UK based bandwagon, is a Music Community Site for fans of independent music, that also allows bands to manage their own web pages and promote and sell mobile content. The content can include video, music, ringtones and wallpapers.
Bands make their money by uploading their content and then receiving royalty payments [via Paypal] for their downloads.
On Bandwagon, you are paid £0.35 for every piece of mobile content that you sell for a retail price of £1.50. Each time someone buys a piece of content from you, bandwagon keep a record of it on their systems. Once you have sold enough content to generate royalties of more than £30.00, you receive a payment from bandwagon.
Based on those numbers, a band would have to wait until approximately 90 downloads had occurred before their 1st payment!? As a user you can download content via your mobile phone as usual, by sending a text message.
Text ‘wagon’ [plus product code] to 84212 (e.g. For the Funeral For a Friend wallpaper, text “wagon fffwp1′ to 84212) You will receive a message which contains a link – this message is your payment message for £1.50 Click on the link and you will be taken directly to a download page, simply click on the link on your phone to download the files. If the ringtone you are buying costs £3.00 then once the file has been downloaded you will receive an additional payment message via SMS (each message is charged at £1.50)
The idea of helping unsigned bands is great. Bandwagon already have over 500 bands listed, across a wide spectrum of the music genre but I suspect that the MySpace juggernaut may crush them soon. Friday’s announcement from MySpace regarding unsigned bands being able to sell their music on MySpace means that bandwagon will need to change their model or at the very least offer a better commission rate than they currently do, in order to match or better MySpace. Although I am not sure even then that it will make much difference because of the size of the audience reach that MySpace can offer compared to bandwagon.
Clearly bandwagon are already looking for new revenue models and have recently jumped on the proverbial “user generated content” bandwagon, with a new mobile “video/camera” phone upload service called videopimps. The service is a whitelabel service from Peek-a-boo TV. The aim I guess is for users to capture and upload content from concerts and festivals. Right now there isn’t a lot of quality and/or content.
[Note: I also looked at Peek-a-boo TV's website and the content is predominantly of an adult nature. More worrying, in their about box the answer to the question "Who runs this service?" has been deleted - why?]
The one place that bandwagon still differentiate from MYSpace is in its ability to download unsigned band’s music directly to a mobile phone. Although I personally think this is a very expensive way to acquire music, I am sure teenage kids – who this website is aimed at – will not think twice given the success already in the UK of ringtone downloads.
Sadly I suspect MySpace will once again soon compete in this marketspace as well.
Chris DeWolfe, MySpace co-founder, when recently asked about a MySpace mobile service in the UK, similar to the Helio deal, said :
“before the end of the year”…but “the United States is so far behind in mobile technology that it may be not as important as it is here [Europe] or in Asia”.
So I can imagine that video uploads and music downloads will soon be announced by MySpace UK. As for their European mobile partner, I would guess T-Mobile, given Google’s recent search and advertising deal with MySpace and Google’s mobile search and advertising “web n walk” partnership with T-Mobile. I think it could make a very nice Ménage à trois?