Streaming services today sell musicians access to their own fans; SoundCloud shows a better way

Back in January, Walled Culture wrote about an interesting initiative by the German online audio distribution platform and music sharing service SoundCloud, with its Fan-Powered Royalties (FPR) approach. At the time, we noted that it was a kind of halfway house to the true fans idea this blog has promoted many times.

We also pointed out that one of the major benefits of the FPR approach is that it provides detailed information about an artist’s true fans, which in turn allows more income to be generated from that audience segment, through targeted marketing of concerts, products and services. It seems that SoundCloud has understood this, as evidenced by its new “Fans” service, now open to some 50,000 artists, which builds on its earlier FPR move. Here’s how SoundCloud describes the idea:

The Fans product helps artists discover their most valuable fans on SoundCloud, tapping into a combination of proprietary data from Fan Powered Royalties, engagement data, and user reach. You’ll even be able to sort your most engaged fans based on indicators like comments, listening behavior, sharing habits and more.

Just knowing who your fans are isn’t always enough. That’s why we’re also allowing you to message those fans easily and directly. Say thanks, share previews of upcoming releases, sell tickets and merch, or just open up the opportunity to chat. Regardless of where you are in your career, you can bring your fans in on the journey – and let them help you succeed.

This is an encouraging development, because it turns the current streaming business model on its head. As SoundCloud rightly points out:

Streaming isn’t working for the vast majority of artists. Why? Because streaming services won’t tell you who your fans are. Instead, they run business models built on selling you access to your fans. And the streaming services aren’t alone – ticketing and merch platforms won’t tell you who your fans are, either.

Most platforms keep artists in the dark about their fans: it’s a really important point that musicians and other creators need to understand if they are to receive fair remuneration for their work, and to take back control of their creative destiny. It’s good to see SoundCloud leading the way here.

Featured image by SoundCloud.

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