterJed Carlson

Intruiging stuff. This is my first reply here:

Your ideas are sound as houses, and reading the article sparks many ideas on what having a fan actually entails. Analsying them from a graphical perspective based on factors is intuitive and could be rewarding for a songwriter/artist to see over time and effect his/her graph improve and gain Equity.

However, for all that "excellentness" as my friends Bill and Ted would coin the phrase, I think the idea must be taken as a booster and nothing more. One could easily be carried away much like a MMORPG player who hasnt stepped outside for his/her's free game time, into seeing the factors as an end rather than as a cool but light means.

A great article. All I am saying is if you slide down that golden ladder too far, you may burn your hands. I dont normally converse in metaphors, but thats the way the wind has blown today, ifyaknowwhatimean.


July 14 | Unregistered CommenterToby

When did this blog become the voice of ReverbNation?

Just a clarification... Jed Carlson is a friend of mine. There's nothing financial going on here. Jed's posts may sound like an advertisement for ReverbNation. However, I believe these are "advertisements" that everyone can learn from..

It not easy to write something meaningful and helpful, that doesn't sound like an ad, when you are wrapped up in building a business that aims to supply something meaningful and helpful to the same audience you are writing for. It's actually an art form. (I have been writing for a year, and only a couple of people figured out that I am a living advertisement..)

Thanks for the posts Jed..


July 14 | Registered CommenterBruce Warila

I applaud the effort to provide ways to measure the success of our promotional efforts, but I still side with Mr. Tunes. The trick as I see it, is to maintain accessibility while retaining a little mystery. As someone else pointed out, it is a courtship of sorts that we're discussing.

July 19 | Unregistered CommenterMojo Bone

Agree that this is a great way of keeping track of how bands/musicians are doing and how to improve on "conversion" or whatever it is that social networking sites do...interaction, maybe.

Also agree that as a single metric, it falls short. But wouldn't everything? I normally go by sales, or profit, which is probably why most labels or people in the business end go for, but from an "art" perspective, that might not be the goal at all. Some people want to be famous more than they want money. Some people just want to tour. Some people want to change the world.

Again, looks like a cool tool. Certainly something that folks can use to improve themselves and their marketing strategies.

David Hooper

July 26 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Hooper

I dig the article, but I gotta question the claim that myspace metrics were ruined by "bad apples"...those were motivated, intelligent capitalists at work. The blame lies solely on the foreheads of the data engineers at myspace, who were totally unprepared for the exponential growth of their operation.

It's insane to rely on good behavior in order to get reliable metrics. And it's not "bad" to cheat spectacularly -- that's what innovation is all about. More results with less effort is a good thing.

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Equity Loans

The Band Equity score is flawed and does not work. I have seen too many artists or so-called artists buy into the scheme where some third party does some kind of hacking or process to increase the scores literally overnight. I look at the profiles, some only have one song which sounds like garbage ... the proof is in the pudding. And these same "artists" will promote the same song over and over and each fan is just a number. Sad. Meanwhile, us little guys with real talent get squashed. Reverbnation is NOT perfect and people (artists) do suffer.

November 20 | Unregistered CommenterFarnsworth Carrie

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