James Blake launches Vault, a direct artist-to-fan unreleased music streaming platform

“This is hopefully a step towards allowing artists to be as authentic as possible, while still making a living.”

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James Blake performs at Fabrique Club on September 18, 2023 in Milan, Italy.

Credit: Getty / Francesco Prandoni

After teasing a “solution” to low artist royalties from streaming platforms and TikTok over the last week, James Blake has unveiled Vault. It’s a streaming platform that allows artists to upload unreleased music, for which fans pay a monthly subscription fee set by the artist.

Revealed in a video posted to X and Instagram, the British singer and producer said: “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.

“Also, 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.

“So after my tweets did the rounds, I was contacted by the makers of the platform called Vault, who are trying to tackle this exact problem. So I’m going to start the experiment off by releasing from my Vault of unreleased music for a subscription of $5 a month. It’s music direct from me to you, where no one can gatekeep what I release to you, or delay my releases. And I’ve got a chat section for everyone to discuss the music.

“This thing was built fairly quickly after my outburst on social media so we’ll be adding features as we go along. But the concept of subscribing to an artist directly, I think can change the game and release artists from the relentless merry-go-round of the current state of things.

“This is hopefully a great step towards allowing artists to be as authentic as possible, while still making a living.”

Watch the video below:

Leading with the slogan, “What if making music was enough?”, a video was also posted to the vault.fm X page showing how the platform works:

This all comes after Blake recently went viral on X for hitting out at TikTok after finding neither he nor Frank Ocean had received any payment for the wealth of uses on TikTok of his cover of Ocean’s track, Godspeed.

In a series of posts, Blake wrote, “Something I keep seeing is ‘if you’re lucky enough to go viral, just use the exposure to generate income some other way’. Musicians should be able to generate income via their music.

“Do you want good music or do you want what you paid for?”

He continued: “If we want quality music somebody is gonna have to pay for it. Streaming services don’t pay properly, labels want a bigger cut than ever and just sit and wait for you to go viral, TikTok doesn’t pay properly, and touring is getting prohibitively expensive for most artists.

“The brainwashing worked and now people think music is free,” he wrote.

We’ll keep you up to date as more details and reactions come out.

In the meantime, find out more at vault.fm.


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