NEW YORK (Hypebot) – Over the weekend PledgeMusic rolled out a site redesign featuring a more open and inviting look than the previous design. With a backend overhaul next on their list, one begins to see a much bigger company coming into possible view. Last week I spoke a bit with PledgeMusic President Benji Rogers about the redesign and upcoming plans. With a redesign that will encourage browsing and crosspledging among fans and backend plans that may eventually include integrations with partners, PledgeMusic has the chance to connect with every stage of the artist/fan relationship.
PledgeMusic is a unique site in that it does much more than a crowdfunding or ecommerce platform would offer though it does include fanfunding and presales as features. While initially lumped in with crowdfunding platforms, PledgeMusic's involvement in integrating album campaigns, in particular, from start to finish has separated it from most related platforms.
The big idea is that an act can announce a new album while it's still in the imaginary phase and involve fans all the way through to delivery. The platform's focus has been on providing a space to manage artist/fan relationships through that process which this redesign clearly supports.
PledgeMusic Launches Redesigned Site
The overall look of the new site is brighter and airier. Grid or masonry-style layouts (Pinterest-esque) encourage browsing of both campaigns and of rewards on individual campaign sites.
When I spoke with Benji Rogers I failed to ask about heatmap studies and the like. It would be interesting and useful to know how much of the longer texts people used to read when they were displayed on individual pages in their entirety.
Individual campaign pages, like this one from Sevendust, open with a large profile picture that Rogers says would ease the transition from sites like Facebook. It's also fits the more widespread use of big catchy images to open a page on media sites and elsewhere.
The rest of the page breaks up the previous three column design that was similar to most crowdfunding page designs with the pitch on the left occupying two columns and the rewards and related info on the right in a single column. Though it starts with the same idea the pitchtext and sidebar are shorter with links to read more followed by additional sections for pledge updates and a grid display of pledge rewards.
The redesign strikes me as more engaging though obviously testing will reveal the true effects. On that note the current slow time to load has to be addressed.
The Bigger Company PledgeMusic Might Become
Benji Rogers says the redesign culminates their best thoughts on what they're doing at PledgeMusic. For example, they've seen a growing willingness for fans to check out acts they're introduced to on the platform as well as a subgroup of superfans who are pledging across campaigns.
The redesign supports the idea that PledgeMusic could become a destination for browsing, discovery and deeper fan involvement beyond individual campaigns. That's something that seems less likely to happen on music crowdfunding sites but is happening on more community-oriented sites like Bandcamp where fans feel aligned with artists beyond the individual project.
I asked Rogers about the backend and he said that was next up for a major overhaul. We didn't go into a detailed discussion about those plans but they are intended to make the process easier for bands and their teams to manage.
Longer term PledgeMusic is interested in finding ways to integrate partners that are now primarily recommendations to artists that need additional services. This would be a big task, depending on what approach is taken, but such an integration is what reveals PledgeMusic's full potential.
PledgeMusic is already taking tools that bands had to use separately, like crowdfunding and presales, and made them part of a workflow that fits artists' needs. More fully integrating other services would allow PledgeMusic to construct a more complex value chain that would better serve artists while building a much stronger barrier to entry.
Though we didn't specifically discuss that scenario, Rogers did maintain that they were creating a company that would forever change the view that recording and marketing an album are two separate processes.
That alone is a big goal but one that has a growing number of proof points in the form of successful PledgeMusic campaigns.