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Indie Music Service Drip Has Dried Up

Labels like OWSLA, Stones Throw and Dirtybird have lost a fan-favorite platform.

by Joshua Glazer
Feb 18 2016, 11:22pm

Photo courtesy of Drip

Music subscription service Drip announced today that it will be closing up shop on March 18. In a Medium post titled A Letter from the Founders of Drip, the company wrote: "Between timing, funding, and everything needed to realize this future, we made the decision that now was the time for Drip to come to a conclusion." The post emphasized in the first line that the company is "committed to doing right by our creators and paying them in full."

The disparity between online revenue and paying creators was at the root of Drip's genesis five years ago. Lead by Sam Valenti, founder of the Ghostly International label and brand, and co-founder Miguel Senquiz, the service sought to create a direct subscription model for artists and labels to sell content directly to fans. For an average cost of around $10 a month fans of independent labels as diverse as Sub Pop and Mad Decent, Fool's Gold and Luaka Bop, would receive exclusive high-quality content. Others used the platform to offer reduced admission to events, like New York's The Bunker, which also offered the opportunity to purchase limited edition vinyl of their releases.

"Fans joined these communities; they paid their favorite creators directly;" the post said. "And they got access to high quality, often rare and exclusive music plus more. From live events and guest list spots, to one-on-one hangs and exclusive products, we were constantly inspired by the types of interactions that Drip encouraged."

The post continued: "Over the years, we've hosted some of the world's best artists and independent labels, and have generated millions of dollars for them in direct support from the most dedicated fans in the world," which seems to make its closure more puzzling. But in the modern music landscape, where the biggest streaming services continue to claim big losses and opportunities for artists to make money from their recordings remain elusive, it seems nobody has gotten the formula quite right. Drip FM, it seems, did better than most.