Q&A With Omri Mor, Founder of Upstart Music-Presale Platform Ziibra: "Our Goal Is to Have Users Evangelize Artists...and in Turn Empower Fans""/>
Following a discouraging campaign to earn his friend, Beat Connection's Tom Eddy, exposure for his solo EP, The Art of Escaping, last year, University of Washington student Omri Mor decided to create a platform that would help musicians connect with fans, and put the focus back on purchasing music. The platform was Ziibra, an idea that went live on the internet this week (in a preliminary capacity at Ziibra.com), and has the potential to be used by both independent and major-label artists across the globe.
Mor's idea is relatively simple: in the week preceding an album's release, an artist can make it available for pre-order on Ziibra's site, and at the end of the week (the album's release date) it will be sold to all who pledged to buy it at a price that inversely reflects the number of people who pledged in the previous week. The more people who pre-order the album, the cheaper it becomes for each buyer, thus encouraging the buyer to promote the album on their own (note also: there is a price ceiling, explicitly stated for each release, that informs the buyer what the highest price they could pay is, so that no one gets stuck with a surprise large bill). As it says on the site's "How It Works" page: It's theoretically a "win-win."
An idea like this probably won't change the game for fans or artists seismically, but rather provide a convenient way for people to purchase albums at less than face value, and can easily be integrated into [those who still buy music's] normal buying routine. To get a more in-depth walk-through of the Ziibra experience, and how it came into being, I tracked down Mor via email:In a few words, what is Ziibra?
Ziibra helps up-and-coming artists make music their full time job. Using our group-buying platform, the more fans that pledge to purchase an album the cheaper the project becomes because the price is driven down through their social network outreach. Cheaper price = Happy fans. Plus, the artists benefit too. By pre-selling a new album, artists get fan reach, cash flow to fund the project, and a marketing platform to cross-promote their new work!
For example, the album price starts at $9.99
50 people pledge, the price goes down to $7.99
100 people = $5.99
200 people = $3.99
250+ people = $1.99
On Day 7 at the 24th hour... All fans who have pledged pay the price that equates. Simple eh?
How will it be different from other fan-funded sites?
Our goal is to have users evangelize artists through our group-buying model, and in turn empower fans by letting them determine the price of an album.
Establish Your Presence: Ziibra is a free, state-of-the-art web presence for getting your pre-release album in front of the largest possible audience. Invite fans to your custom microsite, including the latest audio, social and group-buying technologies to experience and evangelize your music in ways never before possible
Know Your Fans: Learn about loyal and prospective fans, collect insights so you can create great music experiences, reach out to the right people, and even determine where to schedule future gigs and concerts
Own Your Growth: With Ziibra's proprietary group-pricing technology, you have the tools to manage the growth of your fan base. Leveraging our unique pricing models (Local, Regional or National), as well as your previous sales history, you'll be able to effectively grow the number of fans who purchase and help promote your music.
Discover New Music and Name Your Price: Ziibra's unique music marketplace lets you save on great new music. Find our next favorite albums on Ziibra, name your price, and get your friends to buy in bulk with you to save even more.
Buying Music Is Social Again: Ziibra brings back the fun of shopping for music with friends. We don't charge for a pledge until the end of an album's sale (usually one week). So you have time to share your music discoveries with friends and get great deals on new music you're about to love. The more people who pledge to buy the album, the lower the cost is for everyone. Doesn't get better or simpler than that.
Will there be safeguards to protect people from getting stuck with a huge bill if nobody else signs up to buy an album? Is it kind of gambling in that way?
Ziibra allows the user to buy into something they love and believe in. It puts the power in their hands to spread the word about the artist they're supporting to their friends and social networks. Chances are, if they like an artist and are willing to share and invest in their music, their friends will, too. So the risk is offset by the fact that each individual is buying into something they love, and that they have control over. The worst that can happen is that they pay the price they pledged at. Say, $5.99 instead of $3.99.
Where did the idea come from? When/how did you begin to turn it into reality?
Last year I had the pleasure of working with Beat Connection's Tom Eddy on releasing his solo "The Art of Escaping" EP - he is a hell of a singer, songwriter, guitarist... and better yet a great friend - and while we busted our ass to push his sounds out to the public we just couldn't get the momentum we needed (we tried all avenues, believe me).
Discouraged by our results, and familiar with how the system of album releases and music discovery is broken, I decided to try and fix it, and found a kick-ass team (Justin Myers and Tim Munson) to build Ziibra. We've been working on it since last November.
How will bands sign up? Have any yet?
For our beta period, bands will have to sign up to get featured... we want to keep it exclusive for this time to make sure we have prime music for our users. Shortly following the beta, we will release a feature allowing artists to set up their own album pages.
Oh, and we have a great line up of local Seattle artists for the launch... So join us in representing Seattle music!
Will you have to keep a small percentage from each project (like Kickstarter does) for operational costs/profit?
We have to in order to keep the lights on. Ziibra will take a 12.5% cut of each sale (by an independent artist) and offer featured album ad space on the website. As we grow, we plan to offer customizable solutions, and tiered pricing for larger players (independent and major record labels).SW