How would you build a subscription service as a musician?

15 replies
I have my website, and I am building my list. But I want to do some sort of subscription service. They can obviously hear my music for free on sites like Youtube, Pandora and Spotify, and being on those sites gives me lots of exposure.

They can download them on my site on a "Pay what you want" anywhere from 0 to what ever they choose. I've heard case studies that this has gotten great success for some, and it promotes the tour anyways (where I make most of my money,)

So I'm wondering what can I provide that will make it worthwhile paying 9.99 per month.

Any ideas would be great.
Thanks.
#build #musician #service #subscription
  • Profile picture of the author stlastla
    One thing you can do is to teach people how to make music. I'm guessing people who wants to be musicians are willing to pay to get teaching from somebody they like. Like you.
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    • Profile picture of the author adventureman89
      Originally Posted by stlastla View Post

      One thing you can do is to teach people how to make music. I'm guessing people who wants to be musicians are willing to pay to get teaching from somebody they like. Like you.
      That's definately something to do on the side of my fans. But most of my followers are just followers of a niche (genre).
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  • Profile picture of the author ChrisWrok
    If you gig a lot, I'd suggest that their membership
    entitle them front row seats to any show
    and can hang with the band, see relearsals, be extras....
    (all great for locals)
    and that they are able to download any releases.


    just thoughts

    but just so you know
    there's plenty of software out there that can rip your music without permission

    ChrisWrok
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    • Profile picture of the author adventureman89
      Originally Posted by ChrisWrok View Post

      If you gig a lot, I'd suggest that their membership
      entitle them front row seats to any show
      and can hang with the band, see relearsals, be extras....
      (all great for locals)
      and that they are able to download any releases.


      just thoughts

      but just so you know
      there's plenty of software out there that can rip your music without permission

      ChrisWrok
      Awesome advice.

      And I don't really mind them ripping my music. Like I said, I offer for pay what you want. They can get it for free if they want it in return for an email. MP3 sales are on the decline anyways because of services like Spotify, Pandora, and Youtube becoming the new radio in a sense.

      I todays age, people feel entitled to having the music for free. So that's why I am trying to move into exclusive items, that they can only experience by paying.

      The music business has changed to tour to promote the album instead of the other way around. A lot of the sales will be from physical CDs because of their exclusivity, especially at live shows, merchandise like T-shirts, mugs, and other exclusive items.

      Don't get me wrong MP3's still sale, especially by those hardcore fans that will buy anything you put out because they want to support you. That's why Kickstarter campaigns have done so well for indie artist.
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      • Profile picture of the author Steve B
        Originally Posted by adventureman89 View Post

        Don't get me wrong MP3's still sale, especially by those hardcore fans that will buy anything you put out because they want to support you.

        Often membership or subscription sites are the perfect way to monetize hard core fans.

        If I were you, I wouldn't just "ask for donations" which is basically what the "pay what you want" model is all about.

        I would set a subscription site for the real fanatics and give them private access to special deals that everyone else doesn't get. All the things mentioned previously could be a part of that private deal.

        Charge more (like $29.95) per month - the hard core fans will pay it and be glad for the opportunity. All the stuff that sells at concerts (t-shirts, mugs, decals, yada, yada) could be given away as part of the monthly membership.

        Get creative. Visit the web sites of some of the top artists in the music industry. See what they are selling. Some of them are marketing juggernauts. Do the same.

        Steve
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        • Profile picture of the author adventureman89
          Originally Posted by Steve B View Post

          If I were you, I wouldn't just "ask for donations" which is basically what the "pay what you want" model is all about.
          Maybe this is a good idea for a subscription service.

          The pay what you want is mainly a test. The band Radiohead actually had success through this. A lot of people did download the music for free. But out of all the albums downloaded they made about $6 average on each downloaded album.

          The concept was that give it free to those that want it free, since it might turn them into a hardcore fan if they really dig the album. They might come to the shows, and bring friends along with them, who in return might turn into fans. And those who are already committed will support their indie artist.

