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A Conversation with Brett Welch, Founder and CEO
Your band is killer, and your live show is hot. You know this because you can see your fans whipping out their phones taking pictures and videos. But what happens to those posted pictures and videos? What if you could gather all of that content, and automatically re-post it to the rest of your fans? What if you were able to see your most active fans, and also see what points of your live shows are working best?
Introducing Switchcam. It’s being used by the likes of John Legend and others, and backed by Marc Cuban; it’s the real deal. There is amazing technology behind it that I won’t bother you with; put simply, Switchcam does a lot of your social media work for you, utilizing photos and videos, and provides you valuable data to make better decisions. We recently spoke with with Brett Welch, Founder and CEO of Switchcam, to delve a bit deeper into how this can help independent musicians.
Performer Mag: What’s the impetus behind launching Switchcam?
Brett Welch: Fans are already creating buzz, sharing photos and videos on Instagram and YouTube, telling their friends about the show on Facebook. It’s difficult to find and gather all of that content from different platforms. So, we made it easy for a band to gather just the best content, and then provide them a simple way to create and post a gallery back to all of their fans. We also think its important that musicians get analytics on that data. There’s multiple layers to it, but basically, we help musicians better understand – and better engage with – their fans.
PM: I’m amazed we don’t see more posts of video with Instagram and Vine. Are photos still king?
BW: Yes, as far as capturing a moment at shows, absolutely. We’ve found that fans share photos 10 to 1 more than videos. But it is growing, and we’re already built for both.
PM: The core “Gallery” function is really cool. This also seems valuable for data analytics.
BW: Absolutely, the data is important. The “rocket science” is the way we rank the content, especially with a bigger band. For instance, there’s a band called Foals. If you do a search for the band on Instagram, you’ll find horses (foals) too, and some artist content. Granted, there are some great horse photos, but it would take a long time to hand-filter just the band’s photos. We’re able to determine relevant content only to the band, and then bubble that to the top. We separate the signal from the noise, and provide bands meaningful analytics and data.
PM: What can you tell me about the “Excitement Index” algorithm?
BW: The modern response at a cool event is, “I need to take a photo or video of this moment.” What if we could use technology, an algorithm, to find the time when the most number of people were posting the most photos and videos? We start off at a show level – like location, venue, and time – and then we can look inside the show for the moments of multiple shares, finding highlight moments.
PM: So how can a band use that information?
BW: Using Switchcam’s dashboard, a band can compare their setlist to times where the excitement was very high. The band can then see which songs really connected with the audience. It may be different in various cities, so bands could adjust their shows, radio campaigns, and publicity to take advantage of it in real time.
PM: Sounds fairly complicated; can musicians use this themselves, or is it geared for social media managers?
BW: That’s the trick. This is basically an automated social media manager that drills down to what’s important to your fans, and data important to your band, with just a few clicks. Anyone can use it.
PM: It seems like Facebook is very intertwined in this. Is there room for Twitter or Vine, too?
BW: We’re built for it, and that will roll out. But we are focused where the content is most shared by fans, and that is Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
PM: Do you have any insight on how musicians can use Facebook better in concert with Switchcam?
BW: Definitely, Facebook works by sharing the most relevant posts to users. First, it bases what is shown by consistent frequency of posting and looking at how often a user likes the content (an Affinity Score). Artists need to post content regularly that their fans engage with. That order is: photos, videos, links, and then just text. When trying to attain a high Affinity Score, visual content is the king. A useful feature we just released allows you to automatically share a daily photo or video from your gallery; this makes creating momentum simple.
PM: How can bands start using Switchcam right away?
BW: Choose a hashtag and publicize it, even if it is the band’s name; it provides a focal point for social media, and especially for fans. Signup at Switchcam.com and use “Gallery” for free. For deeper engagement, use the analytics dashboard to gain insight. Lastly, get out there and do a great show, while encouraging your fans to take photos and videos of the show and tag them, then share every day!
As a special bonus for Performer readers, sign up with the code “vip-trial” for one month of FREE analytics.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
-Michael St. James is the founder and creative director of St. James Media, specializing in music licensing, publishing, production and artist development.