As the sole European company shortlisted for SXSW’s HATCH pitch competition this week, we thought we’d take a look at SupaPass. (For those who don’t know it, HATCH pitch is a competition startups that ‘make life better’).
SupaPass – currently in open beta – allows music artists to run their own subscription-based fan clubs.
Whereas only artists such as Lady Gaga or Linkin Park can afford the exorbitant cost of custom-built subscription fan club platforms, SupaPass hopes to put those tools into the hands of any musician. It might be thought of as a sort of Mini Spotify where the artists have direct control and set their own prices, but with a lot more features.
How does it do this? It allows music artists’ fans to subscribe to exclusive content and stream their back catalogues. Artists can give their most loyal fans more insight into their lives and let them post material that might be more revealing about their music and creative process.
The company claims that this ”patronage-based” model leads to a more regular, reliable income for artists, instead of the one-hit wonder, finite campaign around an album release, for instance.
This creates an income stream for artists that they control directly, instead of relying on streaming platforms where a fraction of a fan’s cash will finally reach artists.
The service is free for artists to use, with SupaPass taking a cut of fan subscriptions. For a monthly fee ranging from 99p to £1.99 (or annually from £9.99 – £19.99), fans can subscribe to Bronze, Silver or Gold packages, which variously include pre-released new tracks, browser-based access to a back catalogue, behind-the-scenes audio, video, photo and blog archives and exclusive live video conference Q&As and performances.
Co-founded by independent artist and label owner Juliana Meyer in 2011, the startup is now currently raising money.