Music webstores: Why Gogoyoko were best - and why they've already lost

In early 2009 the new breed of music web interfaces were beginning to bubble to the surface of twitter feeds.

We saw Soundcloud impress with an embeddable player you could put anywhere - with a smart waveform and commenting interface, the exit from MySpace became clear. But it doesn't work as a standalone webstore - not it's mission or purpose, at present, just a fantastic tool. We still needed the future of online music stores to present itself, and we needed them to get a user base big enough to commit to them, knowing their reputation and network would be supported in the long term. It doesn't matter how good an application or web site is, if there is little for customers to go to, there will be little point in investing time in it for your band or label.

Coming early 2009? 'Course you are.

Word of Gogoyoko came through, and the classy design and clear payment system made it something for the new music business to lust for. Here were the points that made it so appealing:

  1. Artists get get 100% of the sales profit
    1. All power and value to the artists. No middle man. gogoyoko handles all VAT payments and royalties to music collection societies.
  2. Get extra revenue from music streaming
    1. Because getting a fair share from music sales is not fair enough.
  3. You’re the boss
    1. Artists get to set the price and promote and sell directly to their fanbase. Through gogoyoko artists can promote, distribute and sell their releases and soon live shows as well, communicate directly with their fan base and make contact with new listeners all over the world.
  4. Charity
    1. Charity plays a big role in our concept, with 10% of all advertisement revenues going to partnering international charity & environmental organizations. gogoyoko also provides artists with the opportunity to donate 10% of their music sales to charity.
  5. gogoyoko is for everyone
  6. And that means you too. Everyone can sign up for free and sell their music. There’s no filtering, no limits and no one we exclude. gogoyoko is made by artists for artists and we make no exceptions.

Amazing. It really would have been amazing.

Months later, we still don't have free access to the service, and a new champion in Band Camp has already arrived with the most impressive free stats system and a fast, simple shopping interface for customers.This is before considering the efficient cloud service from Spotify, which suggests we'll be throwing away money on individual purchases if we can stream anything for a fixed (and in fact, very fair) rate.

Gogoyoko did offer me an invite when I pointed out how they have somewhat missed the ball this year, in the UK at least. During the sign up process, some kind of bug prevented me from completing the registration. Tip for self-destructive developers: this is one way to make a user give up on your service.

The lesson here is to roll out your magic, do anything service ASAP, because the attention of the web is a fickle one. Gogoyoko could still become a leader, but their service will have to live up to expectations and floor the feature set on the rest of the market. Good luck with that. Really.

Subscribe to Tom Davenport

Don’t miss out on the latest issues. Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.