Arron Clague is a member of the indie electro band Eight to Infinity, whose music I’ve had the pleasure of mastering many times. He was kind enough to share his thoughts on the band’s shiny new iPhone app below. -Brian
App downloads: 278
Songs listened to: 920
InfinityHome has been live for four days now. The iPhone application, based on a framework developed by Mobile Roadie, consolidates news data from our RSS feed at eighttoinfinity.com, streaming music from Amazon, and our Twitter feed. It also provides a simple fan wall. The app ties everything together for us, giving us yet another channel for interaction, traction, and building a community around Eight to Infinity.
To be honest, it’s an expensive experiment. We’ve received great feedback from listeners at Jango, iLike, and Last.fm, but we have no idea how committed they are as fans. It’s safe to assume that anyone who downloads and continues to use an application has a higher affinity for what we are doing with our music.
In a lot of ways it’s a flawed experiment. How many of our potential fans even have an iPhone? Though Mobile Roadie may develop a Blackberry framework in the future, for the moment we can only address a small percentage of potential fans. But looking at things the other way round, how many of the millions of iPhone users can we convert to Eight to Infinity fans?
For a $400 dollar punt, we decided to proceed and see where we went. Our motivation was not necessarily to increase sales, or to earn revenue from the app, which we made available for free download. The goal was to increase awareness of our music, join up all the island communities across the web, and solve the fragmentation across Last.fm, Jango, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, and the rest.
Another motivation is that we are now being tracked by services such as RockDex and Music Xray. They measure how active our community is. When we do licensing deals, music supervisors can now see that we are managing and growing our community in an active way. For example, go to the audio page of our site and open up the tabs on our Music Xray. You can see how well we are doing across a large range of services. Why would anyone invest in a band that doesn’t invest any effort into promoting themselves?
And so the experiment begins.
I haven’t done anything new marketing-wise beyond announcing the app’s availability where I would commonly post news about track releases. I suppose I could have gone to traditional press and blogs and made it a “news” event, although I suspect that this would only lead to resentment of the band, in return for exposure which is never going to result in sales. Nothing pisses people off more than a little alternative band running around trying to get in the newspaper with some scam. All of sudden everyone knows who you are, but everyone hates you! (see Raygun viral video)
What is surprising are the numbers, which are higher than the response we normally get from track release postings – despite the fact that only a small percentage of our fanbase has an iPhones or iPod Touch. So either people who were on the fence about Eight to Infinity downloaded it, which is great, or the app has some life outside our normal marketing sphere. For example, I was surprised to learn that many web sites syndicate the App Store feed and republish the content for their own ends (advertising revenue).
One thing is for certain: Apps can go where mp3’s can’t.
In that sense, the app is successful. But in terms of direct sales, it’s a bust with only 38 individual track downloads so far. To be fair, we only have the back catalogue album Aether on there. I think things will be different when we have something new to promote. Along with renewed community focus, the app should allow us to leverage new releases with a higher impact than we’ve achieved in the past.
You can download InfinityHome from the iTunes App Store here.