James Blake Defends The New Music Platform He Helped Launch Against The Inevitable OnlyFans And Patreon Comparisons

James Blake generated some attention earlier this month when he tweeted, “If we want quality music somebody is gonna have to pay for it. Streaming services don’t pay properly, labels want a bigger cut than ever and just sit and wait for you to go viral, TikTok doesn’t pay properly, and touring is getting prohibitively expensive for most artists.” He added, “The brainwashing worked and now people think music is free.”

Now, he’s doing something about it: Yesterday (March 20), Blake helped launch Vault, which offers a subscription model giving fans direct access to an artist’s unreleased music.

In a video, Blake said in part, “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. Music is not cheap to make and I wanted to help incentivize musicians to actually spend more time making music. 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.”

Currently, Blake offers a $5 monthly subscription on the platform, and his profile has three songs on it.

Following Blake’s announcement, some wondered about the necessity of Vault since platforms like OnlyFans and Patreon already exist and have a similar structure.

“Another subscription platform? We already have Patreon, Youtube Subscriptions and at least other 10 platforms that do exactly this. I get that you’re trying to help but this doesn’t solve anything. The public who just wants to listen to music in an ‘easy’ way and who is used to Spotify won’t pay five dollars for each artist they want to listen to. […] This just seems like another club, a niche thing, and a niche isn’t going to save musicians.”

Another user wrote, “So it’s like Onlyfans for musicians in a sense? I’ve seen the subscription model work for artists in the adult industry but it doesn’t work for everyone. Mostly benefits people who already have huge followings. But hey, something needs to be done and experimentation is necessary.”

Blake responded, “It is close in the idea and I hear you on that, but there’ll be ways for artists to be discovered through the platform in future iterations. I intend to help it become a platform that spotlights less established artists.”

Blake also re-posted a tweet that reads, “Substack for music artists is now here. Good move by @jamesblake, @vaultdotfm. This will revolutionize the music industry as listeners will be able to directly access exclusive music from their top artists. This will be much more financially sustainable than the current model.”

In another tweet, Blake explained the target audience for Vault. On user wrote, “I love James but AIN’T NO WAY I’m paying an individual subscription to each & every artist i want to hear,” and Blake responded, “You don’t have to. Streaming services still exist. But if you wanna go deeper into a certain artist’s output and join a community focused around it, Vault would be of interest to you.”

He noted in another tweet, “I’ve tried a lot of stuff and Vault feels unique and has a unique mission re: unreleased music + the payment model is exciting for musicians while being close enough to a usable streaming app for regular people to get it. If your criticism is that Vault included ideas related to a mailing list and discord and streaming and patreon in one app, is that a bad thing?”