ReverbNation, one of the earliest developers of Facebook apps for musicians, has released an upgrade to its popular My Band app, renaming it Band Profile. Users of the free app will now be able to completely customize the look and feel of it; and can require users to Like, Share, or provide their email address to gain access to certain pieces of content.
The updates make ReverbNation the most customizable free apps for musicians to promote themselves on Facebook. It now offering some functionality, albeit in a rougher form, that recent sensation BandPage by RootMusic requires users to pay $2 a month for.
Band Profile, formerly My Band, has been growing relatively steadily since its launch in late 2008, tripling its daily active user count since last year and breaking onto a top 20 fastest growing apps list at the end of January 2011. However, Band Profile has encountered serious competition in the last six months, with BandPage rocketing past it to now have 931,295 DAU compared to its Band Profile’s 310,967, according to AppData, our data service tracking application traffic and growth.
Meanwhile, some of Facebook’s most popular musicians including Lady Gaga and Linkin Park have begun signing on with smaller boutique firm DamnTheRadio, which was recently acquired by FanBridge. ReverbNation saw it clearly had to change to stay competitive, and this new set of updates succeeds in placing it back in the top tier of solutions for Facebook musicians.
Most noticeably, bands are no longer stuck with the drab blue and gray color scheme of My Band, which faded into the Facebook canvas and made it difficult to create a strong branding impression. Band Profile allows admins to select themes and specific color values to change the appearance of their app’s background. The color value interface is less intuitive than the color slider available through the $2 a month BandPage Plus, but is free for all Band Profile users.
Another significant addition is the ability to require users to Like, Share, or submit an email address to gain access to songs or music videos. This is an effective way for bands to drive Likes, gain viral distribution, and collect contact info.
Shares to the wall and news feed have an improved feel. A functional version of the Band Profile appears in-line within the shared story, allowing a user’s friends to play songs, watch videos, view tour dates, photos and the bands bio, join the mailing list, or re-share the app to more friends.
Songs are hosted on ReverbNations servers, and can be sold or offered for free unlimited download through Band Profile. RootMusic handles music downloading through SoundCloud, which requires users to pay for a premium account if they want to allow more than 100 downloads of any song.
Since ReverbNation makes its money not from its app, but by selling additional off-Facebook services including email marketing and music distribution to online stores, it can offer the rich functionality of Band Profile without charging musicians. This loss leader strategy could help it regain market share from BandPage and attract new users from the long-tail of musicians looking to promote themselves on Facebook for free.