          I'm always making new music, so if this doesn't work out I'll definitely change this model.

          Originally Posted by Steve B View Post

          Charge more (like $29.95) per month - the hard core fans will pay it and be glad for the opportunity. All the stuff that sells at concerts (t-shirts, mugs, decals, yada, yada) could be given away as part of the monthly membership.
          I feel like the drop out rate might be higher if the price is so steep. Remeber, I want as many people to hop on so that I can attract more people to my shows (where I would be making most of my money).
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  • Profile picture of the author ChrisWrok
    You could also start a blog about your genre
    so that your fans can read about the different bands you gig with
    or about your bands travels/your travels in the industry

    this is a hard one bro!
    Good Luck!
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    • Profile picture of the author adventureman89
      Originally Posted by ChrisWrok View Post

      You could also start a blog about your genre
      so that your fans can read about the different bands you gig with
      or about your bands travels/your travels in the industry

      this is a hard one bro!
      Good Luck!
      This is a great way to build my list. Because I can start interviewing bands that have an equal amount of followers as me, and make an exclusive interview available on my website.

      It's actually quite easy to get in contact with these bands, and they are looking for exposure.
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  • Originally Posted by adventureman89 View Post

    So I'm wondering what can I provide that will make it worthwhile paying 9.99 per month. Any ideas would be great.
    Thanks.
    Ok, let's see...

    You are touring you say?

    Then make sure you are filming each show!

    You could allow your paying subscribers to download your exclusive live shows as long as they are no where else available online for free.

    You could offer an exclusive Live performance (via stream) each month to your paying fans.

    You could allow fans to pay for exclusive access to footage such as you recording a new album or song. (or cooking dinner, sitting on the toilet) depending on how die hard your fans are.

    You could re record some of your songs with just an acoustic guitar and offer those exclusive versions to only your paying fans.

    You could remix some of your songs yourself, and give them exclusive special versions. (extended versions, instrumental karaoke versions, etc).

    Or at least let them be the first to get it.

    and/or

    You could separate your mix downs I.E. your vocals, and other tracks from a song, and give your paying fans exclusive access to those studio tracks so that they can remix your songs in different genres.

    When they send you back their remixes, make sure you can share them online and allow them to do the same. (there's tons of good things that can come from a good remix being shared).

    You could offer exclusive merchandise from pictures to underwear.

    Try to think of anything that they can download that you may already have on your hard drives that they would pay for.

    You could offer exclusive "how to play this song" lessons on video, and or create guitar tabs, bass, drums, chords, etc....

    You could offer live access to you (live chat once a month where they can interact, ask questions, etc)

    Ok, that was off the top of my head and hope I shared at least something you had not thought of.

    Oh, and don't insult your paying fans by charging them full price at the door when coming to see you in concert.

    Give them exclusive deals on everything!

    The take away here is "Exclusive" stuff!

    Hope this helps.
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    • Profile picture of the author adventureman89
      I cannot thank you enough. You really went out of your way to write out great ideas. Thank you very much.

      Originally Posted by stoltingmediagroup View Post

      Ok, let's see...

      You are touring you say?

      Then make sure you are filming each show!

      You could allow your paying subscribers to download your exclusive live shows as long as they are no where else available online for free.

      You could offer an exclusive Live performance (via stream) each month to your paying fans.

      You could allow fans to pay for exclusive access to footage such as you recording a new album or song. (or cooking dinner, sitting on the toilet) depending on how die hard your fans are.

      You could re record some of your songs with just an acoustic guitar and offer those exclusive versions to only your paying fans.

      You could remix some of your songs yourself, and give them exclusive special versions. (extended versions, instrumental karaoke versions, etc).

      Or at least let them be the first to get it.

      and/or

      You could separate your mix downs I.E. your vocals, and other tracks from a song, and give your paying fans exclusive access to those studio tracks so that they can remix your songs in different genres.

      When they send you back their remixes, make sure you can share them online and allow them to do the same. (there's tons of good things that can come from a good remix being shared).

