Having True Fans Can Create A True Business

from the that's-the-point dept

We have written several times about the “true fans” idea as an alternative approach to the traditional remuneration models employed by the copyright industry players, such as publishers, recording companies and film studios. It’s a simple approach: get the people who really love an artist’s work to support it directly, and in advance, rather than indirectly through buying things after they’ve been created. If that sounds rather soft and utopian, it’s not: it can also be run as a business, as this story on Axios makes clear:

The Jonas Brothers are helping to launch a new subscription media company called Scriber that allows celebrities to charge their biggest fans for exclusive content via text messages.

Why it matters: The goal is to bring the subscription economy to Hollywood without using Big Tech platforms as intermediaries.

According to the article, the Jonas Brothers have 50 million Instagram followers in total, so if 1% of them were willing to pay the $4.99 monthly subscription fee, that would generate in the region of $30 million a year, less payment processing fees, which will be relatively small. Even if only 0.1% are keen, that’s still $3 million per year. According to Axios, users of the new service will receive “exclusive material — like behind-the-scenes videos, exclusive merchandise and early access to tickets — via text message links pointing to content that’s pre-loaded for extra fast browser viewing.”

What’s most interesting about the move is not any of the above details, which are specific to well-known names like the Jonas Brothers, but the fact that Scriber is designed as a general platform that can be used by any artist:

Scriber will charge all celebrity creators $1 per month for every subscriber that uses the service. Because Scriber works with celebrities on the back end of the deal, most users will not realize Scriber is powering their transactions.

It’s a great example of how the true fans model not only benefits artists and their followers, but can also be the basis of a new kind of intermediary. But it is one that takes only a relatively small cut of the money, unlike the current system sustained by copyright whereby most money ends up in the pockets of the corporates, not the creators. Expect to see many more experiments like Scriber.

Follow me @glynmoody on TwitterDiaspora, or Mastodon. Story originally published on Walled Culture.

Filed Under: , , , ,
Companies: scriber

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Having True Fans Can Create A True Business”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
TKnarr (profile) says:


It’s not like the troll at all. Scriber is like a traditional platform: up-front about the fees it charges, and about what it supplies for that fee. Selling content requires two basic things beyond a supply of content (which the creator handles): the platform to deliver that content to the buyer, and the service needed by the platform to handle payment processing. Those two things are what Scriber supplies in return for a fixed fee per transaction (which would be a subscriber-month since each subscriber is being charged once per month for that month’s content). Like platform services like AWS or Linode they simply supply the platform to the creator and leave the creator front-and-center on the resulting site. Compare that to OnlyFans or Patreon which put the platform front-and-center and make the creators appear subordinate to it. OnlyFans and Patreon also charge fees as a percentage of the price charged to the customer, making their money off the value the creator is providing to the customer. Scriber with it’s fixed fee is making it’s money off the value it provides to the creator, independent of what the creator is charging the customer.

If another company comes up with an alternative to Scriber, the creator could up and move to the new platform without any really visible change to their customers. At worst they’d have to have customers re-enter their payment information if Scriber didn’t allow for transferring payment information to another service.

Anonymous Coward says:


Its like this, you can spend the money and the tome needed for a protected database to hold fan payment card details, and make the monthly requests for payments. This system has to meet payment processor requirements with respect to security and record keeping. You also need to create and keep the records needed for dealing with the tax man, for every payment.

Alternatively you can pay someone to do this work for you, and provide all the details your accountant needs to deal with your tax returns. Dealing with payment processors, and keeping relevant records is a useful service, well worth paying for.

Anonymous Coward says:

This is especially important in the music business where streaming sends most of the money to music company’s, instead of people who actually make music,
there’s 1000s of people who make a living simply from playing games or irl, streaming on twitch. The present copyright system is designed to give large amount of money to big company’s like Disney, ABC, paramount, 6 corporations own most big TV, fílm company’s.
Creators have to give up rights to deal with music company’s, or to get a show on tv.
This could be a new chance for creators to get a fair deal and also reduce ticket scalping fees

Anonymous Coward says:


That being said, it is most likely because having an app that is on Android or iOS that can solicit payments through it are then forced to pay Google or Apple a fee for their services. At least SMS is a widely used protocol that phones must employ to be relevant, so, no extra fees.

An interesting extra dynamic to the gatekeepers seeking to out manouver gatekeepers

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Well, it was originally. It was realised that there’s bandwidth available within existing traffic that could be used for messaging and this would enable something that didn’t previously exist. It got monetised and abused like anything else useful once it was realised it could be a revenue generator, but the initial usage was an innovation.

Anonymous Coward says:

$4.99 per month subscriber fee, of which Scriber takes $1. That sounds like 20% in service fees unless your fans are willing to pay more than that each month. On the other hand, Patreon is charging 12% on their highest service level, plus about 3% in credit card processing fees. That doesn’t sound like such a bargain to me.

This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...