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Interview With Nathan Albee, HotLocalMusic.com CTO

Here at GarageSpin, we are all about the empowerment of artists.

An Interview With HotLocalMusic's CTO, Nathan AlbeeSo is HotLocalMusic. HotLocalMusic provides artists, venues, managers and labels "with the tools and network relationships to reach music fans, build customer loyalty, and increase profitability." They offer a suite of services including text messaging, ring tones, online press kits, online booking tools, and more. Talk about breaking down technology barriers for the little guy..!

Nathan Albee, CTO of HotLocalMusic, took some time out of his busy schedule to give us the skinny on the exploding company, and give us a peek inside the world of mobile marketing. Check it out:

NATHAN ALBEE LAYS DOWN A FEW TRACKS

Nathan Albee, CTO of HotLocalMusicWhat idea or event led to the creation of HotLocalMusic.com?

NATE: For the last 10 years I have been into enterprise software. The last company I was with, Ariba, Inc., pioneered e-procurement & spend management for large organizations (1999 -2004). I was involved in creating the Ariba Supplier Network and helped make it a huge success. My background is not in music, it is in business process, design, management consulting, and software development. Why did we create HotLocalMusic? It’s really an easy question. To bring people together and help the music business be more profitable using innovative techniques and technology. We increase customer loyalty, create deeper connections with fans, and use the mobile phone as a delivery platform for music and distribution. HotLocalMusic is about creating the music experience at the local level. All music is local. And in my mind local is big business.

How are you personally involved in music? (musician, band, label owner, etc?), and how have these experiences helped you to create services for independent bands?

NATE: I (and friends) have funded HotLocalMsuic for several years building out the software platform. We put our time and money on the line to help other people. And we have faith that it will pay off. I’m not a musician, but I do own a guitar. My personal belief is that musicians are in dire need of help as well as the music industry as a whole. And I view this company as part of my contribution to humanity. Software is my music.

I am actively involved on a daily basis. We have worked with hundreds on bands, labels, and music professionals to create the solution we have today. We have such a rich set of tools and technologies , from booking, to mobile ecommerce, and mobile fan management, to text-to-screen applications for venues. Our booking products are based on the same e-procurement principles as big business. Our Mobile products are state of the art and the only viable solution for most labels and musicians, and the only scalable ring tone distribution solution for independents . We offer a full suite of products whether you are a small band or a huge label. Ironically, when you come to our consumer site you don’t really get to see what’s under the hood, and that’s by design.

From whom have you received the most enthusiastic response about your product suite -- artists, venues, or labels, and what do they tend to rave about most?

NATE: Labels are the hottest customers right now. There is real benefit in connecting with your fans and staying connected. Email is no longer a successful strategy for staying in touch with fans. Although we do offer tools for email too. But you can’t get a fan to sign up to a fan club that uses email when you’re at a show. And you can’t communicate with them when they are out on the town, and you can’t sell music to their phone with email. Email is dead, people ignore it, run from it, and hide from it. The phone is the only way to go, and it’s the way to monetize music again. Musicians are typically not really good business people for the most part. Our products are made for them but most “haven’t got the idea yet”. Labels get it, and venues are starting to get it. Musicians unfortunately are always last in the music food chain. And it’s all their fault.

Any big name artists, venues, or labels that you've been able to sign on as a customer?

NATE: We have a couple of NDA’s with big clients that may be announced soon. You may be surprised [by] who is “powered by HotLocalMusic” . For this reason,n I won’t give you the list, but our business is growing every day. We are the music industry’s best friend, because we don’t compete, [but] rather help. We do a lot of things, we can re-brand, and re-skin our product to meet anyone’s needs. Our products can be faceless, so they can be “HotLocalMusic” to your customer or “XYZ Label”. The end user sees what you want them to see.

HotLocalMusic Empowers Artists and Venues With Mobile Marketing TechnologyFor the less technologically savvy...run us through a typical cell phone communication with a fan, and some possible outcomes... (sale of a ticket, purchase of a CD, viral spread, etc).

