Direct Subscriptions May Be the Next Level of Fan Monetization

One thing that every modern business wants is recurring income. We have seen many tech giants (Amazon

and apple

to name a few) are changing their business models from a completely sales driven model to sales with a subscription form with the goal of maintaining a stable revenue stream less susceptible to the whims of consumers. . If this strategy works for tech companies, why wouldn’t it work in the music industry as well?

As it operates today

The recorded music industry has always operated on a pure sales model, first with a physical product, and now even with streaming when you think about it. It has always been backed by a successful artist posting more frequent products. In the era of vinyl and CD albums, singles were regularly released as a marketing strategy to keep the album sold. Today, in our streaming world where the importance of albums has declined, artists and labels rely on a constant flow of new material to keep those revenues going.

The problem with this model is that you are only as good as your last hit. Release something that doesn’t resonate with your fanbase and the incoming income goes down. But what if you could keep the income steady regardless of the quality of the content? A number of artists are having great success with direct subscriptions to their fans that could pave the way for the next level of revenue generation.

Enter direct subscriptions

No band today has a bigger, more rabid fan base than K-Pop group BTS. BTS ARMY has been a major factor in the group’s international popularity, and now the group and their label, Big Hit, are ready to capitalize on that popularity in a new way.

While designed to also support various Big Hits acts, BTS is most likely to benefit the most from the label’s Weverse community app. Weverse is a way to converse with groups via translation into different languages, but it also offers a store to buy merchandise. The app is said to have 1.4 million active users per day, while the store has 1.8 million users in more than 200 countries. When it comes to BTS, however, there is a premium membership level that costs $ 30 per year to become an ARMY member. There is no report on the number of subscribers yet, but it is undoubtedly huge since BTS is the main driver of the label’s success.

Then there’s Cardi B, who is reportedly already making $ 8 million per month on OnlyFans. While OnlyFans is primarily a platform for middle-class sex workers, Cardi explicitly states that she will not be showing her fans and instead will use the space to connect with them and respond to criticism. of his music. The subscription price is $ 4.99 per month, and it looks like Cardi is only scratching the surface of what she can make there. The OnlyFans income calculator predicts that she could earn up to $ 18 million per month based on her 70 million Instagram followers.

If you want an example of a classic rocker who also took the subscription route, look no further than the Neil Young Archives. The paid tier of the tier gives access to high-resolution recordings from Neil Young’s full catalog as well as a host of other features for $ 1.99 per month or $ 19.99 per year. There is no report on the number of subscribers, but you get the feeling that this is something Neil would do for free to protect his legacy. It works.

While it’s true that many underperforming artists do use a service like Patreon for fan subscriptions, A + level artists take the idea to the next level. The three examples above show that there are several strategies that can be successful. The bigger question is, will other artists follow suit?

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