Musicians’ Services Review: VibeDeck

VVibeDeck, a music-related web publishing company, is the latest web-service to come under the unforgiving eye of Dotted Music. The website made headlines earlier this year for attracting $2 million from an unnamed private investor. VibeDeck is set to develop an e-commerce platform for music artists to sell their music by embedding a VibeDeck page anywhere on the web.

VibeDeck

Having secured the investment deal in early April, VibeDeck beta was launched in May and is currently enjoying healthy web traffic statistics according to web information company, Alexa.

The concept itself is relatively straightforward and has been likened to websites such as Bandcamp. VibeDeck allows for the music artist to upload digital tracks for sale. Unlike Bandcamp, VibeDeck has pledged to provide a free service for the time being, with sales revenue to be wholly retained by the artists selling their own songs.

The company’s co-founder and CEO—Lior Shamir—significantly referred to VibeDeck’s “first iteration” being made for artists to enjoy “maximum profit margins”, while enjoying VibeDeck’s free service.

The current market trend, as demonstrated by services such as Spotify, has been to introduce incremental charges, but whether VibeDeck has the appeal to command a subscription-based service is up in the air. It is more likely that it will follow Bandcamp’s direction in taking a cut from sales revenues.

The recent example of Pandora Media Inc (NYSE) Initial Public Offering (IPO) is drawing comparisons with the original dot-com bubble for the manner in which Pandora managed to achieve a valuation of $4.2bn in its first hour of trading, before experiencing several fluctuations. One criticism levelled at companies such as these is their apparent lack of a business model. Although not listed on the stock exchange, VibeDeck must prove it has the business acumen to survive the competition.

Pandora

Intriguingly, Lior Shamir also hinted at future diversification, expressing his hope that “VibeDeck will extend beyond music to touch the careers of sole proprietors and small businesses across a variety of markets.”

This is a significant aspect of the web service, bolstered by VibeDeck’s ambiguous, flexible name. It is a brand that can be moulded to meet the needs of the intended audience, whereas a website like Bandcamp is somewhat restricted by its branding. Whether the name VibeDeck will serve to inspire musicians in the same way as Bandcamp is to be determined, with Reverbnation proving that success is not measured solely by an overt brand.

Cutting through the business side of things, VibeDeck’s service is largely impressive, with 62 per cent of websites rated as having slower loading times by Alexa. The service focuses on the simplistic. Musicians can upload their songs, link their paypal accounts, and earn revenue for every song or album downloaded. Payment is instant, and so is access. The only costs incurred at present are indeed through paypal.

In fact, VibeDeck’s greatest attribute is its instantaneous service. It can be embedded on most web pages simply by copying and pasting a bit of html, and there is a button for linking your VibeDeck page to your facebook page.

The primary problem for VibeDeck is that it does not seem to promote networking per se. The website sign up is simple enough, but once you are signed up you are somewhat trapped in a bubble, unaware of the other musicians around you. Unlike Bandcamp’s continuous and very obvious promotion of its members, VibeDeck’s is somewhat restrained and lacking. It is that VibeDeck itself does not seem to promote enough artists, instead depending on the artists to spread the word about their own VibeDeck page.

There doesn’t appear to be an accessible list of members for easy browsing at present, and if the advertising is left solely to the musicians then perhaps VibeDeck needs a little bit of promotional perspective…

- Samuel Agini is heavily involved in Dotted Music. His interests range from the performance of dot-com companies listed on the stock-exchange and the marketing methods they employ, to consumer trends in e-commerce.

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