NATE: A fan has to want to participate; this is not spam. The artist promotes the mobile fan club, including it on all signage. You offer the fan something they want. The fan sends in a text message to us subscribing to the account. And we then send the fan a confirmation message with opt-out instructions, and send a “mobile website” that includes bio information, press releases, and ring tones. We give you all the tools you need. It is completely self service, or full service, depending on the customer. You stay in touch with your fans. Do you know that most labels don’t know who their customers are? How are they going to survive when your ipod is your phone and your competition uses HotLocalMusic and knows their fans and sells everything direct? The latter will win. Profitability is in going direct.

Your site focuses a great deal on viral marketing and its benefits. How do you think your services will help to fuel viral distribution of independent artists' music?

NATE: This is a great question. It’s up to the band. And the collectivity of musicians in their community. The problem is there is no unity. If every band had their fan club going, and pointed them to HotLocalMusic, their opportunity would increase exponentially. The artists that “get the concept” use our email and mobile Fan Manager ™ tools to reach out to their fans. Word spreads. The thing with HotLocalMusic is you know who your fans are and you can get to them on their phone and email. A band or venue can send out a promotion or mobile coupon on Friday night, and literally pull people to the venue. Try to do that with a billboard. A band using our tools can reach into their competitor’s establishment and take its customers.

Starting out as an unsigned band is difficult. Assuming tracks have been recorded, what would you say are the 5 most important next steps towards building a fan base and getting one's music heard?

NATE: For an unsigned band the most important thing is to get started. You are not going to get a huge fan club going overnight. Success is about persistence and dedication. If you are dedicated to your career you have to get started right now.

Get all your friends to sign up on your mobile fan club. Start there. At every show put the opt-in instructions on posters, stickers, etc. You have to have signage. And promote it to death, in between acts, on stage during, and most importantly give something away. Give away your ring tone. (we set this all up for the band).

Most importantly, don’t abuse the technology. Stay in touch, but not too in touch. People want information, but they don’t want to be bothered.

Stay with it. If you get 2 people a show. That’s ok. Those are real people who may buy real music. Do 1000 shows and you will be amazed at how big your fan club gets. I personally know a very successful Jazz artist in New Orleans who makes 6 figures playing and maintains a 500 to 1,000 member fan club. When she plays people show up. Successful musicians know the value in knowing your customer. This is not a get rich quick scheme. Musicians work hard, its time they start collecting their reward. You might opt for that 6 figure music career rather than going for the “getting signed” path.

The great thing about HotLocalMusic is that we can help everyone. The small guy has professional tools to get bib, and the big guys have tools to get local.

Any other wisdom to pass on to aspiring unsigned bands?

NATE: Some peoples dream is to spread their music and share their experience. My dream is to help these people and help music companies regain the intellectual property value that has been lost by the devaluation of music in the past few years.

Nate, thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. Best of luck at HotLocalMusic.

***

HotLocalMusic offers a number of different packages depending on the features desired. To learn more about what HotLocalMusic offers Artists, see the Products for Artists page. Nate explains more about viral music marketing and loyalty programs on the company's website.

Cheers.


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» http://www.textually.org/ringtonia/archives/2005/08/009473.htm from ringtonia.com
... Email is dead, people ignore it, run from it, and hide from it. The phone is the only way to go, and its the way to monetize music again. - Nathan Albee, HotLocalMusic.com CTO, in an interview on mobile marketing in - Nathan Albee, HotLocalMusic.com CTO, in an interview on mobile marketing in [Read More]

» Independent Music Marketing via Mobile Phones from beatmixed
Interested in learning more about promoting yourself as an independent artist? Check out this GarageSpin interview with Nathan Albee, CTO of HotLocalMusic. They seem to have their own unique spin on how to bring artists closer to their fans. [Read More]

Comments

Fabulous interview! What great questions you have and interesting answers! Thanks!

Ringtone search engine powered by Google?

Have you seen this....www.ringbits.com ???

mike

Interesting Idea , but myspace is already kinda doing the same

My space is doing nothing similiar. I think its a collection of crap and adds, and 1/2 porn. You obviously didn't get it. Great article.

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