There’s a development brewing among online music services that’s simultaneously overdue and underappreciated. It’s an arms race, and I’m very surprised it hasn’t gotten more attention from reporters and investors.
But I’m even more surprised by who’s winning. I’m talking about artist services: programs and features that help musicians generate revenue beyond streaming royalties on a given platform by connecting directly to the fans that platform attracts, and selling those fans whatever the artist might choose – tickets, merchandise, VIP experiences, and more.Until very recently, few players in this space prioritized such features, mostly because they’ve considered artists suppliers rather than potential customers.
Listeners are their customers. Building a viable business means attracting and retaining as many listeners as possible, so most development and marketing has focused on them. That’s shifting, slowly, as two separate forces converge.