I recently connected with Robert Hayden, Founder of Monkeybars.net. Monkeybars is a unique socially driven platform that financially rewards artists and fans for distributing and recommending content online. Check below to learn more about Monkeybars, and how you might be able to add this tool to your music marketing mix.
1. What inspired you to create Monkeybars.net?
The rise of the online music marketplace and digital content created new opportunities for the online distribution of content and new revenue streams via social sharing. In the wake of this shift, however, there are only a few major companies, which generally cater to established artists, controlling the music industry. Many of these companies control the monetary value of songs or profits and, therefore, the purse strings of the artists who create the songs.
There are also additional music websites that claim to help revolutionize the industry for emerging artists. While these sites put control of the music into the hands of artists, they do not afford artists the ability to manage the profitability they receive from their content. They are also missing an opportunity to give artists the ability to financially benefit from fan recommendations on their favorite social networks.
We wanted to partner with artists to affect true, positive change in the music industry by enabling an evolution in the distribution of content. In giving artists complete control over the monetization of their music through the Monkeybars website, we are enabling emerging musicians to take back the ownership of their content. At the same time, Monkeybars is also creating a truly rewarding social music site, in which fans share their favorite songs within their networks, rewarding themselves and the artists they support.
In addition to partnering with artists, we wanted to create a way for everyone involved in social networks to be rewarded for the value of their network. There are a number of people who have built up a group of followers/friends, and the only ones benefiting from it financially are companies, such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. If it weren’t for users connecting with family and friends on social networks and uploading and sharing content on these websites, the websites would not exist. When looking into this, digital content (mostly music) was the biggest item being shared and promoted on these websites. Essentially, social networks and major music-sharing platforms were making money from social sharing, so we began looking for a way for everyone to be rewarded for the value of their network and the content that they share each day.
Monkeybars is a breakthrough platform that rewards the user for the value of their entire social network. It is the only platform that rewards artists and fans for the economic value that their content and networks create.
2. How does it differ from other music platforms?
There is a large market of online websites and platforms that provide ways to discover, stream, purchase and sell music. But, we don’t have one-to-one competitors doing what we’re doing. Monkeybars is unique in the fact that we reward the user for the value of their entire social network. It is the only platform that rewards artists and fans for the economic value that their content and networks create. By enabling artist-driven marketing tools and rewarding fans for social sharing, we’re providing unique tools in the marketplace.
Monkeybars creates new revenue streams through the revolutionary Monkeybars Rewards Program.
o Members can browse the Monkeybars Marketplace to find music and music videos.
o When members buy and share music with their friends on any social network, they earn cash rewards each time they influence a purchase. Additionally, when anyone within a fan’s network purchases music on Monkeybars, the fan will earn cash – this reward system goes five degrees deep.
o Members can also earn rewards when supporting Monkeybars by inviting people to join. Anytime a member’s network makes a recommendation or purchase, they have a chance to earn rewards.
3. One of the selling points of Monkeybars.net is that it allows artist to interact with fans and reward their loyalty and support. How important is it for artists to interact with their fans?
The relationship between fans and artists is very important. You can’t have one without the other. Social media has opened up new channels of engagement between artists and fans that simply did not exist before. We are leveraging these channels to socially reward fans and artists alike for using them to interact with each other and promote what they love.
Socially Rewarding is what defines Monkeybars. We believe that without artists’ creativity and fans’ influence, a commerce site can never reach its full potential. Socially Rewarding allows artists and fans to fully leverage social networks for mutual benefits. We are giving artists an outlet to grow their entire catalogue of content and continue to distribute it via any site they want to with unique tools and functionality. By rewarding their fans, artists are creating a digital street team to help them market and promote their content. We are providing a way for fans to share in revenues of digital content sales. Fans are able to support artists like never before and artists are able to financially give back to their fans for supporting them.
4. How can using Monkeybars.net help independent artist as far as marketing and branding themselves?
Monkeybars is a socially driven, do-it-yourself platform that puts control back into the hands of the artists by enabling them to choose the price of their content and the reward value they give back to fans.
Monkeybars is one of the few models out there that essentially is free for artists to post content. In comparison, on iTunes their content would be up, but likely buried and they would have to pay a fee. We want everyone to have the chance to get out there and be heard. In using Monkeybars, the artist is creating new revenue streams for themselves that they wouldn’t normally be able to create. We are giving artists an outlet to grow their entire catalogue of content and continue to distribute it via any site they want to with unique tools and functionality. By rewarding their fans, artists are creating a digital street team to help them market and promote their content. On Monkeybars, we also feature all of our artists in various ways and promotions – something that emerging artists are challenged with in a platform like iTunes.
5. What’s next for Monkeybars.net?
Today, Monkeybars launched out of beta with a new way of showcasing emerging artists – Monkeybars Soundcheck. Monkeybars aims to change the music industry by giving control back to the artists who create the music. The Monkeybars Soundcheck campaign is making this vision a reality. The campaign, which runs until November 13, spotlights 30 emerging artists in 30 days by recognizing undiscovered talent in the music industry and empowering new artists to own their digital content.
Each day through November 13, one emerging artist will be promoted on Monkeybars’ social media profiles, including YouTube, Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. Through the power of video, artists are able to share their story with fans and artists alike, and through the power of fan-to-fan social sharing on Monkeybars they are able to share their music with and reward their fans.
Campaign followers can visit channels daily to discover the latest featured artist, listen to their story, download their music, and share the artist’s content across their own social network.
Artists who upload their music to Monkeybars between October 15 and November 11 at midnight Pacific Time will be entered into the Share a Song contest. The artist with the most social fan shares will be recognized at the Climbing the Rungs Award Show on November 15 and will win a day of music mentoring in Los Angeles with a Monkeybars Advisor