Apps & Mobile

Hang W/ And Upfront Debut Contrasting Approaches To Monetizing Social Media For Superfans

HangwithAs musicians transform into stars, they begin to receive a lot of attention at varying levels of intensity. How to find a way to make things personal yet focus on superfans is a difficulty. Hang W/ and Upfront offer solutions that monetize social media and networks with an emphasis on videos and exclusive content.

Hang W/ and Upfront are possible exceptions to the rule that artists should keep fan relationships in-house for closer connections. There are circumstances in which third party platforms can be powerful, such as Twitter and Facebook, or can offer a service that doesn't fit well on an artist's official site, such as advertising or subscription-supported content.

Hang W/ Monetizes Video Networking With Ads

Hang w/ is a mobile video network in which members livestream, post videos and interact. A number of musicians have gotten involved lately including Kaskade and Timbaland.

Monetization for broadcasters is achieved through a cut in ad revenue.

The overall feel of the free mobile app suggests that Hang W/ stars could emerge just as they have on YouTube.

Traffic reports as of early May were excellent with the claim that Hang w/ "has accrued 100,000 users, including several notable celebrities, and 2 million user sessions over the past six weeks." Becoming a place to go for video entertainment rather than a platform for siloed accounts is the strong play here and they seem well on their way.

Upfront Offers Subscriptions To Multimedia Content & Contact

Upfront recently launched to provide a private network and celebrity broadcasting offering with paid subscriptions and no ads.

Paid tiers for each artist or celeb start at .99 or $3.99 a month, with different levels of exclusive content, and $5.99 a month including "regular live webcasts and in-person events just for you."

Upfront also makes use of multiple communication channels:

"We are the first platform that allows influencers to connect not just through
our apps and web platform but also by phone, SMS, and email."

Revenue sharing is described as following a "standard 70/30 split, and Upfront will cover the costs associated with sending out messages from its 30 percent take."

Different Solutions for Different Needs

Hang W/ shows a lot of promise because it's easy to try out free. Ad-supported media tends towards low revenues per stream but if established as a special channel can build up viewership over time.

More established artists could consider something like Upfront especially if they're willing to commit to regular involvement and will promote Upfront or a similar solution as the sole place to get that kind of content and have closer contact. Upfront may work well for fan club and superfan-oriented content.

But whether one takes the ad-supported broadcast model or the subscription fan club route, both solutions employ revenue sources that might not work as well on an official music site but could be unlocked offsite.

Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch/@crowdfundingm) also blogs at Flux Research and Crowdfunding For Musicians. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

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