BandRx: A Free Page Management App for Musicians That Matches Facebook’s Design
BandRx is the latest tool to emerge in the musician Facebook Page management space. Utilizing a modular design, BandRx gives bands flexibility in terms of functionality while retaining Facebook’s design principles.
The small company saw leading musician Page management tools from RootMusic and Reverbnation pushing Pages to look more like MySpace and wanted to build a product with a white and blue style that better matched Facebook.
In response to the decline of MySpace, the former home of band profiles on the internet, several developers have begun competing to host musicians as they migrate to Facebook. RootMusic’s BandPage is currently the biggest, with 1.5 million daily active users, followed by ReverbNation’s Band Profile with 504,000 DAU. Meanwhile, some companies such as DamnTheRadio, recently acquired by FanBridge, are doing more custom app development work for the world’s most popular bands.
As users have an organic interest in Liking musicians, now over 40 of the top 100 Pages belong to musicians, while hundreds of thousands of less popular bands have also started Pages. This indicates there may be room for younger developers such as BandRx, as it’s already grown to 59,000 DAU and 1.1 million MAU according to AppData.
Launched in February, the lean three-employee startup has taken a small seed round of funding from friends and family. BandRx is hoping to offer as much Facebook functionality as possible for free, as right now the company’s costs are low. It may eventually launch paid band services such as email marketing, with a model more similar to ReverbNation than RootMusic, which offers additional Facebook features from $2 a month.
BandRx worked with feedback from bands and their managers to design the application and improve on some shortcomings of BandPage and Band Profile. Configuration of the app occurs within the app itself instead of on an external website. Admins can toggle on or off and reorder a large set of features.
Some features admins can choose from include the ability to add a banner image, Page wall, and bio. They can offer MP3 streaming powered by SoundCloud, and have the option to require a Like to listen, or a Like or subscription to a mailing list to download. Video is powered by YouTube and other services and can be Like-gated, and live streaming is powered by uStream, Livestream, and Justin.tv. Tour dates are powered by Facebook Events. Admins can also add a custom HTML module, display their Twitter updates, or track traffic with Google Analytics.
If bands have a merchandise store operated by Go Merch or Big Cartel they can import it, and BandRx is working on deals with other musician ecommerce services. The company is also looking to offer checkout within Facebook and to sell digital downloads, but for now it can only link out to digital music stores. Musicians can collect email addresses from fans though Facebook’s extended permissions system, and run Facebook-compliant contests.
Absent are any type of color, theme, or style customization options. Instead, the app’s permanent blue and white style makes it blend seamlessly into Facebook. Some bands may want to more branding options and the ability to make a more forceful impact, though.
BandRx tells us that “bands often have too many tabs in the sidebar. You only have one chance to show a tab, so we’re trying to create as much of an integrated experience as possible.”
We’ve heard from some digital music experts say that the focus on Facebook Page tab applications may be misplaced because the bulk of interaction with Pages occurs through the news feed. However, BandRx tells us it purposefully doesn’t offer a rich, music streaming news feed player because it received feedback from managers and record labels that they want to drive people back to Pages to grow their Like counts.
BandRx’s free, internally configured, highly functional app is a solid option for bands on a tight budget that don’t want to be confused with too many extraneous services as with ReverbNation, or have to pay for full functionality as with RootMusic. However, as bands grow in popularity they may want these additional customization options and offsite services, and feel too constrained by BandRx.