Why People Pay for Subscription Entertainment Services
Karen Allen
14117

Interesting analysis. I think fundamentally the Twitch type model is one that only works within a community. It’s about wanting to pay, not having to pay. We’ve seen bands and comedians adopt a version of this with a ‘pay what you want’ system, but it’s aimed specifically at their community of devoted fans. The closest thing to Twitch for artists would be Patreon, which seems to work reasonably well, but Patreon & Twitch aren’t really about making a tonne of money, it’s small levels of funding for niche interests.

I’m not sure that could ever be a model for a streaming music service, where the question is what do I have to pay? And as you note, the answer is nothing really. Netflix and Amazon attract people with exclusive content, but we’re used to exclusive content on TV, you need station A to watch Show B. That doesn’t exist with music in the same way, You never had to tune into a specific radio station to hear the new Katy Perry, hence the annoyance at exclusives (although some people will pay for them anyway).

Perhaps streaming services are seen more like a radio replacement than a buying music replacement? And since radio is generally free and ad supported, that model works (this is why I found it strange that Apple went with a radio dj gimmick, we already have djs on free radio). The point is, I have options as a music listener.

So the problem as I see it, is this, for someone to want to pay for something (the Twitch model) you have to have a connection with the artist, you don’t have a connection with a streaming service (did Tidal try to create this connection by having it fronted by ‘the artists you love‘). So yes, you’re left with have to pay, and as you note, you simply don’t have to pay to get essentially the same service.

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