As the music industry navigates a third year of the pandemic, many artists have discovered creative ways to adhere to safety guidelines while maintaining tours and live shows. Other artists have been forced off the stage, such as Adele, who recently postponed her entire Las Vegas residency due to delivery delays and half her crew contracted Covid-19.
With live performances no longer a guarantee for the foreseeable future, artists big and small are looking beyond ticket revenue. And they discover an untapped opportunity to optimize centralized merchandise stores that attract more fans and generate a more reliable revenue stream in the process.
Most fans are excited to buy artist merchandise online and show their support. Store optimization, however, is often hampered by old technology, and stores can easily become inactive despite steady traffic when marketing efforts wane. And while basic automation best practices exist for e-commerce, they aren’t being implemented in the music industry’s e-commerce space, according to Steph Mirsky and Alex Lira, founders of Crooked Youth. , a start-up specializing in improving e-commerce. solutions in the music and entertainment industry.
“Our biggest mission has been to centralize an artist’s Internet presence in front of the fans. So that means getting everyone out of the standard Squarespace model that many artists big and small have been using for some time and merging their e-commerce with their core dot-com content,” says Lira.
Mirsky, who has experience with music festivals, says bands have very little from a data perspective when various websites are involved. From a fan perspective, conversion is much smoother when an artist’s main website and merchandise store are combined to create a centralized hub. A centralized system also gives artists the tools they need to connect with their audience.
According to Lira, who has a background in merchandise design and has focused on creating creative-driven e-commerce and web experiences, few platforms today offer a one-stop-shop solution for musicians. As a result, music brands and artists who create Shopify sites, he says, often don’t get the creative attention they deserve to grow their fan base.
“There’s so much work that goes into album rollouts, art and music. But then e-commerce and the web seemed to fall flat, so that was the other part of our crusade, centralizing and putting creative detail into these releases,” says Lira.
The average e-commerce conversion rate is around 2.5% with fluctuations, according to Mirsky. In order to convert the remaining 97.5% of their fans, artists have the opportunity to reinvent their online store, powered by Shopify, to serve as both a fan communication tool and a digital merchandise store.
Crooked Youth recently leveraged the warming infrastructure of email campaigns and automated feeds, as well as cross-selling AI-powered products to drive meaningful results for music label Rise Records. The project resulted in a 152% increase in email campaign open rates and a 17% increase in average order value. Eight months after implementation, the average order value increased by 25.78%, from $39.26 to $49.38.
“Crooked Youth did an amazing job completely revamping our CRM process. We saw instant results with higher open and click-through rates. [new] Fans’ customer journey with Klaviyo has proven to significantly increase sales,” says Alex Osborn, Rise Records (BMG).
single music powers NFTs, live streams, digital downloads, fan information and Soundscan reports. Klaviyo provides email and SMS marketing that integrates directly with Shopify to enable powerful automated feeds. And Laylo offers simple email, SMS, and Instagram DM list creation and campaign deployment (send an alert about a deposit, collect signups, then deploy messaging upon deposit) . There is also candy holder focus on AI-powered cross-selling to allow stores to passively increase average order value, as music and merchandise can no longer be grouped together and count for mapping. Finally Push the owl focuses on browser push notifications.
“There are other opportunities because tours are compromised that you can actually feed through a centralized hub like Shopify…you control that data…don’t remove fans from your website with the feeling that someone is else owns your fans and you can’t control it.
An unexpected challenge in managing optimization for merchandising companies, record labels and management companies, Mirsky says, is that there is a degree of uncertainty with things like cross-selling or email automation. The reluctance to test best practices for ROI, he adds, is because the music industry operates on tight margins.
Like live performances, return on investment is never a guarantee. However, leveraging existing centralized merch stores allows artists to not only build a larger fanbase, but also have more control over their data. It can also help the music industry become fairer, as artists, not ticket companies or record labels, take more ownership of their work.