Artists don’t need to sign with a major label to make millions in 2015. App development companies are licensing their technology to labels and artists in order to create new platforms for distributing music, merchandise, and experiences. The interesting part of these apps is that they’re harnessing freemium music services in a completely different way from Spotify or Rhapsody. These apps encourage musicians to follow the strategies of popular gaming apps like Candycrush instead. Players download the app for free and then pay for upgrades or add-ons. Similarly, music fans can download these music distribution apps and get a certain amount of music or gear for free. The hope is that these free items entice the fans to “upgrade” or pay for more things from the artist, such as personal experiences or one of a kind merchandise. One musician, Ryan Leslie, made $2 million through a multimedia interface by texting fans to buy his album, inviting them into the studio with him (for about $3000/session), and throwing a New Year’s Eve blowout. These apps provide interactivity between musicians and fans, creating huge boosts in revenue through the sales of once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Luke Bryan and Rob Thomas are among the few who have already launched their apps.
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