Fans pay for early music access as Audiomack brings back ‘windowing’

Artists can now grant early access to new releases for fans who support them financially on Audiomack. The major labels, Spotify, and others embraced a similar practice dubbed “windowing” in the early days of streaming, then somewhat inexplicably abandoned the practice.

With Premiere Access on Audiomack, artists can offer advance access to new releases to fans who support them via the Audiomack Monetization Program (AMP). Artists can apply directly to be part of the program or via a partipating distributor including Warner Music Group, Amuse, AudioSalad Direct, DistroKid, EMPIRE, FUGA, Stem and Vydia.

Audiomack claims 20 million monthly users, and 25,000 artists have received funds from fans via its AMP program.

The return of Windowing?

Known as “windowing,” the staggared release strategy is common in the movie industry. That’s where a film is released only in theaters, then for paid rentals, then streaming, and finally to free television.

Taylor Swift and Adele were both early proponents of windowing. In 2014, that meant keeping their new releases off Spotify and other streamers for days after release. The practice led to a jump in sales as eager fans paid for CDs or downloads to gain access.

Now consumers have embraced streaming and they’re not going back. They expect to always find the music they want on their platform of choice.

“an obligation to enable creators to explore diverse means of monetization”

Windowing of new releases to paid subscribers before ad suported services like YouTube and Spotify’s free platform was discussed but never implemented over fears of increased piracy and fan backlash.

But that felt – and still feels – like an oppotunity missed since paid streams pay rightsholders far more than free streams.

Audiomack is tapping into that sentiment along with a growing undertanding that artists benefit from superserving their superfans. Hopefully, others will follow.

“Artists deserve the most powerful tools possible to build their work into financially thriving enterprises,” said Charlie Kaplan, Audiomack VP of Product. “Music companies have the opportunity and obligation to enable creators to explore diverse means of monetization and help realize their work’s financial potential.”

Bruce Houghton is Founder and Editor of Hypebot and MusicThinkTank and serves as a Senior Advisor to Bandsintown which acquired both publications in 2019. He is the Founder and President of the Skyline Artists Agency and a professor for the Berklee College Of Music.

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