Turn Apple Music’s Connect Function into Something Truly Revolutionary

The expected announcement of Apple Music just happened. One part of it is a Connect tab, which lets artists push different types of content to fans. Nothing revolutionary. Yet there lies an important opportunity inside this Connect tab. One that can revolutionize artists’ revenue streams.

Kevin Kelly, founding executive editor of Wired, once theorized that a creator needs only 1,000 True Fans in order to make a living off of their art. Identifying business models around your creative output in 2015 means engaging, involving and understanding your fans.

A Connect tab in the most well-funded music service in the world is promising. At launch, it disappointingly seems mostly a top-down broadcast medium. We live in the age of networks and while channels are still relevant, a truly revolutionary service should reimagine them. You need big amounts of communication for it to live up to its potential. You need data.

With this data you can rank fans. The top 10 fans get access to exclusive content or a monthly FaceTime session with their favourite artist. The top 100 fans get to see the in-studio footage of what’s being worked on, before it’s released. The top 250 fans get backstage footage. Everyone in the top 1,000 gets discounts on the live shows and merchandise.

In terms of creative business models, imagine you’re running a Kickstarter campaign. What could you offer fans that would be truly exciting for them?

So how do you determine the top fans?

This is where algorithms would need to come in, to weigh the various types of interactions and artist-related activity. Besides that, through in-app purchases, people could pay to unlock certain bits of content such as specific in-studio footage, and that would help them up the ladder, so they might not have to pay next time.

Voilà.

A massive new revenue stream for artists of all types unlocked.
At an even more massive scale.

Now that’s revolutionary.


Bas Grasmayer is a music startup consultant, and former Product Lead of Zvooq, the leading music streaming service in Russia & CIS. He’s best known for his thesis The Answer is the Ecosystem: Marketing Music through Non-Linear Communication and has previously spoken at conferences such as Amsterdam Dance Event, European Lab, Midem and Sochi Winter Music Conference. Find out more at http://about.me/bas or follow @basgras

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