Apps & Mobile

Rapper Ryan Leslie Scores $1.5M For Superphone Direct To Fan Commerce Startup

ryan leslieRyan Leslie, who has produced tracks for Snoop Dogg, Cassie, Usher and others, coded the first version of Superphone to connect with and sell to his own fans via SMS. Now investors are betting that other musicians and creators will want to use the service to connect with their fans.

A16z’s Ben Horowitz, Betaworks and other investors have funded a $1.5 million seed round for rapper and producer Ryan Leslie led startup Superphone. 

SuperphonedashboardSuperPhone allows an artist to "own" their audience by enabling direct to fan communications and e-commerce via SMS and delivering precision data (see right) on each social media follower. "Have a direct connection with every fan, so next time you have something to say, you can reach them through a text message," goes the Superphone pitch. "Leverage social networks, don't rely on them."

The startup currently has 2700 private beta clients including musicians Lil Wayne and Kevin Jonas.

Leslie himself has 40,000 fans using his SuperPhone number. "When he booked an extravagant New Year’s Eve concert at a castle in Vienna, he was able to invite his highest paying fans in Europe to attend," according to TechCrunch "He sold 200 tickets at $1700 a pop in 48 hours — all through Superphone."

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  1. Not legit at all. Nobody is dropping 1700 dollars a ticket for your upcoming indie musicians. All of these apps never address the problem, and that’s how to get discovered within the noise of everyone making music.
    That is the PROBLEM.
    These apps, if they work, will only work for artists already established who have already established a fan base.
    Not only that, there’s a super spammy aspect to this shit. Selling shit through SMS? Last thing I need is an auto response message from people hitting my SMS. really? Not well thought out at all.

  2. Oh I think this is legit. My company Adva Mobile also uses text to connect Artists with fans and can help Artists identify superfans – paying fans – through their engagement on their Artist Web App. We’re going at it different ways however mobile does bring unique capabilities to connect with and reach out to your fans.
    Hawkman, you’re right – these tools won’t help you get discovered. What they will do is help you acquire a fan base and establish deeper relationships with your fans and connect with them regularly so that when you ask them to support you with a purchase, that request is part of an ongoing dialog with your fans and not a shill to go to your iTunes page.
    Also, in our case, only fans opting in get texts from Artists, which have a link to a web app. Not an autoresponder (except the first time you text in, because there’s carrier required language – help & stop – we have to send.) In Leslie’s case, I think he’s more about giving Artists the ability to have one-on-one conversations with fans (scale?)

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