James Blake launches Vault, a direct artist-to-fan streaming platform for unreleased music: "The concept of subscribing to an artist directly can change the game"

James Blake
(Image credit: Frank Hoensch / Contributor)

Last week, British artist James Blake went viral with a series of tweets addressing the difficulties faced by artists in earning a living from their music in an industry dominated by streaming services and TikTok.

Blake followed this up with a cryptic post teasing a "solution" to the problems he initially discussed. Yesterday, Blake delivered on his promise, announcing that he has partnered with a new streaming platform called Vault. 

Vault is a streaming service built to provide artists with a place to share unreleased music directly with their fans. Listeners are charged a subscription fee by each artist to gain access to their vault; Blake has uploaded three previously unheard tracks to his vault, which can be unlocked for a fee of $5/month.

Blake has not yet detailed what portion of this subscription fee artists will receive, and how much of a cut the platform will take. 

“It’s music direct from me to you, where no one can gatekeep what I release to you, or delay my releases,” Blake says in a video shared to his Twitter/X feed.

“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," he continues.

"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."

In the replies to Blake's announcement, many have pointed out that similar platforms already exist. "Another subscription platform? We already have Patreon, Youtube Subscriptions and at least other 10 platforms that do exactly this," says @chediakmusic. 

"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."

Visit Vault's website.

Matt Mullen
Tech Editor

I'm the Tech Editor for MusicRadar, working across everything from artist interviews to product news to tech tutorials. I love electronic music and I'm endlessly fascinated by the tools we use to make it. When I'm not behind my laptop keyboard, you'll find me behind a MIDI keyboard, carefully crafting the beginnings of another project that I'll ultimately abandon to the creative graveyard that is my overstuffed hard drive.

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