Though MySpace reigned as the world’s premiere music and artist information service for years, its popular band pages were also seen as clunky, slow, and somewhat of a band-aid until something more efficient came along. But when Facebook started offering artist pages, critics complained that it didn’t look enough like MySpace, in that bands couldn’t customize pages to their liking and the site’s interface was too stripped down.
Herzio is out to change that, making Facebook into the sort of music platform that still represents MySpace’s core strength. The Madrid-based company, which also has offices in New York City and Mexico, makes Facebook apps designed to help bands extend their network, market themselves, streamline ticket and merchandise sales, and get music out to their fans.
“Our main target is to help artists make money for themselves,” said Herzio co-founder Carlos Sanz. “Bands used to have to go through so many different agents, but those agents aren’t very useful anymore — record labels, publicists, publishers. Now they have to do it themselves, but it’s hard. We’re trying to make that easier.”
The key, he says, is to shift music sales to the social networks where fans and bands already interface with each other.
“Now that they connect with their fans through social media, it’s time that they start to sell stuff through social media as well and make money for themselves. We’re trying to streamline that process.”
Herzio does so by offering three different apps that bands can upload onto their Facebook pages: FanPage, FanStore, and FanShows.
“FanPage is all about the promotion and selling of music,” explained co-founder David Zafra. “Basically, we’re putting MySpace features on Facebook, giving you a customizable top [section] and the ability to put all of your music right there on your Facebook page with a Facebook Wall and your Twitter feed.”
It looks good, too. The sleek FanPage app features high-definition art and a choice in how much music and information is presented on the page. It’s more like the electronic press kits (EPKs) sent out to music journalists than MySpace, but more aesthetically pleasing than the EPKs offered by SonicBids. Best of all, it’s lightweight and loads fast within the browser.
“The artist only needs to create a virtual show[case],” Zafra explains. “When a fan buys something, we create the product and send it. The artist doesn’t need to do anything with it, and there’s no risk for the artist because we produce all orders on-demand. This makes what we’re offering something that’s attractive to small bands without money just as much as big bands that are selling a lot of products.”
FanStore’s reach isn’t limited to tangible merchandise and CDs; customers can also click through to purchase digital music from iTunes or stream it from Spotify in countries where it’s available.
The third component, FanShows, is a calendar for tour dates. Artists can include links to ticket sellers as well — and soon, customers will be able to buy tickets through the app without leaving Facebook.
“We’re upgrading our apps to allow fans to buy tickets and merchandise entirely through Facebook,” says Zafra. “That’s possible because Facebook is really open right now. They have a developer’s API that allows us to do whatever we want with their interface.”
Could this be the music app Facebook has been waiting for? We shall see.