Heart of Steel: Interviews

Industry Profile - MusicLoversAuction.com's Dan Shapiro

Music Website offers Auctions for all Musical Products

Interviewed by Keith McDonald

 

Look out ebay, here's a new website that offers a similar type of auction site. But this one is music specific intended for those that are either looking to buy or unload any type of music product that you may have. Even though this site is not a household name that ebay is, it has been making some waves as more and more visitors are entering the site. I had the opportunity to speak with MusicLoversAuction.com's Dan Shapiro who gave me some insight into this website. You can check it out at www.musicloversauction.com.

 

How did the site start?

MusicLoversAuction.com started as an idea approximately two years ago. I, being an online auctioneer and a musician, decided to combine my interests and set out to create an auction site for the SERIOUS music lover. The company Auction Lovers, LLC was formed in September of 2001.

 

What's MusicLoversAuction.com all about?

We are an auction site specifically catering to the hard core music lover. Although we function similar to ebay (person to person), we believe that there is a need for a niche auction site for music. ebay is the leader in the general online auction marketplace, but we believe we can be a well known entity within the music community. Our goal is to add many more features and content to our site with the auction sitting in the middle as the way for this community to exchange goods and services. Providing music news, reviews, forums, chat rooms, artist chats, education, and music specific auction features, such as "live listings", will be key to our success. The auction model works, and we don't want to reinvent the wheel. What we want to do is be of service to musicians, music memorabilia buffs, rare CD & vinyl collectors, concert goers, and the audiophile in general. A market place for everyone who believes music is more than just sound, it's a foundation of one's existence, character, and personality.

 

Will it always be music specific or will it expand?

MusicLoversAuction.com will stay music specific. We would lose our focus if we start expanding into other areas. If we wanted to focus on another niche area, then we would create another LoversAuction.com site.

 

How do you separate yourselves from other sites out there?

We are focused on music, which is the key element. We think we are a visually appealing site, and we have a fully customized auction site that has most of the features offered by larger well-known auction sites. Mix that with what I mentioned above in question #2, and I think we have something of value. 

 

Do you feel the market has been saturated with all types of sites that sell something?

While there are tons of products for sale all over the web, I don't think it's saturated. The market for the average consumer is growing. More people are going online everyday, computers are more efficient and affordable, and high speed connections are becoming the standard. All this leads to a more enjoyable and useful web experience which leads to more sales. I think business people knew right away that the web was good for them, and now I think that the buyers of these products are starting to feel the same.

 

Is there a commission on sold items like ebay has?

We have been free up to this point, but unfortunately we can't stay that way. We will be charging commission, but will also offer a flat subscription rate for the serious auctioneer.

 

How far does your site reach? How many hits is it getting so far? 

We are new and just started promoting our site in January. We participated in the NAMM convention, have sponsored links on Yahoo, MSN, and Ask Jeeves and will be partnering up with other music companies to increase traffic. We had 18,500 unique visitors in January, and just over 26,000 unique visitors in February. We need many more users for us to be successful, and hopefully the music community will support what we're trying to do.

 

Tell me about the monthly giveaway that you offer?

Every month we have a giveaway. This month Warner Bros. is sponsoring it. Giveaways are great. It is a good feeling to give something away to someone. And it's a good feeling for someone to win something. We want to attract music people to our site and a music specific giveaway is one of the ways we are doing that.

 

What type of musical items can be sold?

Anything related to music. Music is our theme. If anything hits the site that is not music related, we would remove it. We are not a general marketplace.

 

Is there a charge to join?

Never.

 

How do you plan on getting musicians tuned in?

Well, it's a synergistic affect. Because we are an auction site, our products are always changing. If you're into music, you will want to come back to see what's new that you might be interested in. The musician will check out the Gibson with the killer birds eye top, and while they're there they might find that rare concert video they didn't even know existed. Musicians are fanatical. I can attest to that. Learning to play music has changed my life. Seller's become buyers and buyers become sellers. Of course there is the additional content that I previously mentioned which will all help make our site a destination for all music lovers. We believe we will get higher quality goods than you will find on ebay which serves a more general (i.e., not necessarily music oriented) market, therefore making us a prime destination for the musician.

 

What's the future for MusicLoversAuction.com?

The future is bright. We hope we become well known and very busy. We really want to make a difference in the music community.

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