Loudbytes Brings Digital To Physical Retailers
Ruben Lozano was helping artists with marketing and new media when he found a disconnect between the new models for selling music and the old ones.
“It wasn’t making sense to go out and try to sell CDs,” he says.
The answer he came up with was to bundle CDs with other merchandise in stores. That eventually led to loudbytes, which brings physical retailers a tool to bundle digital downloads with physical goods.
Lozano says one of the reasons physical retailers hadn’t sold digital downloads in the past was because they weren’t being given the option to sell anything but CDs. “I think we found an interesting void in the marketplace. It’s curious why it hadn’t been done,” he says.
Last year, loudbytes even secured a deal with Soundscan to ensure their products are counted as sales, just like iTunes downloads or CDs sold at local record shops.
The company has launched their service with a focus on retailers outside the music space, signing on the California surf and skate apparel retailer Sun Diego. Now when you check out at the counter with your t-shirt or surfboard, you might be offered the opportunity to buy a few songs from a local indie surf-pop band.
The reason loudbytes has signed on a surf company like Sun Diego is probably in part because music retailers have been hit hard by the digital revolution and online piracy (some stores, like Tower Records, have closed their doors completely), and partly because of how the surf shops do their marketing.
“The action sports world has always been very good at understanding their market. They’re so in touch with what’s going on because they’re sponsoring riders, surfers, skaters, and snowboarders. They’re entrenched in the culture,” say Lozano.
Lozano says that retailers like Sun Diego have “a natural affinity for music,” and bundling music with apparel gives them an opportunity to offer something extra to customers.
Lozano says that loudbytes wants to create the same success story in stores that companies like Topspin, whose platform many artists now use to sell their music, merch, and even tickets, have shown exist in e-commerce. “You have unique opportunities that exist online, and you have unique opportunities that exist offline,” he says.
Lozano calls the lack of digital music sales in physical retailers up until now a “lost opportunity.”
“Walk through a mall, and walk into stores and you can see where there’s a fit for music. In almost every store you walk into, you’re listening to it.”