Interview with Noelle Chesnut Whitmore, CMO of social music streaming app Geojam
In this piece we hear from the CMO of Geogjam, a rewards-based social music streaming app that has been seeing some impressive growth over the past year.
Geojam, the rewards-based music platform uniting fans and artists, has been quite busy over the past year. In 2020 alone, the app appointed Mariah Carey as the company’s Executive Advisor and has built an audience of well over 10 million active users. So why are so many music consumers flocking to the GeoJam app? Simply put, while music-based apps are coming more into the spotlight, few are able to offer the incentives and engagement that Geojam does. Users are rewarded for listening to or discovering new music by earning points which they can later spend at the “Jam Shop”. With artists losing revenue due to streaming platforms and the absence of live performances, GeoJam just might be the creative solution the music industry has been waiting for.
To discuss GeoJam and the future of the platform, we sat down with Noelle Chesnut Whitemore, CMO at GeoJam, who speaks on her recent decision to join the company as its Chief Marketing Officer, the new model GeoJam is building around monetizing fandom, and why GeoJam will be investing big in the college touring market post COVID-19. Check out the full interview with Whitemore below:
For our readers who may not know, how did GeoJam come about?
Sarah Figueroa, our CEO, developed the idea while working on a TikTok-like app a few years before TikTok became mainstream. Sarah noticed that while music is the most consumed form of media, there are no social platforms that use music as the connector. In her prior media & sponsorship days, Sarah had worked with Sam on a music festival activation and invited Sam to join her on the journey. Sam invited Nir to join as they have known each other for 20+ years, and the rest is history.
How does GeoJam differ from other streaming platforms?
Geojam is an incentivized platform that creates new relationships and revenue streams between fans, artists and businesses. Currently, there are no direct competitors that cater to fans, artists and businesses exclusively. Users come to Geojam not only to discover and listen to music but to get rewarded through the Jam Shop; brands will reward fans to improve their listening and discovery experience. We have leveraged our extensive network of brands and artists to fill our Jam Shop with a wide variety of goods and experiences for our users. Paired with our GTM campaign and the reach of our brand ambassadors and artist network, we will drive massive adoption as fans will want to earn points to spend in the Jam Shop.
What are some of the live experiences GeoJam has offered users?
Geojam is working with some of the biggest artists around the world in curating and delivering live and digital experiences for fans. Specifically:
- Be On a Billboard with MGK – A few select fans were featured on prominent LA billboards alongside MGK
- Facetime with Mariah
- Design a Jacket – Fans can co-design an artist merch item (ie jean jacket) in collaboration with the artist (via zoom, etc)
- Cooking with Madds – Live cooking demonstrations with your favorite artist
How does this interactive experience benefit users and artists?
To a user, Geojam is a fun mobile app for music discovery, commerce, and new experiences. To an artist, Geojam is a platform to connect with fans and drive new revenue. Brands are able to leverage Geojam’s data to deliver personalized messaging and experiences.
What made you decide to join the GeoJam team?
I truly believe in the team and product that we are developing. As someone who has spent the last 11 years of my career in the Live and Experiential space, I am excited about the opportunity to combine my love for creating experiences, music and merge that with the fast pace growth of tech.
How has your 17 years of experience with some of the largest brands in the industry prepared you for this role?
My unique experience working in music, fashion and culture with some of the biggest brands and talent has allowed me to have a level of flexibility and range that has allowed me to easily identify a problem and come up with a strategy and/or solution to resolve that problem in a short period of time. I have been challenged, stretched and pulled in my previous roles that have allowed me to maintain a level of tenacity, wit and endurance that is needed to deal with the challenges when building a new brand and fast pace culture of tech.
What are some of the marketing challenges you are facing in continuing to expand GeoJam?
With any startup or company at any level, there are challenges that we as a team work to find solutions for. In the era of COVID, the challenge is building unique campaigns in a landscape where a lot of companies have been forced to focus more on digital while competing for the same audience versus a hybrid marketing strategy. I am however, confident that what the team and I are developing will break through the noise you experience online and reimagine the way you interact with campaigns digitally.
From a fan perspective, what is the value proposition the platform is bringing to the table?
There are not many free opportunities for fans to win experiences with their favorite artists. Geojam is a platform that allows music lovers to be rewarded for doing what they do on a daily basis, listen to music. It also allows users to connect and engage.
In regard to artists, what makes GeoJam so unique compared to that of other social and streaming platforms?
We give artists a platform to connect with their fans, increase streaming and merch sales, and monetize virtual and physical experiences.
Can you walk our readers through how GeoJam thinks about monetization for artists compared to other social and streaming platforms?
Streaming platforms such as Spotify or Apple Music have very limited revenue opportunities for artists beyond the streaming royalties. Social platforms such as IG or FB are not necessarily targeting musical artists from a revenue-generating perspective. Geojam enables artists to continue earning their streaming royalties (as we are built on top of the existing streaming platforms) while also unlocking new revenue opportunities such as experiences, ecommerce, etc.
What does the future look like for GeoJam once the pandemic subsides and live experiences return?
Geojam’s original go-to-market strategy (pre-pandemic) was to launch on a college tour across 50 universities in North America. This was scheduled to launch in January 2020 and then the pandemic hit and we were forced to rethink our approach. Once life resumes and Live experiences return, we plan on commencing our Geojam tour and shifting towards live events.