Convenience and belonging. Convenience and belonging. Convenience and belonging. Convenience and belonging. Convenience and belonging. Convenience and belonging. Convenience and belonging. These are two of the most evolutionary reasons why we’re naturally drawn to social networks.
And just like human beings and other Darwinian subjects, social networks are evolving to better serve our needs. At a hip office in Soho, New York City, two entrepreneurs have concocted a new social platform to better serve the needs of today’s most innovative record labels.
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The name of the platform is Drip.fm and it’s the brainchild of Sam Valenti IV, the Founder of Detroit-born record label Ghostly International and Miguel Senquiz, the head of product development and digital strategy at Ghostly International, and the former head of product at Flavorpill.
Drip.fm has signed up record companies with massive fan followings, labels that are more lifestyle brands than management companies. In addition to Ghostly International, Drip.fm has attracted Planet E Communications, Stones Throw Records, Dirtybird Records, Mad Decent, the label behind Diplo and most recently, Fool’s Gold Records, the label behind Chromeo and A-Trak. Drip.fm is a place for the super fans; a digital subculture for the heady tribes that have grown around these artists.
“Of all the things we are doing recently at dirtybird this has been the most exciting. For superfans of our label there is no better way to connect and it makes me happy to be able to speak directly to our core community and treat them to all the music and projects we care about so much.”
— Claude VonStroke, Label Boss of Dirtybird
For a monthly fee (~$10-$15, depending on the label), you receive tons of goodies like new releases from artists like Mayer Hawthorne, Matthew Dear and A-Trak, along with formerly buried archived tunes, limited edition schwag, membership cards and fan perks like guaranteed guest list admission to live shows. All tracks are available to users as DJ-quality WAV downloads or 320 kbps MP3s without DRM restrictions. Want to know the weirdest Drip.fm perk I found? After 70 years of subscribing to Mad Decent on Drip.fm, you’ll receive 3 grams of Diplo’s ashes. For real.
We pay for handcrafted goods on Etsy, fashion items on sites like Of A Kind and the news on The New York Times. Yet, our generation expects the world of music to come to us in a gigantic zip file — for free. When did the value of an MP3 drop to zero? Valenti and Senquiz believe that for real music lovers, it never did. “For those with an emotional connection to music, that value never changed,” says Senquiz. Since its pilot launch 20 months ago, Ghostly’s $10 per month subscription service has boasted an impressive 71% retention rate.
“In a world of streaming, if people are willing to pay full rate for access to music it’s an inspiring gesture to us. It shows the value of the music relationship, which is something we’re really exploring here,” says Valenti.
Drip.fm provides a laid back experience in the sense that you don’t have to login each day; all interaction is prompted through emails, which come 1-3 times per week. Once you’ve received a song, it’s saved in your library and you’re notified when you’ll receive your next “drip” with a ticking countdown.
Drip.fm allows label heads to present fans with an epicurean “Chef’s Selection” as opposed to an unlimited buffet spread from sites like Spotify, Rdio and iTunes, and more niche sites like Beatport. “We are beholden to the artist and creators; unlike social companies, our priority is to make money for the artists so they can keep creating,” explains Senquiz.
In the future, Drip.fm will evolve to incorporate additional social elements like the ability to message other members after a show. Despite being a social platform, the founders see Drip.fm as an anti-Facebook. It’s also very different from the popular Bandcamp platform, which is less about developing a relationship between a musician and his or her super fan and more about providing up and coming bands with new audiences and ways to sell merchandise publicly.
Miguel Senquiz and Sam Valenti IV, Founders of Drip.fm
One very cool aspect of Drip.fm lies in the potential that both the technology and philosophy that power the platform could be applied to multiple verticals. The publisher behind the Drip could choose to connect with fans around literature, news, sports, gaming — literally anything that can be published and enjoyed online. “We started with labels because we are a label and we know what they really need right now,” says Valenti.
“We’re not another music subscription model. What we’re doing is fixing a broken financial model. We’re rebuilding it based on our need to communicate with people and the things that we love,” he adds.
Interested in learning more about the platform? Visit the link below to get your musical fix by way of the Drip.