Music is the Virus

Airborne, a potentially disruptive start-up in the music sector, hopes to “cure the music industry of its sickness” with their upcoming launch.

Their cloud-based music sharing platform places fans and artists in direct symbiosis. It’s an interesting model, so take a look:

Beyond all the virus metaphors (they even go so far as to call songs ‘strains’)  the core idea is quite simple:

  1. Cut out traditional distributors
  2. Enable artists to monetise via a system of micropayments
  3. Give fans distribution rights instead, and empower them to share as much as possible, thus helping to secure further micropayments

It’s a model that I think could work particularly well for electronic music, whose artists tend to release one track or remix at a time, as opposed to a band who might release one album a year. Airborne will work best when artists can trickle content to their audience to keep them subscribed.

Looking on SoundCloud, my current favourite producer/DJ has 3,934 followers, which would net $3,934 per month on Airborne. Give those early adopting, high-class listeners some viral functionality and the impetus to share with friends and that figure could easily grow to $10,000/month – a healthy supplement to any unsigned musician, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Airborne have an interesting blog, The Music Industry is Sick, which looks at the challenges faced by listeners, musicians and labels today. In an ecology where artists need their stuff streamed four million times just to reach minimum wage, it’s platforms like Airborne that’ll help the system fix itself.

Published by

Tom Saunter

I like to think about the media, technology, pop-culture & the future. When not blogging, I tweet @freedimensional & work @MediaComUK. Feel free to visit my Personal Bio to learn more about me.

  • hmm interesting concept…making sure musicians get a fair proportion of the money spent purchasing music (especially new bands) is really important.  Just trying to think about this from a consumer perspective…on my spotify playlist I’ve been actively listening to 50+ bands this year…if I pay $1 per month per band, that’s $50 a month, 3 x as much as I pay on Spotify to listen to as many bands as I want….that’s where it gets tricky for me.  

    But I really really want to use a music service that puts more money in the musicians pocket so very interested to see what developments there will be in this area! 

    • It’s cleverer than that: you only ‘subscribe’ to the artists you really love, but for artists you only want to listen to, you just stream from those artists’ ‘carriers’. I think the whole idea is to encourage patronage of a small clutch of the musicians that are particularly important to you.
      I’ll probably have a rolling budget of $5/month and spread it around suit my changing tastes – then find a community of carriers that support other artists I like for those more exploratory listening sessions. Does that sound more palatable?