Digital music streaming company Rdio is testing a new program that will pay artists to turn fans of their music into fans of Rdio, as well.
Artist Program, which launches today, will let participating artists turn to social media to share songs—which can be either their own tracks, or other artists'—with their fans online via trackable song links and embeddable music players. For each fan who becomes a subscriber, Rdio will pay the referring artist $10. Rdio will also provide artists with a dashboard that reflects real-time stats on where and how they're getting fans to sign up for the service.
Artist Program works much in the same way many e-commerce sites give users unique links to share with friends, then reward them with, say, $30 in credit for every 10 friends who sign up via that link, which is what Fab.com does.
Rdio says the program was created to complement, not replace, the existing royalty arrangements it has with artists' record labels. Rdio and competing streaming services, such as Spotify and MOG, don't immediately handle how the artists on their platform get paid—that's the record labels' job. Artist Program provides the artist with a more direct revenue stream that's explicitly tied to online fan engagement, which is already a major part of an artists' success.
"There is no art without artists," said Rdio's founder Janus Friis. "As part of this industry, we know a business that doesn’t reward its most important contributors is a business that has to change. The innovation of the Internet should not be a barrier to the success of music artists; it should allow them to be even more successful."
[Image: Flickr user freepics4]