In a previous article, CollegeHipHop.com explored the new trend of “album dropping.”
Artists like Beyoncé, Drake and Future, Miley Cyrus and the latest – Sean “Diddy” Combs – have dropped surprise albums on fans with little notice in 2015.
Singer Akon will be the newest artist to employ the technique, but with a twist that he hopes will allow him to monetize his music. The music biz/tech entrepreneur has an ambitious plan for his long awaited upcoming solo album, Stadium.
Akon has created and developed an app, which will house four different versions of the albums. The releases will only be able to be consumed via the app and Akon will earn revenue from the advertisements.
“I’m releasing multiple albums on my platform, an urban album, a world music album, a house album, a reggae album called the Island album, and the pop album, which we’ll probably release off the platform, which will create more marketing to lead you back to the app itself,” Akon told ABC News in an interview.
Most artists have reluctantly embraced streaming as a new form of distribution because the payouts are so low. Nowadays, most music is released and consumed on streaming platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, and Soundcloud.
Adele’s latest release just helped highlight the new era of the music business. Her new single “Hello” just debuted at #1 and set the record for most downloads in a week with 1.1 million, smashing the record set by rapper Flo Rida in 2009.
So how can an artist realistically ignore those types of numbers?
Akon, who is signed with Atlantic as an artist, sat down with the label to come up with a strategy that complemented his needs as well as Atlantic’s business goals for the pop version of his album.
To do this, Akon handed over one of the releases (the pop version of Stadium) to Atlantic. That version will be released through the usual retailers. But the other four versions of Stadium will bypass those outlets, for Akon’s branded app.
“Why give someone like Spotify or Pandora 99.9 percent of what should go in your pocket?” Akon reasoned. “Also, you don’t get the data. And the data is the most important part.”
Akon, who has a combined following of 6 million people on his social media accounts (Twitter, and Instagram) and 52 million likes on Facebook, hopes to collect a lot of that data for himself. Akon’s app will work like this.
The more a user participates in engages, the more “acorns” he receives. Those “acorns” allow each user to unlock and stream different versions of the Stadium album within the app. In recent years, artists like Mod Sun, Tech N9ne and Tyler the Creator have had great success by developing direct relationships with their consumers, using tools like apps and social media.
Akon predicts his new formula of a controlling the ad revenue, data and the consumer will usher in a new era in the music business.
“I’m highly confident that once this comes out, it’s going to create a new wave. It’s definitely going to regenerate the music business,” Akon said.