Audiomack CEO on how the streaming platform's new 'Supporters' feature can enable artists to generate a 'first-of-its-kind' revenue stream

Audiomack CEO on how the streaming platform's new 'Supporters' feature can enable artists to generate a 'first-of-its-kind' revenue stream
  • Audiomack CEO Dave Macli spoke to Insider about the music streaming platform's new "Supporters" feature.

On Tuesday, Audiomack, a music streaming and discovery platform, announced the launch of a new feature called "Supporters."

"Supporters" will allow artists on the platform to engage and grant access to fans in a variety of ways, and the feature promises to generate what the company calls a "first-of-its-kind" revenue stream for artists in the streaming age through fans' direct support of their music.

Audiomack cofounder and CEO Dave Macli spoke to Insider in a phone interview last month about the impetus behind "Supporters" and the various ways artists could use the feature to "eclipse the amount of money, or at least max the amount of money, [they] might make off of streaming."

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Through "Supporters," fans purchase support badges for individual song and album releases that are then memorialized on their Audiomack profile and on the artist's individual song or album page. The purchase also opens fans up to "exclusive" direct messaging options with artists, which artists could, for example, use to grant early access to merchandise, music, or behind-the-scenes footage, Macli said.

"With Supporters, Audiomack is treating artists as they see themselves — as entrepreneurs building profitable careers," Macli said in a release for the feature. "Supporters creates brand new monetization opportunities for our creator community while bringing dedicated fans closer to the music and artists they love."


To take part in "Supporters," artists have to apply for and gain access to the Audiomack Monetization Program, or distribute their music to Audiomack through a list of participating partners that includes Warner Music Group, Amuse, AudioSalad Direct, DistroKid, EMPIRE, FUGA, Stem, and Vydia, according to a release.

Warner Music Group, which was Audiomack's first major label partner, also signed on this week as the first major label participant in "Supporters."

"More than ever, there's demand both from fans who want to demonstrate their passion and support their favorite artists, and from artists looking to better engage with their superfans," Allan Coye, Warner Music Group's senior vice president of digital strategy and business developement, said in a release. "Audiomack's Supporters feature will help build these relationships and allow artists and fans to connect in new, meaningful ways."

In our interview, Macli discussed "Supporters" in relation to Audiomack's position as a platform that caters in particular to "young hobbyist artists." He also touched on the US-based platform's global expansion and noted popularity in Africa.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.


What was the impetus behind developing a "Supporters" feature?

I remember when I was 17 or 16 and I got my first job, it was strictly because I wanted to buy more music, right? I got the job so I could spend more money on music. And it's funny because at the time, I was probably spending $100, $200 a month on CDs, pretty much any expendable income I had went to the music industry, and went to buying new albums, going to my local record shop, finding artists. Maybe there were artists at the record shop that I could get a signature from. I was very into that. Now I look at the music industry today, and so many kids that are very similar to the way I was when I was 17 are only spending $9.99 on streaming. So I've seen other platforms try to find ways to better divvy up that pie. And I think you've seen some press releases come out that talk about better ways to divvy up that $9.99 or that $19.99 that that person's paying. And that's fine. We love that concept. But no one's really finding a way to expand the pie or to add an additional pie.

So what we're trying to do with Supporters, and what I think we'll be successful at doing, is we'll allow an artist to not just monetize the traditional ways through ad-supported streaming and premium-subscription streaming, but to engage their biggest fans, the fans that are willing to pay a bit more, and get that money directly to the artist. In return that fan gets not just notoriety, in implanting themselves as a supporter on that release. But also they're going to open themselves up to exclusive messages from that artist through the Audiomack platform. So really the impetus behind this is trying to find a way to make the mid-tier artist or the smaller artist make a living off music, which is very hard in the streaming age because of the economics of streaming. And until somebody expands that pie and finds a way to get more money into the music business and the music industry, it'll be very difficult for those artists to make a living off streaming, no matter how you break up that pie. So we gotta add additional pie.

For that mid-tier artist or up-and-coming artist, what does the optimal result of the feature look like in their pockets, essentially?

Yeah. I mean, it's gonna be based off of the number of fans that they have and how many of those fans are listeners versus true actual fans. A lot of listening on streaming services is passive, so "I'm just gonna press play on my weekly playlist or a playlist that was sent to me. Not really going to care much about what's playing as long as it's good." The advantage of Audiomack is that we're a platform for artists by artists. So artists are uploading music directly to the platform. They're going out, they're sharing it with their fanbase, they're trying to engage their fanbase in new ways. And their fanbase understands that Audiomack is not just a store. It's a platform where the artists are actually on the system, behind the cockpit, you know, in the driver's seat.


So I think the idea that we have is that there's gonna be artists that maybe have a hundred thousand people that would listen to their new release. Out of that, you're looking at maybe 10,000 that are true fans, people that really like that artist and feel a connection to that artist. And then our hope is that out of that, maybe half to a quarter would be willing to put up some money and directly support that release in exchange for notoriety on that release, kind of stamping their position as a First supporter or the Top supporter, and then in addition, opening themselves up to exclusive messages that only they get, and those exclusive messages can be things like behind-the-scenes footage or early access to a new snippet of a new song that they're working on. It could be early access to merch. You know, if your merch is gonna sell out, why not give it to people that support you the most? So there's a lot of ways that artists can use this, but I think it's about separating listeners from fans. And then finally, at the top of the pyramid, are Supporters, and those are the people that if you can engage properly, they could eclipse the amount money, or at least max the amount of money, you might make off of streaming for many artists.

What would you say has been the key to Audiomack's global success, particularly in Africa?

I think the biggest key to our success is that we try to lead with the artist's interests in mind. And we try to think about deploying tools that the biggest artists in the world can can benefit from, but also the artist that's putting up their first freestyle or their first noodling on a guitar. The first piece of music that they're going to put out to the world, we want to make it as easy for them to do that and make it free for them. So, whereas other platforms are going to charge them, or maybe in order to get on some platforms, they have to go through a distributor, Audiomack, while we work with distributors and we work with labels, the young hobbyist artists can create an account, upload their first song or their first demo, and get all the tools for free. There's nothing that we withhold from them.

And I think that was very successful in Africa because there's a wealth of young artists out there that are making amazing music, but they're just starting out and they don't have the money to maybe pay for some of these advanced services. So we give them a way to start out and have all the tools available for them to grow their audience and become successful, launch and grow their careers. And I think Supporters is the next evolution of that because now they're not beholden to the economics of streaming, which is great, and I think has done great things for the music business. But they also can make additional revenue from the fans that are most dedicated to them and want to see them succeed, and those are the fans that are gonna help them get to that next level.