James Blake Announces OnlyFans for Music — Sorry, “Vault”

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You can check out James Blake’s private (recorded) parts on Vault, a new artist-to-fan platform that he is publicly comparing to Substack but which seems more like an OnlyFans for receiving aural pleasure.

“About a week ago I went viral with a post about the effects of streaming and TikTok on artists’ ability to support themselves,” Blake said in a post on X (just one X!). As he explained, Vault approached him with a partnership offer where he would offer his fans unreleased music in exchange for $5 a month. Charging audiences to consume music? How retrograde.

“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,” Blake continued. “Music is not cheap to make and I wanted to help incentivize musicians to actually spend more time making music.”

He added, “Also, I’ve spoken to a lot of artists that feel frustrated that so much great music goes unreleased because it doesn’t meet certain requirements or trends.” Is James Blake sitting on genuinely great music that was deemed too far out for our modern tastes? Or are these just stems and half-finished ideas? $5 a month is all it costs to find out.

Jokes aside, the preference of audiences to pay nothing and the preference of musicians to have food and shelter have been in conflict since Napster. Blake broke down the demented payout structures in streaming in his video announcement: “This is how much artists make out of streaming: Between $0.003 and $0.005 per stream depending on that platform,” he said, “which is one million plays equals $3,000. If you’re signed to a label, then imagine that numbers cut at least 50 percent. And after management cut, which is between 15 to 20 percent, and taxes and recording overheads, it’s just not sustainable for an artist to focus just on their art.” Check out the full video below.

Last year, Blake released his latest album Playing Robots into Heavenwhich was a return to tunefulness after his ambient detour, Wind DownHe recently guested on Erick the Architect’s song “Parkour.”

James Blake Announces OnlyFans for Music — Sorry, “Vault”
Wren Graves

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