‘We’ve sold over $10k worth of serenades’: Aussie startup Serenade launches
Serenade officially launches today, a platform that combines personalised interaction by superfans with their heroes – and a new revenue stream for musicians.
Fans request a performer to play a song from their catalogue for a fee, either as a personal keepsake or as a gift for a friend. The choices are from 13 genres and different decades.
The artist decides what the fan will pay for a two-minute video, within a $100 to $500 frame, with Serenade taking a 25% cut.
Similar to Cameo, the artist delivers the video within seven days and gets paid that week.
Artists on the site include Didirri, Ash Grunwald, Steve Kilbey, Kim Churchill, WAAX, Slowly Slowly, Sarah McLeod, Ella Hooper, imbi the girl, Teen Jesus & The Jean Teasers and Death by Denim.
Serenade had a soft launch on September 1, with 25 Australian acts.
“Within two months we signed up 70 different artists with a social media following of 750,000 Instagram followers,” Serenade founder Max Shand said.
“We’ve sold over $10,000 worth of serenades for the artists.”
Serenade was inspired in part by the hugely lucrative US celebrity messaging app Cameo.
But his platform was set up to be cooler, to accentuate music has real value, and that its musicians not be trashy like some of the social media and reality TV wannabes on rival apps.
A few years ago, some of Serenade’s artists would have been too protective of their brand to have become involved, even if there was great pressure for such a service from superfans.
Pictured: Sydney-based Serenade founder Max Shand
Shand explains the shift in attitude, “As they are increasingly on social media, they are, without necessarily realising it, already engaging with their fans.
“But they are not reaping the benefits from it commercially.”
He said the continued issue is that while artists want to create personalised content, they want to give it to their fans personally, rather than have it up on the web or on social media.
Serenade understands this, and works at ensuring that their trust is not compromised.
Shand has plans to expand the special moment service in varying forms in the future.
But for the time being, the platform is focussed on the sole service “so that there is confidence about the intimacy between them and the fans.
“So the best way to foster the trust is to just keep it at that one product – select a song you absolutely love, you provide instructions, and they create a version of that song.”
You can’t teach Shand about superfan behaviour. At the age of 25, he is a board member of Sydney community radio station FBi and writes articles on music for various publications.
He admits to a habit of jumping fences into concerts – starting at 14 at a Billy Idol show and being turfed out by security for his troubles – or blagging himself backstage to get an autograph.
Responses vary, but Shand explains, “What I love about that engagement you’re part of the story of that artist at that moment you’re both in that same place.
“They’re nice when they realise you’ve got the passion and truly idolise what they do, and you want to celebrate it and stake your appreciation for what it means. “
As to whom he’d want to get to serenade him, Shand opts, after a lengthy thought, for The Presets, DMAs and Confidence Man.