by Francis Bea
Surprisingly, there are few, if any, music industry-focused project management platforms that exist on the market. The task of managing multiple bands, innumerable albums and releases is a cumbersome proposition. These days, managing Twitter, Facebook, SoundCloud, and YouTube profiles in itself is nearly a full-time job. That’s where Offical.fm has stepped in after pivoting from their formerly consumer-focused platform. Today Official.fm is a free project management tool tailored specifically to ease the management woes of the music industry.
Off the bat the challenges most artists and even labels face are the financial struggles of pursuing art and the business of art. Luckily, Official.fm, and its Chief Product Officer, Jason Herskowitz, in particular, run their business by the mantra that the artists (and even labels) are struggling enough as it is. The creators (and team) shouldn’t be responsible for paying upfront or subscription fees for promotional services.
Official.fm’s platform is sleek. The user interface is intuitive, keeping in mind the fact that music managers, PR account executives and marketing buffs aren’t admittedly the most tech savvy of professionals. Jason Herskowitz, Chief Product officer at Offiical.fm, describes the platform’s design as, “Google Docs meets iTunes” and has built the new platform based on the concept of dragging and dropping files. After all, there’s nothing simpler than “drag and drop.”
When signing up for Official.fm, a first time user is prompted to create one of two types of accounts: “Label” or “Artist.” There are only a few noticeable differences between the two accounts. As a label, the music uploaded onto the platform should be owned by the label. All uploaded music will then be automatically subcategorized under the respective artists by whom the music has been created.
But the beauty of the platform is the comprehensive suite of tools with which multiple users, whether managers, band members or PR reps, can use to collaborate on the promotion of music using Official.fm.
Official.fm music player
While Official.fm has left their B2C roots, the team is iterating its simple to implement cross-platform music player that can be integrated into social media channels. The player can also exist as a standalone customizable music player within an Official.fm hosted webpage, or embedded within an existing website. The reason for building its web player is two-fold. First, the tools to create quick playlists are provided by Official.fm. Second, the tracks on an Offical.fm player can be monitored using its provided back-end analytics.
While the provided analytics is not comprehensive to the extent of displaying how long a user listened to the song, or how many tracks a listener played before exiting, users can discern the performance of a track or playlist by the number, geography, and sources of plays for a track or playlist.
Among core features is the seamless and immediate distribution of music to social media platforms. Uploading a track onto SoundCloud or YouTube can now be done at the click of a button from within Official.fm’s workspace.
With pages in Facebook losing its significance, sharing an Official.fm-based playlist or track to a band’s or label’s Facebook Page Timeline will result in an embedded Official.fm music player within a Timeline post. The track can then be pinned or highlighted within Facebook, thereby receiving maximum attention without forcing fans to navigate to new page altogether within the Facebook page.
Meta data is the meat of digital music. It’s crucial information about the track including the title, artist, label, description, licenses and other data that allows the tracks to be indexed by search engines.
Custom privacy settings
Official.fm aids in the management of a label or artist’s privacy setting and permissions for a track. If a track is set to public, anyone has access to use the track for a playlist. When a track’s privacy setting is set to “Restricted” or “Private,” other users must request permission for the track’s use. For example if a label or artist was interested in including another label’s or artist’s track for a for a compilation playlist using Official.fm’s music player, the track’s owners can decide how long the track can live on the playlist. Official.fm’s music players auto-update across platforms. If a track is pulled from a playlist after the conclusion of a one week download period, that playlist shared on Facebook or on its standalone Official.fm page will not exist.
The one caveat that we noticed was that just about anyone could potentially claim ownership of a track on Official.fm simply by being the first to upload the song. What this means is that if Label A is the first to upload the track, and Label B on Official.fm attempts to upload the same track, Label B will be prompted to request access to the track owner’s workspace.
What’s next for Official.fm
The first iteration of Official.fm in itself is an organizational boon for labels and management and according to Herskowitz, its design has been motivated by the question, “How can you make your workflow easier?” The vision isn’t complete however. Herskowitz revealed to SoundCrl that the team has an oversized dry erase board from top to bottom listing features either in the works, or being brainstormed, which we witnessed firsthand.
To satiate your curiosity, Herskwotiz offered us an exclusive peek of the types of workflow problems that Official.fm is looking to solve. For example, e-mail subscriptions are arguably more effective than a social media follower. With this in mind, Offiical.fm will allow users to collect e-mail addresses, and create custom e-mails using templates that could, for example be automatically sent reminding subscribers prior to every concert date of the next day’s performance. The user would simply input their concert dates, and then sit back and let Official.fm’s algorithm do the rest. We’d like to liken it as a cross between Mailchimp and Buffer.
Check out Official.fm’s video below: