Since last week (7/19), when MusicRow wrote about Spins.fm, an interactive tool designed to convert social networking fans into radio requests, there are rumblings that a few high profile country artists are set to take the technology for a “spin.”
Spins.fm has created two widgets to help leverage an artist’s social networking success into FM radio success. One widget goes on radio station Facebook pages and the other can be embedded in Facebook pages for labels and/or artists.
David Baker, Spins.fm founder is excited about the possibilities. “I’ve been making websites for 12 years and over the last five years working exclusively with artists,” says Baker who was born in Hawaii and currently lives in New York. “Artist websites, social media campaigns, everything related to the internet with artists. We started exploring this radio opportunity last year. There is lots of activity with online and streaming radio, but the fact remains that for local artist shows and appearances there is nothing that comes even close to the power of FM terrestrial radio. We wanted to bridge the gap between social media and local radio.”
The company has had early success with urban and Top 40 radio formats, but Nashville and country music is still an untried destination. “Regardless of the format,” says Baker, “we are staying focused on our core products for artists, labels and stations and trying to improve on them by incentivizing fans to participate and allowing artists to reward the fans for a request.”
What is the million dollar question? As the embedded widgets leverage social networks turning the followers, likes and fans into the tip of the request spear, will those requests actually cause the desired result—more airplay?
“Yes, that is the million dollar question,” says Baker. “Right now we can’t explicitly state that if you sign up for a Spins.fm campaign your song will be No. 1 on the radio. However, we have developed a number of case studies showing some really positive correlations and results. Hot Chelle Rae is our most recent success story. When we started they were at 0 and the record is now No. 7 on Billboard. We can’t take all the credit of course, but their team is giving us lots of credit for that. In terms of case studies, we are getting more data each month.”
Baker is intent upon continuing to fine tune the interactive process. “In a few weeks we will introduce a new audio feature that allows fans to record their requests,” Baker says. “A lot of stations say they love the social media requests, but would also like the ability to play the audio requests on the air, like they do traditionally from call ins. From the fan side it gives them another outlet to show support for their favorite artists and from the stations side we’re hoping it will drive adoption. We are also rolling out new features on the FaceBook side, so that after a fan makes a request they can dedicate the request to one of their friends which makes it more viral and gets more people involved.”
With the powerful role that fm radio plays for country artists, it certainly seems sensible to give Spins.fm a test drive. Should it prove capable, it could become a powerful career force for the artists most able to wield its power.