The Other Side with Bandalizer CEO Peter Fabok
Bandalizer CEO Peter Fabok uncovers the secrets of social media analytics and explains how independent artists can intelligently market their music to fans in this week's Other Side.
Bandalizer founder Peter Fabok was born and raised in Budapest, Hungary, where he still resides today. As a digital analyst and music enthusiast, Fabok has spent the last few years toying with data collection. He explains, “The idea of Bandalizer came to me in September of 2011, when I realized that from a musician's standpoint, the statistics found on Bandcamp were not easy to read.” Although Bandcamp allows artists to download their sales statistics in a .csv format, which is similar to an excel file, these statistics can often be difficult to interpret. Fabok goes on to explain, “As a Bandcamp artist myself, I decided that I wanted to create a tool that would allow me to collect data relative to my fan base. I wanted to find out how my fans discovered my music, which countries my fans were from, and which days of the week charted higher record sales. As I developed this tool for myself, I realized that other musicians could benefit from this product too.” In the fall of 2011, Bandalizer opened for business, allowing Bandcamp artists such as Jonathan Mann and Vocal Few to test out the program.
We convinced Bandalizer CEO Peter Fabok to step away from his computer screen long enough to tell us what it's like to be on The Other Side:
Green Light Go: Bandalizer is a unique company that allows musicians to analyze information and data that is collected on their Bandcamp page. So how exactly does this system work?
Peter Fabok: Bandalizer users can upload the .csv files they have downloaded from Bandcamp and save that information in a database. After uploading the content, a user can view statistics, charts, and cumulated data regarding their own sales. Using this program, artists can chart peak sales times in order to make better marketing decisions and reach new fans by locating the countries where their music is most successful. Bandalizer users can also compare themselves to other artists in their own genre, because the system shows anonymous data collected from similar Bandcamp artists. In the future, we’ll be developing social network connectivity, more effective marketing tools, and more comprehensive charts.
GLG: Let’s say that a band just signed up for a Bandalizer account. What happens next?
PF: Musicians can upload two types of files: a mailing list that includes the names and e-mail addresses of fans and a sales list, which is a detailed list of purchase data including albums or tracks that have been sold, the price that was paid for the song or album, and buyer information. Once these files are uploaded, Bandalizer analyzes this data so the artist can look at our charts to track their performance and web presence. Additionally, Bandalizer users can also locate the countries where their genre of music is most popular (based on other artists’ data), so bands can market themselves in new territories.
GLG: As the CEO of a music data analysis company, what is the day-to-day like for you on the job?
PF: The great thing about being the CEO of Bandalizer is that I can constantly create and develop useful tools for other artists. Honestly, I think 'mining for data' is fun, because I am always discovering new ways to improve the Bandalizer database. As a musician with a technological background, I have the advantage of being able to develop and test out my ideas in real time.
GLG: What makes Bandalizer’s marketing strategies different from other data collection tools, like Google Analytics, for example?
PF: It’s hard to find exact sales data over the Internet. Music strategists have an overview of the market, but an independent artist has to discover marketing strategies on their own. If a musician sells one of their songs on Bandcamp, they may not know who that fan is, or how to tap into a wider audience. The analytics available on Bandalizer help artists to strategize. Ultimately, a band needs to know how to communicate with fans. Bandalizer’s tools open that line of communication.
GLG: In the past, you’ve worked with Vocal Few, Alabama Shakes, Jonathan Mann, and Lapfox, to name a few. What bands might you like to work with in the future?
PF: I am lucky to have teamed up with Bandcamp, because there are so many great bands in that network. In terms of whom we’d like to work with moving forward, we encourage all musicians who have a Bandcamp account to join Bandalizer; we currently have over 660 users.
GLG: What is the best piece of advice you could give to a band that is looking to independently release and market their own record?
PF: Know your fan base, constantly communicate with your fans, and learn as much as you can about listening and shopping habits.
GLG: What have you been listening to lately?
PF: Ultimae Records is my favorite label. Over the years, they have signed a number of DJs, like Taj Mahal, Mizoo, and Nova. I create ambient electronic music myself, so Ultimae’s roster appeals to my taste in music.
This week's Other Side is brought to you by: Lauren Mercury Roberts