Sarah Beth Perry knew she wanted to work in the music industry. After studying music, business, and entrepreneurship at Belmont University — and because of her self-proclaimed boy band ‘super fan’ status growing up — she started to look for ways to work on the fan engagement side of the industry.
“I actually started Googling and researching to find a company that I wanted to work for that did exactly this…and could not find anything that I felt like was truly serving both of the artists and the fans,” Perry told Hypepotamus.
That was ultimately the spark to start With The Band, the platform that helps connect artist’s teams and fans in the “modern-day version of a fan club.”
After competing in several pitch competitions across Tennessee, Perry said the team was able to launch an “app that enables bands and artists to create and participate in fan projects and fan meetups.”
Their first fan activation was in late 2019 with the Jonas Brothers reunion tour, which got 16,000 fans in a Nashville concert arena to participate in a coordinated message fan activation.
With The Band also worked with Kacey Musgraves’ fans during her fall concert tour.
MUSIC FANS IN THE AGE OF COVID
“When COVID hit, a bunch of managers reached to say ‘hey, Sarah, Beth, what do we do besides Instagram Live?’”
COVID, of course, shut down concerts. But Perry saw 2020 as an opportunity to build new fan experiences while creating unique revenue streams for artists.
Artists get to hone in on a newly-built community while getting access to new data around fans.
“I ended up getting a team together of around 15 different artists and managers and we created a focus group for about eight months, and have really built out this new software that’s both web and mobile. It enables artists to create their own fan crews, which we say is our modern-day version of the fan club.”
Perry describes it as bringing the Patreon business model to Masterclass for artists working with a major label.
Fans join different customized portals for each band they want to follow. Artists can create anything from private hangouts, behind-the-scenes content, to voting options on new album artwork. “We’re opening both the communication from artists of bands, but also fans to bands, which we really noticed no other platform has done,” added Perry.
Currently, the all-female team is three people with additional interns and contractors. They’ve bootstrapped to date, and are looking to fully launch the platform at the end of April.
Photos provided by With The Band