Having attracted tens of thousands of bands and entertainers, Onesheet is today announcing that it has been acquired by Bandzoogle, a website creation platform for musicians. While the terms of the deal were not disclosed, Bandzoogle CEO David Dufresne tells us that Onesheet will remain an independent product and will be relaunched shortly, as part of the company’s larger, platform-wide redesign, which he says has been “two years in the making” and should be camera-ready in the next two months.
Two years ago, ArtistData founder and serial entrepreneur Brenden Mulligan launched Onesheet to give bands and musicians an easy way to build a social presence on the Web. Akin to an “About.me for bands,” Onesheet allows musicians and artists to build a one-page, aggregated dossier from their existing social channels and third-party services, whether it be to link their music from SoundCloud, Bandcamp or iTunes or to post videos from YouTube and Vimeo.
Last year, Mulligan brought on early Groupon engineer and former Digg senior developer, Ryan Marshall, as his technical co-founder. Marshall took over engineering and the two continued to build the site solo, eventually hiring a handful of employees to lead business development while they focused on product. Late last year, Mulligan and ex-Google/YouTube developer Taylor Hughes created Cluster, a private photo-sharing app and, for a few months, Mulligan was working on both Cluster and Onesheet. When the app found some early traction after its release in April, Mulligan decided to dedicate himself full-time.
With Marshall planning to go on tour this summer with his band, the two began looking for exit opportunities, eventually coming to terms with Bandzoogle. As a result, neither of the Onesheet co-founders will be joining Bandzoogle as part of the deal. Instead, Mulligan tells us that he plans to continue focusing on Cluster.
As to its new owner? While Bandzoogle may not be a household name in the U.S., the 10-year-old Montreal-based company has managed to survive in a tough and volatile market for a decade by providing independent bands and musicians with affordable tools through which they can manage all of their online activity. The company’s slow-burn approach has been gradually paying off, with Onesheet representing its third acquisition to date.
Today, the company powers tens of thousands of musician websites, allowing them to sell directly to fans through its built-in store, promote their music with email blasts and social network integration and manage their interactions with fans. Boiled down, Bandzoogle is a musician-centric, website-building platform, which its CEO describes as a “WordPress, or more accurately a Wix or Squarespace made specifically for a band’s website.”
To compete in what has become an increasingly active space, Dufresne says that the company has focused its attention on offering more targeted features, like music and merchandise sales tools and mailing list management.
Bandzoogle competes in part with music industry players like Bandcamp, hybrid platforms like Fanbridge, and in offering communications and customer management tools, it even ventures somewhat into the territory of those not traditionally associated with music, like, say, MailChimp. Given this is the case, the CEO says that the company aims to differentiate by offering a range of features and by avoiding a revenue model that relies on taking a cut of its users’ online sales, like some of its competitors. Instead, the company relies solely on revenue derived from the monthly or annual fees bands pay to use its advanced management tools.
The CEO says that the platform has been growing steadily and is now profitable, having passed 20,000 paid users last year. Unlike some others of this ilk, you won’t find any big stars on Bandzoogle, as the company has intentionally gone after the long tail, catering to small and mid-level indie artists and an array of DIY entertainers and bands, Dufresne says.
As of today, Bandzoogle doesn’t offer a freemium product, only a free trial, the CEO tells us, so part of the motivation behind acquiring Onesheet was to be able to appeal to a new set of users by offering a free product with premium options and offer a more diversified pricing model. While Onesheet initially launched on a mission to be the “About.me for bands,” it later expanded its scope to include new verticals, hoping to cater to the entertainment industry as a whole.
With its acquisition of Onesheet, Bandzoogle now plans to do the same, moving into new verticals by opening up its platform to actors, comedians and models, for example, and it wants to leverage Onesheet’s user base to do that, the CEO says. Today, Bandzoogle has partnerships with ReverbNation and offers technical integrations with Topspin’s commerce features, Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, Twitter, SoundCloud, Songkick, Bandsintown, Tumblr, Instagram and more, and distribution partnerships with an array of companies and associations, including Sonicbids and ASCAP — to name a few.
The Bandzoogle CEO tells us that the company has had a long relationship with (Onesheet founder) Mulligan, going back to his days at ArtistData, as Bandzoogle was one of the first to integrate. “So we’ve been watching Onesheet closely since it launched,” Dufresne says. “We knew eventually we were either going to compete, partner or acquire the company since the beginning, because it was the missing piece in our product offering.”
The Onesheet co-founders were about to relaunch the platform and return to their original “simple, official homepage” concept, when Bandzoogle made its first offer, he says. At the time, they were more or less re-pivoting to the “About.me for bands” idea, back from the “LinkedIn for entertainers” concept they had gone with last year. As a result, Mulligan (and Dufresne) say that the timing was right.
“There aren’t a lot of companies in the artist services space that survive,” the Onesheet co-founder tells us. “Bandzoogle is unique in this way … We’ve actually talked for years about a bigger partnership, but we never managed to find the right arrangement. But now we have.”
Registration for Bandzoogle’s new site-plus-Onesheet is closed, but those interested can sign up to get on an early invite list, Dufresne says. The company is looking to migrate Onesheet’s current codebase to its new fresh backend and tweak its UI before its full relaunch, which the CEO expects to be ready for primetime by the end of the summer. In the meantime, both Dufresne and Mulligan stressed that current Onesheet users will not be affected by the acquisition or see any changes to the product.
For more, find the acquisition announcement here.