James Blake Launches New Music Platform, Vault, to Address Streaming Inequity for Artists

After taking a stand against streaming inequities for artists in today’s streaming landscape, James Blake is taking his passion a step further after announcing the launch of Vault, a new platform to share unreleased music with fans via a subscription service.

Vault, Blake says, is a platform for artists to “make money directly from the music they make” by enabling them to cut out intermediaries and avoid contracts that often prevent them from releasing their music. It’s also a workaround to record labels who take the lion’s share of royalties of songs and social media platforms like TikTok, which he said “doesn’t pay properly.”

“About a week ago I went viral with a post about the effects of streaming and TikTok on artists’ ability to support themselves,” Blake said in a video he shared prior to the platform’s launch. “I wanted to give you some figures. This is how much artists make out of streaming: Between $0.0003 and $0.0005 per stream depending on that platform. Which is one million plays equals $3,000. If you’re signed to a label, then imagine that number’s cut at least 50%. And after management cut, which is between 15 to 20%, and taxes and recording overheads, it’s just not sustainable for an artist to focus just on their art.”

Blake also hopes Vault will remove some of the red tape around releasing music and eliminate the need to develop TikTok campaigns to earn recognition. The goal is to redirect musicians’ focus back onto their art rather than forcing them to relinquish their time and creativity in favor of exhaustive—and oftentimes fruitless—marketing.

“Most musicians are not extroverts who are social media and branding geniuses, least of all me. And 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 continued. “I’ve spoken to a lot of artists who feel frustrated that so much great music goes unreleased because it doesn’t meet certain requirements or trends.”

Check out Blake’s announcement below and find out more about Vault here.


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