Instagram Subscriptions should provide creators with “a predictable income”

Image Credit: Instagram

Subscriber Stories, Subscriber Lives and Subscriber Badges are all new features coming to help creators make a living on Instagram.

At the start of the year, Instagram said in 2022 they plan to prioritise new features for teens and creators. Initially launched on Facebook back in 2020, Meta are now bringing Subscriptions to Instagram, letting creators monetize their content across the social media platform and giving fans exclusive content via a new Subscribe button on their favourite creator’s profiles.

The Instagram Subscribe button and Subscriber Lives
Image Credit: Instagram

  • Subscriber Lives: Creators can broadcast exclusive Lives to their subscribers, allowing them to engage more deeply.
  • Subscriber Stories: Creators can create stories just for their subscribers, allowing them to share exclusive content and to use interactive story stickers with their most engaged followers only.
  • Subscriber Badges: Creators will see a subscriber badge next to comments and messages so they can easily identify their subscribers.
https://twitter.com/mosseri/status/1483867380878958593

Instagram Subscriptions will be launched to a small number of creators in the US to start, with the number of creators and features due to expand in the coming months. Instagram hopes to integrate Subscriptions across the platform. Creators set a monthly price of their choice. Instagram Subscriptions and Facebook Subscriptions will not take a cut from creators until next year at the earliest. To see the feature in action, creators with Subscriptions already include @alanchikinchow, @sedona._, @alizakelly, @kelseylynncook, @elliottnorris, @jordanchiles, @jackjerry, @bunnymichael, @donalleniii and @lonnieiiv.

Having subscriptions on Instagram makes building a more intimate relationship with my followers and fans possible. I am so excited to nurture those connections and make a lasting impact that will help keep my work sustainable.

@bunnymichael

Instagram mentions creators will be able to take their subscriber list and bring them to other platforms built by other companies, but does not expand further on this potential.

A side from videos and shops, this is the first time Instagram has provided creators with a revenue source. Previously, Instagram has largely been a way for creators to build their brand awareness, while income has come from other platforms like YouTube, or influencers could share ads and sponsored posts, paid for by other brands. In the video above, head of Instagram Adam Mosseri talks of Subscriptions providing “a predictable income”, thanks to monthly revenue based on how many fans are signed up, not the reach of each post, resulting in a more sustainable and less fluctuating income source.


Haven’t been invited to Instagram Subscriptions yet? Fear not! Musicians can earn revenue across the platform already with RouteNote, regardless of their audience size or budget. Find out more here.

Instagram highlight some of the new features on Messenger

Image Credit: Adam Mosseri

Instagram are heavily focusing on messaging, with new features like message replies, custom reactions, polls and animated message effects.

Earlier this month, head of Instagram Adam Mosseri posted a video announcing the return of the chronological feed. While we wait for the new feature, Mosseri demos some of the new features available to customise your messaging experience. These are many of the same features we’ve seen on apps like WhatsApp and iMessage, but it’s nice to have a familiar set of features across applications. Make sure your app is up-to-date to see these new features.

  • Replies – Easily reply to a specific message in a thread. Simply swipe to the right on a message to reply.
  • Custom Emoji Reactions – Previously you could like a message by double tapping. Now you can long press to add any emoji reaction.
  • Polls – You can now create a poll in groups. Go to the stickers icon (smiley face), then tap Poll, and type a question and some options.
  • Animated Message Effects – Use the search icon to the left to choose through various effects.

RouteNote are partnered with Meta to help artists get their music on and monetize across Facebook and Instagram. Click here to learn how to send your music to Facebook and Instagram for free.

Instagram are bringing back the chronological feed

Image Credit: Adam Mosseri

Soon all users will be able to switch the order of their Instagram feed between Home, Favorites and Following, two of which are chronological.

Although already hinted at before, in a video from the Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri outlines the three new feed order options and how to switch between them.

  • Home – Similar to how Instagram is today, Home provides ranked content based on how interested the algorithm thinks you are in every post. Usually accounts you interact with the most will show at the top. We’ve seen Instagram testing recommendation in the feed. Instagram says they will add more recommendations into the Home view over time.
  • Favorites – This option just shows posts from the account you choose as Favorites. Perfect if you want to check you haven’t missed anything from close friends and family. You can choose who appears here by selecting Manage favorites in the drop down.
  • Following – Like the good old days, Following shows a chronological list of posts from the accounts you follow.

