Swarmteams, the mobile social network, has just launched its Music service to bring bands and fans together. The upside for bands is obvious – grow the fanbase, motivate existing fans to buy more and help with organising live gigs. For fans its an opportunity to feel more part of a community around the bands you love.
I wrote very positively about Swarmteams in the past and I continue to think it has the potential to be a global success. Since then, based on my own experiences of building an SMS service, I have become concerned about the complexity of the system. Unless you are an avid user, you will need to bring a cheat sheet with you in order to remember the commands. I wonder if a simpler, less featureful approach for the average punter might be appropriate?
Bands will have to be very careful how they use the system so that they do not alienate fans in an attempt to drive up music or merchandise sales. But I know Iâ€™d be very happy to be part of a Kings of Leon swarm, if such a thing was ever created.
The company has announced that a number of UK bands will be able to use the system for free for a year through sponsorship from Nesta. They already have some bands from the North using it. I expect to see lots more in the coming months.
On a related topic, Swarmteams would be an ideal co-ordination tool for the Paddyâ€™s Valley trip to Silicon Valley starting on Sunday. There are lots of sub-groups visiting different companies and it could help hugely with everyone knowing what is going on at any particular moment.
Iâ€™ll continue to make the same points about mobile over and over. Start-ups like Swarmteams and DownloadMusic show that there is lots of innovation still possible using something as simple as SMS. With the marketing muscle of O2 or Vodafone behind them, these services could grow very quickly indeed.
Comment posted by ken thompson
at 11/30/2007 4:56:50 PM
If the paddys valley team would like a free account just for their trip then just ask one of them to get in touch with me directly and I will set it up for them. All they need is a nominated â€œPaddys Valley Swarm Community Ownerâ€ and this person can invite everyone else who can then create their own swarms all in the same swarm community.
Comment posted by Conor O’Neill
at 11/30/2007 2:27:15 PM
Thanks Ken. Would definitely like to hear about how live users are getting on with it. Iâ€™ve had several of those â€œmomentsâ€ recently, like Paddyâ€™s Valley, where I thought â€œye know, Swarmteams would be ideal hereâ€.
Comment posted by ken thompson
at 11/30/2007 1:49:48 PM
Good point on the fan alienation front – thats where the swarmteams reputation and message ranking system comes in
If a band or an alpha fan sends out stuff the fans dont want then their swarmteams digital reputation will get trashed and no-one will stay in their swarms
The only thing I would take issue with on the article is your useability comments.
Although the system is feature rich there is nothing a music fan needs to remember – no cheat sheet required
For ordinary fans to reply to an Band SMS they just reply to the text as if you were texting a friend – no commands
If you are an Alpha Fan then there are really there are just 3 commands which cover almost everything
TELL SWARMNAME This Message – broadcast to swarm and route all replies to the web messageboard
ASK SWARMNAME This Question – broadcast to swarm and route all replies to my phone too
CHAT SWARMNAME This Topic – broadcast to swarm and route all replies to all swarm members phones
Let me know if you are interested in an interview with one of the music bands who are using it?
Hope this helps