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YouTube just acquired a startup that helps musicians sell direct to fans

BandPage

YouTube just scooped up San Francisco-based startup BandPage, a software tool that helps musicians sell direct to fans through social media sites, streaming services, and ticket vendors. BandPage says it works with more than 500,000 musicians, who each create a account to link up with third-party services like Facebook, Spotify, and StubHub. From there, BandPage lets an artist create a custom "experience" — like a backstage pass and meet-and-greet with Rihanna — and sell it to dedicated fans who follow the artist around the web. For music industry professionals, the service is essentially a targeted ad network that can put a price tag on everything from merchandise to a musicians' time before or after a concert.

"We are extremely excited about this because we believe YouTube truly shares our commitment to musicians," the company wrote in a blog post. "YouTube already offers a global distribution platform for any artist to be discovered and some of the best self-publishing tools for musicians and other creators. The team has a lot of things planned to help musicians succeed on the platform, and more broadly across the BandPage network."

YouTube has had a hard time making money in the past

It's unclear how YouTube will make use of BandPage, but the Google-owned video site has historically had trouble making money. YouTube tried paid channels a few years back, as well as a tip jar feature to let fans contribute to channel owners. Neither have taken off, and the company decided to architect an entirely new monthly subscription service called YouTube Red to try and monetize channels the old-fashioned way. Of course, nearly every single entry in the top 30 most viewed YouTube videos of all time are music videos, so it makes sense the service would want to incorporate something like BandPage into the fold.