This coming update is great news for all users. If you like how Instagram is currently ordered, you can keep your feed on Home. If you follow too many accounts and worry that you’re missing posts from friends, switch to Favorites. For users like myself who don’t follow too many accounts and want to see all of the posts from everyone, without any recommendations, Following brings the traditional Instagram order back.

The feature is currently being tested with a small number of users. Mosseri gives no full roll out date, but says the full experience will be with all users in the first half of this year.


Did you know you can get your own music on Instagram for free, to start monetizing across videos, Stories, Reels and Facebook? Click here to find out more.

Twitter are testing a TikTok-style Explore page

Image Credit: Twitter

Following in the footsteps of Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat and Spotify, Twitter may be next to copy TikTok’s feature set.

In a Tweet, Twitter announce they have begun testing an updated Explore tab on the app. Some people who use Twitter in English on the latest version of Android or iOS will receive the update. Twitter’s Explore tab can be found by tapping the magnifying glass icon at the bottom of the app. Here, users can find content that’s trending, tailored to them, a great source for breaking news and reactions.


As shown above, the update changes the Explore page’s list based layout to one that’s… eerily familiar. From the full-screen content, to vertical scrolling, to the For you tab, to the way the username and caption is displayed, Twitter seem to be the next social media platform to copy TikTok. The example below shows videos as the primary focus of the For you page, while tapping Trending takes you to a more traditional list view.


A Tweet from Twitter India suggests a large portion of the testing is happening there, incidentally where TikTok was banned last year. Twitter is of course not the first platform to copy TikTok, after Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts and Snapchat Spotlight launched in the last couple of years. Even Spotify recently dipped their toes into the format recently.

It’s no wonder all of these companies are experimenting with the formula, as TikTok pass one billion active users and acts as the go to social media platform, particularly for Gen-Z. Despite fooling no one and everyone seeing the feature as a TikTok rip-off, this doesn’t matter. If the update sees significant usage, we will likely see a larger roll out in the coming weeks. However adoption will require more than copying the design of TikTok. TikTok’s most addictive feature is the hidden algorithm that understands what you like. Twitter have algorithm-driven content both on the current For you page as well as occasional suggestions in the main feed. Judging by my Twitter For you page, as well as the feed suggestions, Twitter have a ways to go before matching TikTok’s level of understanding me.


Did you know RouteNote distribute to TikTok, Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts and many other streaming services and social media platforms for free, allowing artists to earn revenue online?

Twitter seem ready to launch ‘reply downvotes’ with an introduction screen found

Image Credit: Jane Manchun Wong

Just weeks after YouTube remove the dislike button to the hatred of pretty much everyone, Twitter may implement the feature on replies.

First spotted by some users back in July, Twitter have been experimenting with adding a secondary level of response to Tweet replies. Twitter explained at the time, unlike a traditional dislike button, the feature that was being tested with some users, was to help them show the most relevant replies under a Tweet.


It seems that Twitter are ready to launch the feature more broadly, with reverse engineer Jane Manchun Wong uncovering an upcoming introduction screen for “reply downvotes” in the back-end of the app. As previously reported, downvotes aren’t public or shared with the author. Instead, downvotes help Twitter decide how to sort replies under a Tweet.


While this is no confirmation of the feature launching, it a promising sign for a feature that should hide scam comments and promote real conversations around the topic.

Where is my Amazon Music download?

Image Credit: Amazon Music

Downloaded a song on Amazon Music, and now it seems to have completely disappeared? Here’s where to look first.

Unlimited music streaming is all very well on Wi-Fi, but sometimes on the move you want to save data – and for Amazon Music users, downloading a song for offline listening is your saviour. Plenty of people also choose to support artists by buying a song as an Amazon Music digital download for their device.

Don’t panic if you can’t find where your Amazon Music song has downloaded to. It should be lurking in one of the following places.


Where can I find my Amazon Music Unlimited offline tracks?

When you download a song from Prime Music or Amazon Music Unlimited to listen offline, the track isn’t sent to your device as a file. The song will stay on the Amazon Music app, with a tick next to it to show you’ve downloaded it for offline listening.


Where are my purchased downloads?

Buy a track from Amazon Music and you can download it to your PC or Mac, yours to keep and listen to on whatever media player you like.

Lost your download? To find it within the app, head to your Library and select Songs. Hit Purchased to see the list of music you’ve bought. From there you can click the download button by your chosen album or track, or drag and drop it to the Download section in Actions on the sidebar.