      You could offer exclusive merchandise from pictures to underwear.

      Try to think of anything that they can download that you may already have on your hard drives that they would pay for.

      You could offer exclusive "how to play this song" lessons on video, and or create guitar tabs, bass, drums, chords, etc....

      You could offer live access to you (live chat once a month where they can interact, ask questions, etc)

      Ok, that was off the top of my head and hope I shared at least something you had not thought of.

      Oh, and don't insult your paying fans by charging them full price at the door when coming to see you in concert.

      Give them exclusive deals on everything!

      The take away here is "Exclusive" stuff!

      Hope this helps.
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  • Profile picture of the author brunojrd
    I been making music for 15 years and am a mastering engineer since 2011.

    I can tell you a harsh truth, it just might be too hard setting up a membership site (as a musician anyway) anything a fan wants they will surely get it for free regardless if is a video, exclusive or anything else.

    Probably a best way to go would build a list of costumers but offering a giveaway in exchange for their email, you would get most surely better relationship with your listeners and keep them on the loop.

    No to mention you can have these targeted fans doing all crazy things for you and help promote your music.....for free

    OR try a new venture and enter the music business side you might just find many better options if you want to setup a membership site!

    All the best and much success
    Bruno
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    • Profile picture of the author adventureman89
      Originally Posted by brunojrd View Post

      I been making music for 15 years and am a mastering engineer since 2011.

      I can tell you a harsh truth, it just might be too hard setting up a membership site (as a musician anyway) anything a fan wants they will surely get it for free regardless if is a video, exclusive or anything else.

      Probably a best way to go would build a list of costumers but offering a giveaway in exchange for their email, you would get most surely better relationship with your listeners and keep them on the loop.

      OR try a new venture and enter the music business side

      All the best and much success
      Bruno
      It's all about having those committed fans. They people who want it for free, and just passively look on will never hop onto the subscription service. But we got to acknowledged that piracy has been around since the Tape came into existence. People would rip music from the radio on their blank tapes.

      Times change, and you have to change with them. But all I really need is 1000 committed fans. Passionate fans. Those who spend $100 a year. Some will drop out, but the goal is to be on the move to replace those.

      Think about the WWE, (World Wrestling Entertainment). It's very easy to watch all their main event shows through unauthorized streaming sites. But they have those die hard fans that hop onto their 9.99 subscription service.

      They have merchandise, they make money from live shows, and of course they make money from the television network (television publishing, radio plays, licensing, ect.)

      People who find an indie artist that they love, feel exclusive. They feel like it's their artist and they discovered it. Heck, I feel like that when I find an indie artist that I love. But that exclusivity makes people want to help them in their kick starter campaign, or in this case hop on to a subscription service.

      Times have changed, so you have to come at it from a different angle. The music business is a billion dollar business, I am sure there is a $100,000 per year income waiting for me in there. And possibly more. Every business has it's challenges, and this is no exception.

      If I can get 1000 people to subscribe (with years of work of course), that's enough. Like I said, I just have to find a way to give them something unique.
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  • Profile picture of the author Brent Stangel
    Have you seen Keith Urban's guitar /lessons package? Learn Guitar with the Keith Urban Player Guitar Set

    He's also pushing it through infomercials. You could do something similar with subs or just a one-time fee.

    Btw - I bought one just to have it. It's pretty cheap but about equal to a $100 Epiphone.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jouvan Johnson
    A lot of great points shared. Just to add I would say read the article 1000 true fans it is a great concept and could help you come up with more idea's of how to cater to your audience.

    Fans of band will happily pay for more personal attention from you so I like the idea about a membership where they get exclusive things and access back stage etc
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  • Profile picture of the author AntonioSeegars1
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    • Profile picture of the author adventureman89
      Originally Posted by AntonioSeegars1 View Post

      If you want people to pay monthly to see you, then the best thing for you to do would be to turn your life into a reality show, and let everybody see what's going on with you at all times.
      This will probably be incorporated into this somehow.
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