James Blake Launches Direct-to-Fan Subscription Streaming Service for Artists' Unreleased Music

Vault is "hopefully a great step towards allowing artists to be as authentic as possible, while still making a living"

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Mar 20, 2024

Earlier this month, James Blake made some poignant observations about the TikTokification of the music industry in the age of streaming, precarious pandemic-era touring, and the inflated cost of living crisis. But giving his insight and candour simply wasn't enough for the prolific artist, and he has now offered a solution of sorts.

Blake has joined forces with a startup to launch Vault, a direct-to-fan streaming service that allows musicians to upload unreleased music for subscribers paying a set fee of their choosing.

He introduced the platform in a video posted to both Instagram and Twitter, explaining, "Most musicians are not extroverts who are social media and branding geniuses, least of all me. And I wanted to find a way for musicians to make money directly from the music they make, not least to be able to reinvest in the very expensive process of renting studios, hiring musicians, etc. Also, I've spoken to a lot of artists who feel frustrated that so much great music goes unreleased because it doesn't meet certain requirements or trends.

"So after my tweets did the rounds, I was contacted by the makers of the platform called Vault, who are trying to tackle this exact problem," Blake said. "So I'm going to start the experiment off by releasing from my Vault of unreleased music for a subscription of $5 USD a month. It's music direct from me to you, where no one can gatekeep what I release to you, or delay my releases. And I've got a chat section for everyone to discuss the music."

He concluded, "This thing was built fairly quickly after my outburst on social media so we'll be adding features as we go along. But the concept of subscribing to an artist directly, I think can change the game and release artists from the relentless merry-go-round of the current state of things. This is hopefully a great step towards allowing artists to be as authentic as possible, while still making a living."

Watch that video below, as well as an instructional one uploaded by Vault that gives you an overview of the platform.

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