Nimbit, a direct-to-fan marketing, sales and distribution platform for musicians, announced today that it has closed a $1.25 million series A investment round. The round was led by Common Angels and Hub Angels and, according to VP of Marketing Carl Jacobson, will be used to ramp up the company’s hiring efforts.
Nimbit adds to the cumulative $3.5 million of seed funding it raised during three prior seed rounds beginning in May of 2006. The seed rounds were also led by Common Angels and Hub Angels, with LaunchCapital and Rose Tech Ventures contributing.
Founded in 2002, the Massachusetts-based Nimbit is a one-stop shop for musicians looking to manage their own direct-to-fan marketing and commercial music efforts. And though Jacobson said that Nimbit may have been “a little early to the party”, there has been quite a bit of buzz in the last few years concerning shifts in music marketing and distribution — like the success of Radiohead’s releasing “In Rainbows” direct to fans via their website, for example — and it now seems that the market may be ready to adopt the direct-to-fan model.
Certainly, the Web has changed the complexion of the music industry, having made it easier for bands and musicians to distribute their music and gain an audience. Yet, while YouTube and MySpace provide channels for free digital music distribution, and Facebook fan pages and Twitter accounts offer platforms for marketing efforts, these networks are broad in terms of scope and limited in terms of the tools and solutions they provide to small business and musical entrepreneurs.
Starting a band is as intrinsically entrepreneurial as it is creative, yet most bands tend to hire managers and marketers to handle the business-side of operations, because they can’t or won’t deal with that side of the game. Nimbit removes the time-consuming (and total buzz-killing) commercial aspects of musical enterprise by providing musicians with the tools to market their music directly to fans by email, SMS, Twitter, and Facebook, as well as browse marketing analytics and receive realtime sales reports. Musicians can add a custom store to their site to sell MP3s, CDs, and merchandise, or create a customized dashboard to manage catalogs and fan lists.
Quite a few musicians that I know dislike the business side of music and, as seems true of many creative-types, they end up either refusing to participate or do so grudgingly, which makes me think that Nimbit’s services could be very useful to the troubadours and crooners among us — whether they deal in death metal, dub step, or heady acoustic stylings. Plus, the Web is killing (or has killed) traditional music labels, so why not just automate and digitally outsource the process? I know I will.
Jacobson told me that Nimbit understands that, above all, musicians should be focusing on making music, so Nimbit will be putting its Series A funding towards building additional customer support and optimizing fan engagement tools. To do so, they will be aggressively expanding their team and are currently looking for a web apps developer, so you web apps experts out there, check ’em out.