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Music marketing, version 2.0

Max Conley, DMSB'17, is one of two students behind a first-of-its-kind relationship management software for up-and-coming musicians. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

Independent musicians are like small businesses, says Vivian Ma, one of more than 400 students to present projects at RISE. “They don’t have the same capabilities to grow like big corporations do.”

That is, perhaps, until now.

Ma and fellow student Max Conley, both DMSB’17, have prototyped a first-of-its-kind relationship management software to help up-and-coming artists better connect with their fans and grow their brands.

Created in partnership with Green Line Records, Northeastern’s student-run record label, the so-called Fan Relationship Manager acts as a data aggregator that links artists’ existing social media data, concert data, and sales data for music and merchandise.

A sales pipeline allows artists to determine their fans’ life cycles—that is, whether they are casual listeners, influencers, or somewhere in between—improve marketing activities within segmented populations, and gain greater transparency into fan acquisition and retention.

Ma compares the Fan Relationship Manager to HubSpot, the popular inbound marketing and sales platform. The prototype exists, the undergraduate researchers say, “so that careers in music can thrive and be financially sustainable in a highly monopolized industry and so that smaller artists can revitalize the industry from the bottom up.”