Ministry’s Ex Online Head Starting Direct-To-Fan Platform

Just over a year ago, I bought in to Idlewild as they became the latest band to embrace the direct-to-fan relationship-and-retail route.

A £15 pre-order got me a limited-edition album, my name in the liner notes, downloadable content and early booking for a series of special gigs. It was a good experience, but the technology Idlewild cobbled together for the job left plenty to be desired.

That’s the space Rudy Tambala, Ministry of Sound’s former internet and innovation head, who left in a restructure last year, is gunning for.

Tambala, who has been consulting for Digital Stores on the direct-to-fan model since leaving Ministry, is launching D2Mondo, a web platform for artists and managers to handle marketing, fan relationships and ecommerce.

Built in-house by Tambala, D2Mondo is essentially an ecommerce platform that could be used by more than just music folk. It’s free to sign up and use with ads on sites, or £9.99 per month to remove ads, plus Tambala plans to take a cut of any ecommerce sales artists do – seven percent of sales under £100 a month, three percent of sales over £600.

Other artists trying the direct-to-fan route successfully include Marillion and Nine Inch Nails, but there’s now a rush on amongst companies trying to provide the technology to support such models, with the likes of Topspin Media offering analytics tools to artists and labels alike.

Tambala says Pet Shop Boys, on Digital Stores’ ecommerce roster, are soon to start offering ongoing exclusive content – including photos and special mixes – to fans via premium payments. “The aim in all of the communications is to drive casual visitors to register, and the registered visitors to become premium paying visitors,” he says. The aim will be “to create an envy amongst users” so that they will buy products or content.