Boston: The Hidden Hub of Music and Technology

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Headquarters: Framingham, MA
Year Launched: 2005
CEO: Patrick Faucher
Funding: Backed by Common Angels

Nimbit offers a number of automated services to help bands promote themselves, including the Nimbit Online Merch Table or “OMT.” It’s a software widget designed to be embedded in blogs or other sites, where it functions as an online storefront and information desk. Artists can use the OMT to upload MP3s, album art, and performance schedules, and sell MP3 downloads directly to listeners. Nimbit takes a 20 percent cut of music sales.

“A great many of our clients are independent artists acting as their own label, if you will,” says Patrick Faucher, CEO of Nimbit. “A certain number of them are coming to us because they’ve exited a label contract and have decided that they want to sell on their own, self-publish, self-promote, and sell direct because there’s more control and much more upside for them.”

To Faucher, part of the reason for the flowering of new Web-basic music distribution in Boston and other areas is the breakdown of the traditional relationship between bands and record labels. “The role of the label is transforming from one of being the owner and controller of the distribution mechanism—where the artist essentially worked for the label—to being a partnership with the artist, where the [label] is an investor and a marketing partner,” says Faucher, who last March wrote a controversial CNET editorial article entitled “Where Did the Music Industry Go Wrong?” He adds, “The artist is the brand, and they have the means to go directly to fans, and the smart labels are figuring out that that’s actually all good, and what they need to do is leverage the value of the relationship the artists have with their fans and help them to monetize those relationships.”

The online marketing tools at the heart of Nimbit have been available since 2002, but Nimbit itself was formed only in 2005 when CDFreedom, a CD publishing house for independent bands, merged with Artist Development Associates and Trilby Systems. … Next Page »

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Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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