Changing the purchase of music

Austin Vicars Arts & Entertainment Editor
Austin Vicars
Arts & Entertainment Editor
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Protest The Hero starts subscription service
On Oct. 15, Protest The Hero announced a new EP and video series. What is interesting though is how they plan to release the EP’s material. The group announced they will be starting a subscription service on their bandcamp page. For $12 a year, fans can get new songs, lyrics, artwork and footnotes on the fifteenth of every month for six months. This allows the band to release material directly to the fans rather than record the songs and have to wait to promote the album.
This is an interesting concept for musicians everywhere. Is releasing music traditionally through a label in the form of an album the way to do it, or is Protest The Hero setting a new standard with their subscription service?
To fully decide if a music subscription is the way to go about business for bands, the pros and cons must first be weighed. A subscription allows a more direct way for artist to release their music. Rather than record and then wait for months and months to release an album, artist can release songs the very second they are completed. This keeps the material fresh for artist and fans. The subscription service also allows for each song’s release to be more of an event, and there is a greater emphasis on each song. Rather than release six songs on an EP all at once, Protest The Hero is releasing one a month, so fans will essentially get six singles rather than one collection of six songs. Protest The Hero is promising additional content for each song as well including lyrics, pictures, journals, musical transcriptions, videos and samples of future music.
Protest The Hero looks to change how listeners buy music.
Protest The Hero looks to change how listeners buy music.

While there are certainly advantages to a subscription service, there are disadvantages too. Spreading six songs out over the course of six months may sound appealing to some but not for everyone. Many fans may not want to pay $12 for only six songs and then have to wait additional time to receive all the EP’s songs.
It seems as if this subscription-based platform caters to more hardcore fans than casual fans. Hardcore fans will appreciate every song being released the moment it is ready and enjoy all the additional content that is given out with the song, but less enthusiastic fans will find the wait to hear the EP in its entirety less gratifying and could surely careless about any additional content to the music.
It is difficult to imagine a subscription-based service becoming the epicenter of music retail. With music streams like Spotify, Pandora and Apple Music, it may be against listeners best interest to subscribe to a specific artist’s individual release. While it is impossible to predict the future, bands may find Protest The Hero’s new model of doing things to be better. It works well for artist releasing music and allows for a greater emphasis on each individual song. It also allows for a much richer plethora of bonus content for fans.
Only time will tell if listeners will grab on to this subscription based option or just stick to the traditional options featured today.