To download music in browser, select the purchased tracks and click Download. You might be asked if you want to install the Amazon Music app – select No thanks, just download music files directly. Select Save and open the file when the download finishes.


Where do my Amazon Music downloads go on my computer?

Amazon Music downloads save to a default folder on PC or Mac. That should mean your tracks will be in the My Music location on Windows or the Music folder of your Mac.

If you’ve downloaded from browser, a single song will download as an MP3 – more than one will be in a ZIP file.

On the Amazon Music app meanwhile, your downloads will be in the Recently Downloaded section.

Still struggling? Head to the Amazon Music forums for more help.


Ever thought about releasing your own music online? With RouteNote you can upload your songs to Amazon Music and all the big streaming services and stores, sending them worldwide. Find out more about our free music distribution here.

Why is Spotify so popular?

Image Credit: Spotify

Spotify is the top music streaming app on the planet. What’s its secret?

At first glance, Spotify seems much like any other streaming service in the sea of choices for music fans and artists in 2021. Spotify has a gigantic library of songs, but Apple Music’s is bigger. Spotify has yet to launch a hi-fi streaming tier – Amazon Music offers one for no extra charge. So what makes it the best music streaming service?


Spotify gives you free music

Spotify is popular because it makes streaming music so incredibly easy. You don’t even have to pay. The free tier is a genius tactic for reeling users in – then, once you’re sick of the adverts that make it free in the first place and long for the freedom of unlimited skips, hitting subscribe is easy.

Securing Spotify Free subscribers has the additional outcome of users becoming comfortable with the app, and therefore in the future being more likely to choose Spotify over the likes of Apple Music, when they can afford the ten dollars a month subscription. The free trial of Spotify Premium works on a similar vein.


The Spotify recommendations algorithm is legendary

Whilst you can use Spotify to rediscover beloved artists whose CDs you scratched and lost long ago, one of the most beautiful aspects of Spotify is its music discovery features.

Playing that one favourite song will encourage Spotify to recommend not just songs by the same artist but similar music you’ve never heard of. It’s like a record store employee in your pocket, but without the judging sneer when you ask if Snow Patrol have released anything new recently. You discover new music almost by osmosis.


Big plans for the future

Spotify is constantly making innovative decisions without reinventing itself. New playlist tools, and social sharing and music discovery features, emerge often on the app.

The company’s decision to head boldly into podcasting went solidly against its musical roots and shows a platform continually looking forward, enticing new listeners of different types – partnerships with the likes of Joe Rogan show they’re not afraid of courting controversy.


How do you get songs on Spotify?

The power Spotify has over the music industry in 2021 means that, as an artist, releasing your music on the platform is central to your success.

Digital music distributors like RouteNote upload songs by unsigned artists to Spotify. RouteNote is special because we work with artists to get their music online for free.

With RouteNote you keep 85% of revenue; get unlimited uploads to all the biggest streaming services; keep all the rights to your music; have the freedom to come and go as you please, and it’s free forever. And like Spotify, we have a Premium tier, too.


Sign up to RouteNote and get your music on Spotify today.

TikTok’s revenues jumped more than 500% last year in Europe

Image credit: Franck

How much does TikTok make? A new report shows us exactly how much the mobile app is generating in Europe following two years of explosive growth.

TikTok has grown to become the biggest non-Facebook app in the world in the last few years with over a billion (yes, a billion) users worldwide. It was a quickly growing app – famed for its accessible, short-form fun – even before 2020 but, possibly partly thanks to the pandemic forcing us to find new entertainment, its growth in the last two years is astonishing. 

A new report from their European subsidiary TikTok Information Technologies UK reveals that their European revenues grew by 545% in 2020 in Europe. This shows its explosion in a relatively new region, after it had already begun to gain powerful traction across Asia and in the U.S..

That growth led to a total of $170.8m coming through TikTok’s European arm in 2020. Despite the.. *ahem* controversy over the U.K.’s inclusion in Europe, they sit firmly in the data provided here. What will be even more revelatory will be seeing the numbers after 2021 following another year of exponential growth.

For the curious: The revenues for TikTok in Europe come mostly from advertising, $151.7 million to be precise – roughly 89%. The other $16.6 million came from live streaming on the platform whilst an extra $2.5 million was generated by other services.

