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The reality of music fans paying what they want vs Streaming

Every creator wants a decent price for their creative works.

  • It’s what it should have been all along.

  • You need real fans and real supporters to pull this off.

  • And a platform to do it on.

The problem is how this affects your bottom-line cash flow since streaming has been the focus. Is this why many don’t do it and take the default way out to streaming? What are the benefits of only releasing music this way? Is it the wave of the future?

Fans, Supporters, and an Engaged Audience

For starters, you’re going to need fans who want to support you. Allowing fans to pay what they want before they know you is a tough sell. This is what was so hard about selling CDs. People needed to see a show or some proof that the talent is there and the product is worth the buy. This takes effort, efforts that many artists aren't used to when first starting because they didn't grow up in the physical era. However, I won't let that limit us from generating some cash.

Pay What You Want, Proud to Pay, Name Your Price

This is what the artist wants, and they aren't demanding it; they are building it. The problem this solves is the ability to meet your bottom-line revenue for the album while allowing the customer to pay as much as they want. Many people are trying this method, but they aren’t thinking it through. We need a platform that will allow you to stream it later and not download it only. Doing it this way drops the ball in the customer experience because the market is programmed to stream. - What iTunes and Spotify Should Have Been All Along is essentially an online digital record collection. This is where Apple dropped the ball. Even allows you to purchase an album, sending up to 80% of the money directly to the artist. The fan gets to store it for later streaming right on the app! It is so simple it's genius. iTunes needed you to download and add the songs to your computer to put them on an iPod or iPhone. Spotify took the money away completely.

Why Didn’t Bandcamp Work?

Bandcamp is the OG; however, they were the first through the wall when the public wanted streaming only! The public was fed up with paying for an album full of subpar material and one single. They fell victim to being too early to the market and also did too much in terms of services. Bandcamp is not simple for the customer to understand and aesthetically it is hideous.

What’s the Upside to Releasing Music This Way?

This makes you more product-focused each time you release an album and puts more value back on the music. This also takes more effort.

How Can This Be Implemented into Your Process?

You’ll want to try out this strategy when you feel your audience is ready for a project after dropping enough singles and also when they are begging for it. Otherwise, don’t do it.

Can This Sustain You?

If you release your music for streaming after sales have died down, the model works! Why would you do this? Let’s say you’re small and people still need to discover you, or the samplers only want to hear one song they don’t want to purchase. This severely limits other revenue that the general consumer could be sending you. So think of releasing this way as a deluxe digital version.

Do You Think This Would Start Piracy All Over Again?

  1. Piracy comes with all business.

  2. A file locker will need to be used to stream.

  3. Most real supporters will naturally protect the artist.

  4. Content ID will have to be heavily used as well as copyright registration.

You Recently Mentioned TikTok Has This Potential

Yes, they have the potential; however, if can create a music-centric space that is wonderful for real fans, and let's say they add a fan club element, I believe that will take the cake. TikTok music, however, is highly capable of pulling this off in the next 6-9 months.

Check This Out!

If you're a music creative or executive looking to build your label or publishing company in 60 days or less, grab the 60-Day Record Label Course and get it done today! You’ll gain the ability to get real funding, avoid contractual pitfalls, and keep the middleman out of your pockets. Click the link below to get started now! If you’re skeptical, grab the free guide, "10 Ways to Increase Your Record Label Profits," which comes with a free split sheet download.

If You Use the Pay-What-You-Want Model

  1. You’ll recoup your budgets faster.

  2. Which will allow you to power your career.

  3. So you can ultimately build a system that is truly independent of the majors.

If You Continue to Use the Streaming Model

  1. Recoupment will be harder.

  2. You’ll find your way back to this method of somehow selling merch because you’ll have to wait until the next album to utilize this method.


If you were struggling with:

  1. A way to earn money on music alone.

  2. Finding a platform or method to help you do this.

You now have insight to help you get over that hump.


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