Why we built Mixcloud Select: a fan-to-creator subscription model

Nov 28, 2018 · 5 min read

By: Nico Perez , Nikhil Shah & Mat Clayton — Co-founders of Mixcloud

Mixcloud Select is about bringing creators and fans closer

It takes a lot of creative energy to craft a piece of long-form audio. Whether you’re mixing a DJ set, recording a podcast or hosting a radio show, you’re doing it from a place of passion. It might come from discovering the next big thing, digging for something different, making people dance, telling meaningful stories or simply loving the music– whatever the drive, it’s a passion fulfilled by sharing and connecting with others.

Creators are the beating heart of Mixcloud. DJs, radio hosts, storytellers, podcasters, tastemakers… it’s you, the creators, that craft the shows that inspire communities of listeners. But for a while now, you’ve been left out of the digital revenue mix online.

This is why we’ve launched Select, a direct fan-to-creator subscription layer to the Mixcloud experience. With Select, listeners can subscribe to creators to support them, join their inner circle of fans and get more. Creators can make money from their shows, get to know who their biggest fans are and offer them more.

This is our next step towards building a fair and sustainable ecosystem for audio culture. It’s a new way for fans to get closer to the culture and communities they care about, while ensuring that everyone involved in the creative process is recognized and rewarded accordingly.

Creators, register your interest to be part of the early stages of Mixcloud Select here.

Why are we doing this now?

As DJs, radio presenters and engineers, our journey has been about solving real problems one at a time, both big and small. We launched Mixcloud in 2009, on a mission to create a safe online space to host and stream audio. We’ve played the long game, prioritising fairness towards artists and integrity towards the music industry. From the early days when it was just us founders building a website in a warehouse with dodgy WiFi, to the growing company we are today, we’ve made a point to continuously listen and learn from our users.

“We were inspired to bring the power of an increasingly user-funded internet to the world of music.”

This is how Mixcloud has grown into what it is today: a global community for audio culture where listeners can access over 15 million shows shared by over 1.3 million tastemakers and curators of all kinds.

Co-founder Nikhil and Product Designer Tim workshopping the Select brand

From superstars to homegrown Mixcloud stars, we’ve watched our users cultivate far-reaching, engaged communities on the platform. Digging through the data, we’ve come to realize just how loyal listeners are to the creators they love, often spending hours each month listening to a single channel. In the age of information overload, this is an impressive feat, a testament to the craft and intimacy of the format.

“What we’re building is a next generation fan club that empowers all creators to take control.”

This insight illuminated a clear opportunity for us to design a more democratic funding model. Looking to platforms like Kickstarter and Twitch, and to the direct-to-consumer movement, we were inspired to bring the power of an increasingly user-funded internet to the world of music.

The model

We couldn’t have pulled this off without getting the music industry on board to help realize our vision for music curation in the digital age.

Striking direct licensing deals with Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, Merlin, Warner/Chappell Music Publishing, ICE and many others for this new model has been a monumental mission requiring patience and persistence– and it’s already paying off.

These partnerships have allowed us to design a fair revenue share model, where everyone involved benefits. When a Select subscriber hits play on a show, they can be assured that revenue is flowing in all the right directions: the artists, labels and publishers involved in the music played in that show receive their royalty payments; and the show’s creator receives the majority of the net profit from their monthly subscriptions after these costs are paid out.

We invited some of our first wave creators and community to our London HQ

Pricing is flexible: creators can set their own price for their channel, starting from a minimum price of $/£/€ 2.99. Subscribers can also offer to pay more if they’re really passionate about supporting the creator.

The First Wave

Select is about bringing creators and fans closer. Today, Select subscribers can unlock features that enhance their listening experience, including listening offline and getting upfront tracklists. In coming months (early 2019), we’ll release additional features such as direct messaging and exclusive content. This is just the beginning.

We’re partnering with 47 creators as we work to roll Select out to the wider Mixcloud community. Among these first wave of creators are internationally renowned DJs who tour the globe, and others who found their craft from their bedrooms. There are independent online radio stations, well-respected record labels and cultural curators. Covering a wide range of genres and formats, all these creators have leveraged Mixcloud to build loyal listening audiences, which makes them ideal early adopters

What we’re building is a next generation fan club that empowers all creators to take control. Whether you’re a UK-based DJ booking your next tour dates or a Brooklyn-based radio station offering exclusive merch to your top brand ambassadors, we want your Mixcloud channel to become a means for identifying and rewarding your loyal listeners around the world.

Introducing Mixcloud Select: The First wave

Ultimately, it’s our belief that listening makes the world a better place. When we keep listening to music and stay engaged with culture, we become more alive. Equally, when we listen to the people we’re building and designing for we create better solutions.

For those who join us early on, we’re listening to you.


The Global Community for Audio Culture


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    Listen. Create. Connect. The global community for audio culture. Explore 15+ million radio shows, DJ mixes & podcasts made by passionate creators — mixcloud.com



    The Global Community for Audio Culture

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