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Audiomack adds direct-to-fan monetisation tools

By | Published on Wednesday 8 December 2021


Discovery-focussed streaming service Audiomack has launched a new tool called Supporters which will allow fans to pay to become a ‘supporter’ of any one track or album on the platform. It creates a new revenue stream for the artist, while the fan’s support will be publicly acknowledged within the Audiomack app.

The streaming firm says that – as well as providing another way for artists to make money – its Supporters tool also creates “an exclusive connection between creators and fans by allowing listeners to directly contribute to releases”. Fans will also get access to bragging tools in the form of “shareable trophies” that will confirm their contributions, while artists will be able to directly message their supporters through the Audiomack system.

It’s an interesting development given the increased importance of direct-to-fan monetisation and digital gifting tools on apps like TikTok, Twitch, Instagram and YouTube, as well as the use of platforms like Patreon and OnlyFans by online creators and influencers.

Although the latter are sometimes about providing the core fanbase with extra content and premium experiences in return for one-off or ongoing fees, a lot of those tools are really about selling the ‘satisfaction of support’ or ‘bragging rights’. In the case of grass-roots talent, fans get the satisfaction of supporting the creative process. With more mainstream creators, it’s about being able to publicly brag that you are part of the inner sanctum of the fanbase.

All of those tools are available to music-makers, of course, and some artists are making decent revenues from them. Though to date that activity has generally happened outside – and is therefore somewhat disconnected from – the big music streaming platforms.

Spotify did launch its donations button at the start of the first COVID lockdown to allow artists to direct fans to places where they could make direct donations. But that was a bit of a misfire, because the whole thing felt very much like a charitable initiative, not least because artists had to chose between taking donations for themselves or directing fans to actual charities.

Even in the context of the COVID lockdown and the sudden shutdown of live music, positioning supporting artists as a charitable exercise seemed wrong. Especially within streaming apps, given that streaming was the one music revenue stream not affected by the pandemic, even if many artists didn’t see the benefit of that, for one reason or another.

The Audiomack Supporter scheme seems to be designed and positioned much more like the digital gifting and tipping tools on the user-generated content and direct-to-fan platforms, which makes it much more interesting, and much more likely to succeed.

Though, linking the support to specific tracks and albums – rather than just artists – does create some interesting questions from a music industry perspective. Does that mean artists signed to labels have to share that income with the label, in the same way they do with other royalties stemming from the actual streaming of the music? And should the writers of the songs being supported also get a cut of the money?

Like SoundCloud, creators can directly upload content into Audiomack, as well as delivering their music via a label or distributor. Creators directly uploading content and connected to Audiomack’s monetisation platform will receive 85% of any money pledged through the Supporters scheme, albeit after payment processing fees have been deducted, which will include Apple and Google’s good old 30% cut if the fan provides their support via an iOS or Android app.

However, quite how it will work if the artist is signed to a label isn’t clear. Though we do know label-signed artists will be involved, because Warner Music – the first major to do a licensing deal with Audiomack back in 2019 – is a supporter of Supporters.

The major’s SVP Of Digital Strategy And Business Development, Allan Coye, says: “More than ever, there’s demand both from fans who want to demonstrate their passion and support their favourite artists, and from artists looking to better engage with their superfans. Audiomack’s Supporters feature will help build these relationships and allow artists and fans to connect in new, meaningful ways”.

Meanwhile, Audiomack co-founder and CEO Dave Macli adds: “With Supporters, Audiomack is treating artists as they see themselves – as entrepreneurs building profitable careers. Supporters creates brand new monetisation opportunities for creators while bringing dedicated fans closer to the music and artists they love”.