‘Consumer desire is driving the great music unbundling.’

The following op/ed comes from Forrest Browning, Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer at Audius, a global decentralized music community and discovery platform.


Craigslist is a homebase for everything, for everyone, all at once. Whether it’s looking for a used car, renting housing, buying concert tickets, finding jobs, legal counsel or participating in discussion forums, Craigslist, founded in 1995, was (and still is) a place where users could find anything they might want, connected with buyers in a two-sided marketplace.

Now, nearly 30 years later, almost every link from the homepage of Craigslist has turned into a standalone billion-dollar business.

We’ve seen companies like AirBnB and Zillow grow multi-billion dollar businesses from Craigslist’s buying and rental housing verticals, platforms like Reddit born out of the need for forum discussion, and StubHub for concerts and sporting events.

This “unbundling” of services is a natural evolution in business.

As the burgeoning creator economy takes off, a similar scenario is happening with Patreon.

Patreon is a membership platform that provides subscription service tools to businesses and content creators. Deeply engaged fans can pay to support their favorite YouTuber, podcaster, comic books, artists, etc., on Patreon, and in doing so, receive exclusive content, rewards, and direct interaction in return.

This isn’t the first time Patreon has faced “unbundling pressure” in its history – in 2017, when Patreon backed away from supporting NSFW/adult content, OnlyFans emerged almost overnight as a behemoth, with their purpose-made UI features built specifically for their use case and demographics.

Features like “tipping” to unlock, native in-app DMs, and multi-tiered subscription clubs allowed creators to engage and monetize in novel ways that were previously impossible.

Around the same time, Substack was also launched, intending to “unbundle” Patreon yet again, this time focusing on the independent writer and journalist market. They offered a dead-simple newsletter writing experience with straightforward sharing and advanced editing tools.

Audius, a music community which bridges the gap between fans and artists, aspires to be another “unbundled” service too. Born out of musicians & their fans’ mutual desire to have deeper engagement with one another, Audius empowers artists to invite fans to unlock content and access new experiences. Through remix competitions and other innovations, some artists even tap their fan communities to create new music which they can share on Audius.

To be sure, there are other “unbundled” music platforms – Splice, the online music sampling marketplace is a good example. Then there is Royal, who is building the music NFT marketplace to allow fans to invest in individual songs. Consumer desire drives the great music “unbundling”.

“Unbundling” drives innovation, whether it’s Reddit bringing people from all corners of the globe together on conversation forums, or platforms like Audius bridging the gap between artists and their fans. That’s why it’s such an exciting time to be an artist and to be working in the music business.

We’re seeing music fans embracing Web3 innovations, being early adopters in the metaverse and we’re seeing the continued blurring of the lines between artists and fans.

Our job, one which we take very seriously at Audius, is to foster these deeper connections by building the tools that empower this deeper engagement between artists and their fans. We can’t wait to see what’s next.Music Business Worldwide

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