‘Why the music industry is failing to make the most out of the messenger bot revolution’

The following MBW blog comes from Tim Heineke (pictured), the founder of I AM POP, billed as ‘a simple way to launch your own messenger-bot and start reaching 100% of your fans with 90% engagement’. Prior to I AM POP, Heineke co-founded Shuffler.fm and FUGA.

Chris Messina, the inventor of the hashtag, hit the nail on the head when he claimed that bots are not a fad, they’re a revolution.

Even if you haven’t realized it, you’ve most probably interacted with a bot already. They are here to stay.

Despite being Silicon Valley’s latest buzzword, the hype around bots seems to have worn off.  This is because many early users were put off by a bad experience, asking way too much of these bots and harbouring unrealistic expectations of what they can actually do.

Facebook launched their bot platform as an AI-powered automated chat tool so naturally users had the expectation that they could have conversations with bots. In reality, we are still far away from that experience. For example, even Apple’s SIRI is command-based so anything you ask outside of that, it won’t understand.

But messenger bots can be an insanely powerful and useful utility. This is just the beginning for this technology, but it’s here to stay. The second wave of bots is coming and they are becoming more powerful by the day.

As Founder of POP, I’ve noticed some common reasons why the music industry (with some exceptions of course!) has failed to make the most out of the messenger bot revolution so far.

  1. Creating a chatbot.
    Fact – chatbots don’t chat very wellyet! They are very limited in how well they can respond and what the technology can do. As a result, the chat experience feels like a false promise. But it’s exactly that promise, that expectation that is the problem. So as a result we see ‘chatbots’ that feel impersonal, underwhelming and gimmicky.
  2. Overcomplicating. Keep it simple!
    The thing is, creating a chatbot can be rather complicated and time-consuming for digital marketeers. There is no magic tech that answers everything a fan could possibly ask.  It’s all manual keyword input and that does not scale very well. Statistically, when there’s open input these bots have a 99% fail-rate.
  3. Bots are seen as ‘campaigns’
    Although chatbots don’t chat very well, marketers want to use bots as a one-off campaign, hoping it will attract new fans automatically. This often involves building something bespoke, complicated and high level, which breaks the bank and delivers disappointing results over a short timeframe.
  4. No results.
    In the end it’s all about results. Artists are in the business of capturing the fans’ attention. So more streams, views, merch, store etc. But it’s getting a lot harder. Social platforms use algorithms to make a bit of sense out of the crowded newsfeed, filtering 98% of your updates with a 0.2% engagement. Also, if the messenger channel is not used for ‘outbound’ messaging, then the conversation will move down the list in the person’s Messenger and is soon forgotten. There will be zero attention to the bot so it will bring no results, ie. traffic to content. That’s how digital marketers end up being disappointed.

So, for all those reasons, a lot of artists are not using messenger bots just yet. However, they should.

Here’s why: Messenger-bots that are used as a day-to-day utility can bring insane results; better than any other tool out there focussed on attention.

On average, at POP we see that our clients have a 90% open rate. Let me say that again: 90%! Those are insane numbers.

We see that the bot can be the number 1 driver of traffic to content (streams, views, plays, merch, store etc.) and sometimes it overtakes all other channels in just in one week!

So start simple.

If you can message your mother, you can message your fans on Messenger. There is no feed or algorithm to block your content. It’s a direct channel to your fans.

Then, with that foundation, you can start being more experimental with your storytelling. Yes, on POP you can also build interactive stories in chat format, narratives, digests, campaigns, track voting, ticket giveaways etc).

But send these out as messages (to get that 90% attention first) and don’t get hung up in creating something too complicated!

The tools to reach your fans directly are actually out there so what’s stopping you?Music Business Worldwide

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