I recently had the opportunity to Interview an upcoming Leader and Developer in Social Music Marketing..a Business Graduate launching a new business from London,England: Nathan Barlow, I met Nathan via the web after one of my artist was featured in Underground Music Blog “PIGEONS & PLANES” (@pigsandplans via Instagram) and he gave us an opportunity to be innovators on the site. I talked with Nathan about the vision of his company and what some of his thoughts were on Music Promotion
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duanebanx Interviews Nathan Barlowe of Ekko.Fm
Basically give me an overview of the business…what is your purpose?
Ekko’s a curated music promotion and streaming platform for independent, unsigned, and underground artists.
Inspired by vinyl sleeves, street art, and photography, we’ve got a uniquely visual approach to sharing music. Artists can create photo galleries that are attached to their tracks, like a digital album booklet. These collections can then be shared across the web, giving fans direct access to an artist’s music, lyrics, artwork, and images, anywhere. It means that an artist’s visual content can be used to directly enhance the music they’re sharing, rather than having it spread across a bunch of different sites across the web, which dilutes their promotion and branding efforts.
The site’s also curated, helping emerging talent stand out and get heard.
How can artists benefit from using your service?
There’s three key benefits that artists get from using Ekko over other music sharing sites:
- Bringing visuals into the music experience shifts focus away from sharing music purely as an audio file, giving more scope for creativity and self expression.
- Our curation system – although we’re quite tight with which artists we let onto the site, this means there’s a lot less ‘noise’ for fans to dig through in order to find good music- resulting in easier discovery, and increased exposure, for the artists who are using Ekko.
- We’re currently finishing off some really cool stat and analytical features. These haven’t been released publicly yet so I can’t give too much away, but it involves a visual tool that will help artists create better music.
How was it started and what was the motivation behind it?
I started Ekko during my time at Berklee College of Music. The idea, though it’s changed since then, won the school’s ‘Emerging Business Model’ competition, which resulted in us going to Berlin to pitch at Rethink Music’s Venture Day competition. We got a lot of positive feedback from there, so I decided to move to London to work on the site full time. Jason, who runs the technical side of the site, joined a few months ago, making Ekko a 2-man team.
The motivation behind the site was simple – I have a lot of talented friends who are really struggling to stand out and get their music heard. I wanted to create a site that would give them the creative tools to do this. The key question for me was ‘how can we keep fans engaged for longer than it takes to click play on a track’? The longer a fan spends interacting with an artist’s content, the more they’re stepping inside that artists’s creative world. That’s where meaningful connections happen between an artist and a listener.
Who are some artists that have successfully used your site and how?
MOODYGOOD, who’s a label mate of Skrillex, was one of the first guys to get on board… we were really excited about that! So was Porter Ray, who recently signed to Sub Pop. We’ve also got emerging rap artists like WebsterX, Tut, and Ozzie, who have all been picked up by blogs like Pigeons & Planes as artists to watch.
Artists nowadays have to focus just as much on things like their identity/brand as they do making music. Visuals drive online engagement, and are a key way to connect with fans. These early users of the site realise that.
Give me a brief bio of youself and where you plan to be in the next five years?
I’m originally from just outside Manchester, England, but have been lucky enough to have lived in some cool places around the world (Detroit, Brussels, Valencia, London). I’m a producer (going under the name En-B), and studied music production at Leeds College of Music in England. I then did a Masters in Music Business at Berklee College of Music. I’m currently living in London, where Ekko is based.
In 5 years I’d like Ekko to be stable enough that we can branch out and start creating things like a record label to help the emerging artists on the site, clothing lines, etc. I’d also love to be living somewhere with a bit more sun than London.
Written by Jamaal “Duane Banx Int’l” Williams
March 13/2015 Copyright BlackTie Musiq Group LLC
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