Hate Spotify? Then Start Your Own Damn Subscription Service…

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Beyonce minted millions on iTunes and dealt streaming one of its biggest blows to date.  But she’s not the only artist side-stepping Spotify: just recently, deadmau5 ‘windowed’ Spotify while maximizing the first-run revenue from album downloads.  But this one might take the cake: instead of choosing whether to give his music to an existing streaming service, deadmau5 (aka Joel Zimmerman) is building his own and charging for it.  And most importantly, he’s flooding the platform with exclusives that are only available to paying subscribers.

Which means, deadmau5 controls the costs, controls his distribution, collects 100% of the payouts, and erases all the funny business that happens between streaming service, label, and artist.

The roll-your-own subscription service isn’t the first of its kind: a smattering of artists and labels have created their own dedicated subscription environments over the years, with limited success.  This time around, live.deadmau5.com is coming from one of the biggest artists on the planet, from one of the most sought-after (and lucrative genres), and to a more streaming-friendly fan environment.  And it’s happening right before a string of post-Christmas tour dates, which offers the perfect opportunity to the promote his shiny new platform.

Here’s how it works: anyone can register and jump in, but the perks are extremely limited for free users.  The free experience includes thirty-second clips, photos, videos, and a small number of live streams, and that’s about it.

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The rest is for the crowd that pays $4.99 a month (or $44.99 a year) gets the full suite of exclusive tracks, with downloads also part of the package.

And the majority of streams (and downloads) are only available to paying subscribers.  Subscribers also include live tutorials from deadmau5 himself, live events and concerts, and participate in message boards and chats.  On occasion, Zimmerman will chat directly with a few lucky superfans.

The platform currently includes Mac and PC apps, with iOS, Android, and Windows Mobile apps coming in March of 2014.  Upfront was responsible for building the backend.

24 Responses

  1. john

    good fucking luck, 44 a year for one artist or 120 for almost all artists on a real streaming service. maybe if charged a dollar a month. also i can’t wait for this assholes moment in the sun to burn out, what an annoying overrated piece of shit.

  2. Yves Villeneuve

    I think Paul is a superfan of this rodent (joke). Did you subscribe, Paul?

    • Paul Resnikoff

      Ha, strange that you know that Yves, then again the funeral for privacy happened long ago. I’m thinking about subscribing… though my period of listening to deadmau5 24/7/365 has passed. The obsession wore off a little.

  3. Maugarz

    I think that what is really wrong with subscription services like spotify its the subscription service concept it self. Period. What Deadmau5 is doing connecting with his true fans its fantastic and he will do amazingly well. Although personally I would lower the monthly rate for something around 1.99 dlls. So that way at the end of the year one subscriber could cover what one full album and some extras would cost if bought in the store.

  4. cjhoffmn

    I’m extremely interested to see how this does. I was checking it out the day he launched it – and I think its a great experience for fans, and a pretty interesting way for the performers to stay in touch. I do think the pricing is too high for now – I imagine that will fluctuate, depending on how many people are willing to try this.

    This and Drip.FM look interesting, but overpriced. A service that collected these into one place so I was only paying for the artists I really was interested in seem to be a possible streaming / lockering service that could compete with Pand and Spot.

  5. Josh Cartu

    John, you’re the piece of shit. This guy works his ass off, is connected to technology and his fans and most importantly, as an artist, his sets are unique, include almost all his own music and he’s been doing this for years. Fuck off, look yourself in the mirror and when you realize what a useless sack of shit you are, feel free to supply the planet with more oxygen by hanging yourself.

    • Santa-Mau5

      Well Josh… ! John What part of the F*** u don’t understand…. a price is set while evaluating different variables in the market…why would a loyal fan of Mau5 pay a sub that is divided to all artists… which part of the new era of music bizz u dont understand. D2C is here & will stay 4 long…. !

