YouTube Rolls Out Channel Memberships & Merchandise Partnership
We’re excited for any developments that our friends at YouTube launch when it comes to putting money in the pocket of creators. While YouTube introduced individual channel subscriptions previously (to less fanfare), the video and music streaming platform announced in June that it’ll be expanding its Channel Memberships – making it available to channels with 100,000 or more subscribers.
Fans will be able to pay upwards of $5/month to get special privileges (such as badges and emojis for the channel’s chat section), access to members-only posts, as well as exclusive livestreams and videos. While some TuneCore artists will need to continue to focus on their subscriber growth strategy to reach this level of access, it’s encouraging to see how up-and-coming musicians will be able to take advantage of Channel Memberships.
While they were at it, YouTube also announced its partnership with Teespring to expand their merchandising options. Eligible U.S.-based channels with over 10,000 subscribers will be granted what Music Ally refers to as a ‘shelf’, allowing the owners to select up to 20 merch items to sell directly to fans.
Again, a YouTube growth strategy is going to need to be in place for a lot of independent artists to take advantage of these, but as mentioned above, we’re pleased to see such a massive platform rolling out ways for them to make money outside of streaming and ad commissions.
Instagram Introduces IGTV
Speaking of video and social and creators and all that, this month photo and video sharing app Instagram launched IGTV – a new feature for “watching long-form, vertical video from your favorite Instagram creators”. Videos are full screen and can be up to an hour in length – a big upgrade from their basic video and live features.
In addition to this new feature, Instagram also hit 1 billion users and also provided a “Creators Handbook” to offer video recording tips for anyone looking to improve their content’s quality overall. Independent artists should peruse this handbook if they’re looking to step up their Instagram game (and really, who isn’t?).
Instagram has made no initial statements around monetizing this content yet, but given it’s parent company Facebook and speculation as to how this new feature could complement YouTube as a platform, we think it’s safe to say they have it on their minds.
BandsInTown Expands Footprint, Adds Events Landing Page
The leading live music promotion and discovery app BandsInTown stayed active in June. If you’re unfamiliar, BandsInTown began as a way for artists to market their live dates to fans directly – whether you’re fan on Facebook or listen to them on streaming services, if an artist you listen to is in your neck of the woods, there’s no more excuses for missing them. TuneCore has no partnership with BandsInTown, but we’ve publicly expressed our admiration of their platform in the past. Because hey, how many times do we need to tell you independent artists that hitting the road matters on this thing?!
Their new Events Landing Pages have been created exclusively for sharing on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The pages list all an artist’s tour dates, links to purchase, pre-sales, and VIP ticketing. Hypebot broke down some of the features, and it’s all looking positive for artists who use the app to promote their shows. In a day and age where cutting through the static can be difficult, this helps artists add another layer to getting the word out of their upcoming performances to the folks who care most.
More good news (not so much on the features side, but we’ll take it) from BandsInTown: they announced in June that they’ve established key partnerships in Japan and France, building on the already 35% of their user base (130 million active) living outside of North America. As a similarly global-minded company, we say cheers to this move and look forward to seeing how independent artists across the world can take advantage of DIY tools like this one!