There's no doubt that social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have done a lot to enable bands to connect with their audiences, but they all have one particular shortcoming. And for the metal genre, new app BandBond is looking to address it head-on.
If you're in a band, your ability to reach your own followers on social media can be as low as 5% unless you pay and if you're fan that means it's likely you won't receive updates. BandBond claims you'll see 100% of the content from bands you follow and as well as its own hosted content it consolidates bands' posts from Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to be a one-stop destination for content.
Reassuringly, BandBond was founded by a musician; Martin Brändström of Swedish melodic death metal pioneers Dark Tranquility. He discovered first hand how frustrating the situation could be for a band trying to reach its own fans when he was in charge of his band's social media.
“The relationship between a band and its fans is unique and not something you can market like toothpaste or soft drinks”, Martin explains. “Without sponsoring a post you will only reach a fraction of your followers. It’s really kind of strange that someone can charge you to reach the fans that actually wants to be reached, and to make you pay for the display of content that you yourself, as a band, has created which generates traffic to their platform ...
“Within the metal scene we’re used to doing things ourselves," adds Martin. "Back in the days when we didn’t get coverage in mainstream media we started our own fanzines, traded tapes all over the world, did local radio shows etc.
“In these days, when you’re forced to use social media, it’s strangely harder for bands to reach out than it ever was. Within the passionate metal community we’ve taken control by ourselves before. Why not do it again?”
Why not indeed. Martin joined up with a recording studio colleague Joacim Starander to plan out a new home for metal where here's a fairer deal for bands and fans.
And they say this is just the beginning. Future features for BandBond will be shaped by the bands and users.
Other acts that have signed on include Loathe, Conjurer, Dark Funeral, Belzebubs, Kamelot and British progressive metallers TesseracT.
"It's extremely frustrating that social media posts are so severely restricted unless you pay," says TesseracT vocalist Dan Tompkins. "As an artist that simply wants to reach fans it makes life very difficult. A solution to this problem is long overdue.”