    • Anonymous

      Forcing fans to subscribe to a pricey service to get cookie crumbs you drop once in a while just to take it all away when they stop paying… that’s not connected. That’s milking all the cash you can from people who don’t understand the value of money.

      • Paul Resnikoff

        Except deadmau5 is allowing subscribers to also download any track released (sorry for destroying the entire premise of your comment ;-D)

      • Anon

        if you haven’t paid for a subscription and haven’t seen the content, then you cannot comment. he has live streamed and has chatted with his fans on the live chat all day, almost everyday, since the website started. aspiring producers ask all their questions and he spends his time answering / helping / connecting with his fans. so you can move along with your pathetic life now which I’m assuming hasn’t amounted to much considering how irritated someone else’s business has got you, and let his fans be happy.

  6. TuneHunter

    I like it! Time for 30s clips everywhere – unmarked – ready for toll transfer to playlist or hard drive.
    All Echo Nest similar choices should arrive same way to all Spoty users 9 cents to Echo, 9 cents to Spoty and lucky 21 to the owners!

    However there is a small problem: Shazam boys will take you to VEEVOO and the game is over.

    LABELS killing the LABELS.

    Thank you Mr Keeling.

  7. Matt Young

    Anytime an artist can make money for the sweat equity we put in I say BRAVO! best of luck to him. Hope it trends.

  8. PiratesWinLOL

    Seriously, I can’t imagine anyone pay the monthly fee for this Mickey Mouse guy. Why not just pay 5 USD more and get his crap plus everything else (almost). It is ridicules how bad this offer is.

  9. FarePlay

    Kudos to this band. If you don’t like your situation look for alternatives. If you just say can’t be done, then surely you will be right.

  10. hippydog

    Hopefully DMN will be able to keep us updated on this..

  11. Bandit

    I sincerely hope he succeeds, however my cynical and skeptical nature leads me to believe that Deadmau5 will be a bitter and frustrated digital music distributor/broadcaster in 5 years or less then wonder why he ever thought that this was a good idea in the first place.

    • Anon

      I wouldn’t worry, I think by then he will already be onto the next thing.

  12. Danny

    It’s somewhat surprising is this day and age of devalued digital content, but people actually WANT to support their favorite artists and want to see them thrive. What deadmau5 is doing is offering a way for his biggest fans to pay more and support him and his career directly. I only have a handful of artists that I would subscribe monthly to. For all the rest, I would turn to an all you can eat platform like Spotify.

    This type of subscription is not for everyone, it’s only for the biggest fans of deadmau5. Of course a casual fan would not pay $4.99 / month for all the exclusives and rarities that a super fan would greatly enjoy.

    If a band / musician could ask their top fans (think 80 / 20 rule) to fuel their career and get something pretty cool in return, then we could have our cake and eat it too (have streaming services like Spotify AND have working + above poverty level artists).

    – disclosure, I’m the co founder of Bundio.com, a platform that allows anyone to set up subscription services just like deadmau5 has done – we’re focusing on artists and labels right now. Please get in touch if you think this platform could work for you 🙂

    Happy holidays,

    • Paul Resnikoff

      Danny, best of luck expanding that niche, seems like Upfront and you are jostling in an exciting area. But also, there’s a bigger expansion towards more specialized streaming services happening in all sorts of corners, with backend companies like 7digital and MediaNet Digital powering part of that. The premise is that launching a Spotify clone is suicide, but more specialized platforms (including this one from deadmau5) could successfully serve more targeted crowds.

    • cjhoffmn

      It is truly amazing that people have an interest in this. I’d be really curious how you think of Bundio as compared to Patreon as well.

  13. that_guy

    I think the initial concept for this came from the amount of fuckin idiots that would bother him on twitter and other non-exclusive social media platforms. I believe the point of this is to create a controlled area for real fans to connect to him and vice versa without having a ‘Little Monster’ telling him to kill himself every 30 seconds as only committed followers will pay the subscription fee. Nice idea for his fans and another way of making a bit of cash on the side can’t be too damaging..