Tom Mizzone believes there should be fewer barriers between artists and their fans. The man behind the Sweet app believes fans—consumers— create a tremendous amount of value. Mizzone, 48, saw an opportunity to create a platform that rewards consumer action and consumer behavior. Enter Sweet, the SoHo-based app bringing fans closer to their favorite artists and rewarding them in the process.
“Fan engagement is valuable,” Mizzone urges. “With the Sweet app, we have paired fan engagement with fan rewards. Artists, musicians and influencers are looking for deeper levels of engagement—whether that’s more Spotify and Apple Music streams, more follows and playlisting, or more shares of their latest single or music video. At Sweet, we have built a harmonious economy of consumers getting real value for their engagement, while materially supporting the artists and talent brands who are opting into the platform.
“In the music industry, both fans and artists can benefit from more meaningful connections and engagement. Fans are looking for great content and deeper relationships with their favorite artists, and artists are looking for music streams, saves, and follow actions from socially active, under 25 year-old, US-based fans to boost their profile and positively impact future music releases.”
Sweet brings this together on a unified platform where all participants are benefiting. “We’re giving artists tools to engage with this powerful fan-base at a much deeper level in order to drive their message... and fans are accumulating value in the form of a digital token which can be spent in a one-of a-kind rewards marketplace,” Mizzone further explains.
When asked if Mizzone wishes he had a Sweet-like app in his youth to connect him with his favorite artists, he says: Of course!
It’s easier than ever to get closer to your favorite acts, and Sweet is giving power back to consumers in return for their most precious asset: their time. When we choose to engage, we are giving our time, and our time is money. In Sweet’s case, time is “Sugar” - the Sweet-based currency used on the platform.
DJBooth: Can you give me the Sweet app elevator pitch?
Tom Mizzone: Sweet is based on this premise that consumers create a tremendous amount of value. Our data is valuable. The time we spend consuming content is valuable. Showing up at concerts and events is valuable. The world’s changed, and I saw an opportunity where most platforms/programs that reward consumers were rooted in purchase behaviors where we are only valuable to a brand or partner when we buy something. Yet the world we live in now is social, interconnected, realtime, and transparent. As consumers we’re creating hundreds of billions of dollars of value with our actions. The whole premise of Sweet is: Let’s build a platform that recognizes and rewards our time and our engagement. Then transfer that value to a digital wallet and give fans access to amazingly cool products, rewards and experiences. And we built this in a way where the actions fans take are highly valuable to the talent brands and artists on the platform.
What problem did you see in the market that Sweet acts as a solution for?
Artists are looking for new ways to reach a Gen-Z/Millennial audience, and cut through the noise. They want ways to get their message out and create organic and authentic engagement with users. In addition, consumers/fans deserve something for their data, time, and consumption. We’re the first platform that’s doing both. We’re giving artists tools to reach new, young fans on a daily basis and engage with them at a much deeper level, and fans are getting really cool stuff in the marketplace. Fans deserve to be rewarded, and talent brands are looking for new tools to reach this powerful Gen-Z audience - that’s what we’ve created.
How does Sweet bridge the gap between artists and their fans?
Fans want access. Fans want to get closer to their favorite artists. Marketplaces haven’t existed that can get you a cameo in a music video, do a jam session with a pop star, or let you visit a hip-hop artist and play basketball at their home court. We’re giving fans a new level of access, and in return, the artists are activating fans to drive their message, drive high concentrations of music streams and valuable fan actions. Access and unique fan experiences drive the emotional connection with fans, and the byproduct of that is fans want to step up for you and help boost and promote your content.
How does Sweet characterize a “fan” or “consumer” in 2020? Especially when it feels like fans are the new influencers.
We have a fast-growing, young audience that is passionate about music, entertainment, social media and pop culture. We have a unique ability for an artist to present music and content to a new fan base that is passionate, willing to engage, and most importantly, share with friends. The fan in 2020 is someone who loves discovering new music and content and then telling the world about it. We have that fan! What’s cool about Sweet is it’s a unified platform for the fans and consumers of this new decade.
Through the mechanisms of the app, consumers remain engaged and active, and are being rewarded as they discover new artists, new songs and new content. If your song is featured on the Sweet app, not only do you get a supercharged boost of streams on the platform, but based on how the users are reacting to your content, we algorithmically present “longtail” actions for fans to complete. For example: Heard of Yung Blue? Wanna check out his new single? Did you like Yung Bleu’s new single? Yeah, I loved it. A little later: You mentioned you loved Yung Bleu, why don’t you follow him on Spotify? Boom. They get the follow. And then: You loved that single, why don’t you save it to your library?
[Artists are] bringing their fans in, reaching new fans and turning [all of them] into super ambassadors. It’s a cool mechanism.
What’s been the response from fans using the platform? From artists?
The industry response has been overwhelmingly amazing. We recently had a Country/Pop music artist host a Sugar Rush experience on the Sweet app. We call it a live listening party. During the game experience, we’ll spin the music of the night: a single or new track the artist wants the world to hear. We stream the music directly from DSPs, getting the artist all those valuable listens. Fans who react favorably to the music are invited to save the song, the album, and follow the artist. Throughout the game, fans are getting closer to the artist and chatting with other fans.
Everyone gets Sugar (which is our in-app token) for playing. With that Sugar, users can access the marketplace. At the end of the game, we provide a report for the artist. What’s cool is, Megan Davies, the Country/Pop artist I mentioned earlier, was playlisted the next morning on an Official Spotify Playlist with nearly 300,000 followers after her Sugar Rush because of the valuable actions that took place by real Sweet users during the game. We just hosted a game with Echosmith, and they saw a strong uptick of streams, saves and follows on Spotify. The Sugar Rush is only one feature of a broad app that can be leveraged to drive interest, discovery, and longtail actions in the Sweet universe.
As a music fan, how much would you have loved to have something like Sweet in your formative years?
That’s a good question! I would’ve loved it because we’ve got this vibrant marketplace. I’m a very selective user—if I like something, I like it. If I don’t, I don’t. Young fans today are also very discriminating with their preferred music streaming service, and only save music they like. That’s how the app has been built. You can’t perform earning actions on content that didn’t do it for you. It’s built to ensure the actions taken by users reflect how well the artist has been received. It’s next-level discovery with a rewards marketplace to access things we all love: Airpods, Beats, PS4s, subscriptions to streaming services, concert tickets, access to artists, backstage passes and more. It would’ve been cool to have this mechanism to discover artists.
Where do you see Sweet heading in the next five years?
The user and talent base are growing at a rapid and accelerating pace and taking on a life of its own which is great. We want Sweet to be a daily habit—an area where users can listen to the music they want and be rewarded while also discovering new artists and new music. There’s a big vision in terms of the value we’re providing consumers and artists. We want to keep creating magical experiences between artists and fans.