By now, it’s common knowledge that social engagements are important to building and sustaining an artist community, but the question always looms as to how one monetizes their community. After all, the whole point is to earn money from your efforts so that you can continue making music. Portland-based Chirpfly, a Twitter commerce platform that provides a simple way to turn Tweets into sales, recognizes this and has brought on a key music executive to focus on how musicians can earn revenue from their social media efforts.
How Chirpify Works
To first provide some context, Chirpify turns tweets into the sales of tracks, concert tickets and other goods that can be delivered digitally. Artists / labels upload digital content to their Chirpify dashboard, and click to tweet. Consumers then use Chirpify to connect their Twitter and PayPal accounts, and once linked reply to the tweet with something as simple as “@Artist buy (insert digital content).” An example would be "@TomPetty buy Greatest Hits".
Chirpify then sends a secure download link via a direct message and/or email to download songs or other digital content. When a fan buys a ticket, Chirpify automatically replies a download link. Chirpify charges a 4% commission in addition to PayPal fees, but the company also offers special flat monthly pricing for larger labels and more frequent users.
To accelerate and properly position their product on the artist side of things, Chirpify has added Los Angeles music executive Rory Felton as Vice President of Business Development - Music.
Felton’s experience is storied to say the least, founding a record company at 18 years of age (The Militia Group), featured in Billboard Magazine’s Top 30 Executives Under 30, sold over 5 million recordings as executive producer, developed artists later acquired by Sony, Universal and EMI, created a publishing joint venture with BMG Music Publishing (acquired by Universal), executive producer of music videos viewed by tens of millions of people on MTV, VH1, YouTube, and Vevo… and the list really goes on.
I had the chance to talk to Felton about his time at the labels and why he made the switch to a technology company:
“I enjoyed developing talent when the artists were sent through by majors, but they often didn’t pull the trigger in marketing them,” Felton said. “Militia Group had a great run, but I myself became much more passionate in technology and how it was revolutionizing the music industry. Tech companies were helping moving the needle. Indie artists can go out and create an audience in the hundreds of thousands through the Internet that they weren’t able to do just five or six years ago.”
Felton is confident that Chirpify will change the way music fans view social media interactions and the ways they can support their favorite artists.
“We keep the transaction entirely in-stream and all your friends see that you’re now conveying to the words, ‘I’m part of the tribe’ by buying and supporting the artist” Felton said.
When asked if people are confident enough yet to make purchases over social media, Felton feels that there will be a learning curve, but it will ultimately become standard practice of e-commerce transactions.
“Like anything, there’s an education process,” Felton said. “There’s always going be a growth process and it doesn’t happen overnight. I don’t think people will be any more hesitant transacting on social media than they would on PayPal.”
Chirpify recently scored $1.3 million in funding, and with Felton on board, could be on its way to changing the way musicians view their social communities and the way they strategize their fan interactions.
To learn more about Chirpify, head to Chirpify.com.