Unlocking Success: How musicians can tap into the value of their superfans

In a world dominated by digital platforms, streaming, and post-COVID uncertainties affecting live performances, finding the right revenue stream is crucial.

Lewis Donovan
4 min readOct 3, 2023


The recent UMG/Deezer announcement on user-centric payouts provides a glimmer of hope, but the problem of artist monetization seems to keep getting worse quicker than it’s getting better.

Islands in the stream

Streaming revenue, while a prevalent means of music consumption, often provides dishearteningly low returns.

According to Spotify 10,100 artists generated at least $100,000 on the platform in 2022. Which sounds great, until you realise there are over 11 million artists on Spotify.

That means less than 0.1% of the artists on Spotify are generating $100,000 a year from the platform, and that’s before everyone else takes their cut.

And it’s not just streaming; the era of thriving on touring revenue has also taken a hit. Onerous post-COVID deal-terms and the skyrocketing costs have made it increasingly challenging to even put on a tour, let alone live off the income from it.

The untapped opportunity

In the midst of this struggle lies an untapped goldmine: your superfans.

Music, unlike many other industries, tends to treat all customers the same, irrespective of their level of engagement or loyalty, and leaving a truckload of money on the table in the process.

Superfans are willing to invest in their favourite artists in more ways than one. These are the devoted souls who genuinely connect with your music, buy tickets to your shows, purchase your merchandise, and spread the word about your talent. They’re the backbone of your success, and it’s high time to recognise their immense value. Here’s how:

Know who they are

Seems obvious, right? Every artist should know who their superfans are and what makes them a superfan. Social and streaming platforms actively hide this data, as sharing it is a threat to their business model (they are all, to varying degrees, ad-supported platforms).

If you want a sustainable income, you have to be able to identify the high-value fans and create a space to communicate with them away from social and streaming platforms.

Treat them differently

Once you know who your superfans are, give them benefits that other fans don’t get. DM them on their birthday, chat with them on a live stream, give them merch discounts, give them early access to concert tickets (or hold tickets back for them).

👏 Make 👏 Them 👏 Feel 👏 Special 👏

Because they are.

And honestly, I can’t think of a single business vertical that doesn’t do this. Think about supermarket loyalty cards, air miles, or being greeted at a restaurant that you frequently visit. Every business knows that the 80/20 principle is real, so they make extra effort for those vital few customers who create the most value. If you want to be a viable business, you have to function like a viable business.

Make it sustainable

Music marketing has always been cyclical: You write an album, promo it, do a tour, then disappear again for a year or two. This was fine until social media algorithms came a long and decided that time decay is important in the social graph. Basically if you haven’t posted for a long time, when you start again nobody will see it.

This is, of course, completely bonkers. Your customer acquisition cost resets (or even increases) after every campaign, even for your existing customers.

In this context, having a separate channel and community for your superfans is even more important. Imagine having a group of fans with whom you could communicate separately, outside of the public eye, who are more engaged, easier to reactivate and highly-predisposed to sharing your content.

Focussing small and manageable amounts of time on just this group while you’re off-cycle will ensure you have the day-one buzz you need when you come back on cycle.

That sounds like a lot of work though…

I hear you. But there’s a solution.

Having worked in the music industry for several years, I was increasingly frustrated with the bad deal artists were getting. That’s why a former colleague and I decided to build SonX.

SonX is a mobile app that enables musicians to identify, engage and monetize their superfans, via innovative community, content and commerce tools.

Fans join SonX and pay a low monthly subscription for each artist they want to subscribe to. This gets them access to the artist’s community and content.

From live audio chats to physical and digital merchandise, from exclusive content subscriptions, to analytics and rewards, SonX makes the job of managing your most valuable customers fast, manageable and simple.

The artists selected for SonX’s closed beta earned more from a small circle of dedicated fans than from their entire fanbase on conventional streaming platforms.

From today we are opening SonX up to all artists, worldwide. Download the app now and start building your community today.

Here’s to a future where musicians and their superfans can unite, celebrate, and prosper together.

Download the SonX app at the link below and stay tuned for more updates! 🎶 ✨



Lewis Donovan

CTO at SonX, former Sony Music UK. Fascinated by coding, science and music. https://lewisdonovan.dev