Streaming Is Big — But Where’s the Community? Vertigo Introduces Collaborative ‘Artist Lounges’

The action on Vertigo Music: Artist Lounge for Tyler Rich.
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The action on Vertigo Music: Artist Lounge for Tyler Rich.
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The action on Vertigo Music: Artist Lounge for Tyler Rich.

Major streaming music platforms have attracted hundreds of millions of users. Vertigo Music wants those users to talk to one another — and their favorite artists.

Spotify and its competitors are great places to listen to music. But they’re not-so-great when it comes to connecting with other human beings. That includes musicians and the people who love those musicians. Now, startups like Vertigo Music are addressing that void.

In a nutshell, Vertigo is building app-based artist-focused communities on top of streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music. Its Artist Lounges simply amass fans around the artists they love, enabling artists to directly connect with their followers while also allowing them to connect with one another.

The concept sounds simple enough, though it’s painfully absent in the current app landscape. Twitter, Instagram, Tiktok, Snapchat, and other social platforms offer plenty of pathways that artists can use to gain exposure. But they don’t provide a direct way for fans to stream an artist’s content on demand. Nor are they focused on building artist communities or giving artists direct access to their fans.

The result of all this? Artists are spread very thin in their promotional efforts and ultimately disconnected from their fanbases. To interact with fans and keep building awareness, they must spend a considerable amount of time creating platform-specific content for multiple networks, all without having a reliable way to accurately analyze whether or not any of this outreach is boosting royalty revenue and streaming volume.

“We’ve built a powerful way for artists to exchange with fans while boosting their stream counts,” explains Daniel Yen, Vertigo Media’s CEO. “Artists can simply claim and own their lounges.”

Early takers on the concept include The Midnight, Nina Nesbitt, and Tyler Rich. On the investment side, industry heavyweight Scott Borchetta is a prominent backer. Digital Music News has also joined forces with Vertigo to accelerate platform growth and generate more revenue for artists via a music-specific model.

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The Vertigo app enables anybody on the platform to chat via text, audio, or video while streaming. 

Users can also share photos with one another in real time and band together to form their own listening groups. But perhaps the most interesting aspect is that fans must connect with either their Apple Music or Spotify Premium accounts to play. Those accounts are then synched together into a virtual radio station, which means that artists receive top-tier streaming revenues from everyone in an Artist Lounge when music is played. Suddenly, thousands of fans can be engaged with an artist while also boosting streaming revenues.

Through a combination of proprietary algorithms, the Vertigo Music app helps like-minded fans find each other, sync up to listen to audio tracks together, and connect with their favorite artists. In total, Vertigo Media, Vertigo Music’s parent company, holds multiple patents related to technology for social networking and peer-to-peer content delivery.

Just as YouTube enables anybody with access to the internet and a camera to become a video content creator, Vertigo allows anybody with a phone and mobile connection to become an emcee and member of an artist community.

Currently, only Spotify and Apple Music users can join, though the compatible music platform list will soon expand. But users don’t need to be on the same service to share music. This cross-platform functionality lowers the friction to jump in and listen.

At first glance, Vertigo’s Listening Lounges are similar to the basic interaction features on Clubhouse or TikTok. However, Vertigo Music’s plug-in with premium streaming subscriptions provides a revenue stream that artists aren’t able to capture on purely social platforms. That offers a critical difference, one that feeds the paid streaming ecosystem — and artist bank accounts as well.

(If you’re an artist and want to learn more about Vertigo’s Artist Lounges, here’s where to start.) 

Beyond the community solution, Vertigo is also tackling a challenging issue with streaming giants like Spotify.

And that issue is access — or lack thereof — to fans. In fairness, Spotify for Artists has started to supply important data to help artists better understand their audiences. But Spotify, not the artist, controls those relationships and all the associated data. The same is true at Apple Music and other streaming platforms. In the end, the artist’s (and label’s) most important customer relationships are always at arm’s length.

Vertigo is now hoping to change that reality by offering a more direct handshake. Within the Artist Lounge, a musician can have personal interaction time with their most dedicated fans while providing a concert-like environment. As more and more fans gather in the lounge, the host artist can solicit real-time feedback and build increased loyalty.

This aspect could become a serious differentiator. Here’s a quick glimpse at what the Vertigo analytics dashboard looks like.

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(click to enlarge)

In terms of granularity, Vertigo’s analytics platform records individual listeners, then anonymizes them as a separate stream. This helps artists drill down to get detailed feedback on how certain tracks are trending across various demographics. The aim, according to Vertigo, is to better arm artists with data that can inform strategies around releases, touring, and longer-term growth.

Here’s a quick look at a Vertigo Artist Lounge in action.