TikTok said in their report: “We saw revenue increase significantly as our community grew, and we’ve continued to invest aggressively in building a solid foundation for the long-term success of the platform.”

Their success saw them add more than 1,000 employees for maintaining and growing their service in the region throughout 2020. They grew from 208 staff for the area going into 2020, to 1,294 by the end of the year. They refused to comment on their staff numbers in other parts of the world but the writing is on the wall, wherever you are in the world; TikTok is dominating.


At RouteNote, we work closely with TikTok to allow artists to reach huge audiences around the world. Upload your music for free and creators can use your music in their TikToks. You earn money every time your music is used. Reach a potential 1+ billion audience and upload your music to TikTok today.

TikTok does NFTs now – first collection announced

Image Credit: TikTok

Lil Nas X is the face of TikTok’s first NFT drop, with Grimes, Bella Poarch and more involved.

The very first TikTok NFT collection drops soon. Now you can “own a moment that broke the internet,” according to the video platform, by buying NFTs from TikTok.

The drop is inspired by six viral TikTok videos transformed into single copy NFTs. In keeping with the collaborative world of TikTok, the drops are joint ventures between famous TikTok creators and NFT artists.

The first NFT to drop will be Lil Nas X’s collaboration with Rudy Willingham, who went viral after creating a spot-motion video inspired by “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)”. Another collaboration is between Brittany Broski – “Kombucha Girl” – and Grimes.

NFT stands for non-fungible token – unique digital data created by blockchain technology that shows that you own a digital item. Each one-of-one NFT will appear weekly on a drop site and made available on Ethereum. TikTok is inviting people to bid on the NFTs with money raised “largely” going to the creators – a way to reward and show support for creators, TikTok said.

Image Credit: TikTok

There’s also an NFT from virtual shoe and collectible creator RTFKT and AI robot rapper FNMeka, who has given NFTs away before in collaboration with energy drink company G FUEL. TikTok is a strange and wonderful place.

Nick Tran, Global Head of Marketing at TikTok said: “The creation that happens on TikTok helps drive culture and starts trends beyond the platform. As the creator economy continues to grow, we’re continually looking for new and differentiated ways to support our creators.

“Now, fans can own a moment on TikTok that helped shape the internet while supporting some of their favourite creators. We’re excited to see how our community and NFT communities engage with some of the internet’s most beloved cultural milestones.”

The NFTs will be powered by Immutable X with carbon neutral trading, good news considered the debate around the environmental impact of the NFT craze. Lil Nas X’s NFT drops on October 6th.


Want to get your music on TikTok? Release your songs with RouteNote for free today to upload your music to TikTok, and earn money every time your track is used in a new TikTok video. You and your music could go viral – hey, maybe one day you’ll have your own TikTok NFT. Find out more about RouteNote here.

Does music sound better on vinyl?

Image Credit: Florencia Viadana

Why do vinyls sound better – and is that even the case?

Vinyl records have had a resurgence, with vinyl at certain times over the last year making more money than CDs for the first time since the 1980s. Their rising popularity was perhaps driven by stay at home orders of the pandemic, with people having more time on their hands to enjoy the slower pace of selecting a record, sliding it from the sleeve and placing it on the player.

There’s no denying that vinyl records are more beautiful than an album on a streaming service. Sure, album art still looks pretty and videos are impressive, but something is lost when music is started with a single tap of a screen.


Vinyl may look better than streaming music – but does the music sound better on vinyl?

Listening to the same music in different formats brings an entirely different sound every time. An album playing through tinny phone speakers is obviously going to lack the rich sound of a vinyl record. Equally, an album playing on a cheap record player is going to sound terrible compared to an album being streamed in high quality on TIDAL.

But why do vinyls seem to sound better? The immersive warmth of vinyl comes from the analogue format and the lack of compression when the record was pressed. A record also plays continuously, giving a more intense listening experience.

There’s always little details lost in the digital process, but if you’re streaming in better-than-CD-quality on Amazon Music HD for example, the sound quality is going to be close to what the artist intended in the studio.

Apple Music’s Spatial Audio adds a different, deeper dimension to the sound. Vinyl records will also suffer from wear and tear in their lifetime, not something to worry about with a music stream.

There’s a huge degree of personal preference, of course. Vinyl lovers will always be influenced by the feel of the record, emotionally biased towards the sound, feeling a deeper physical connection to the music.

The mindful quality of the slower pace of vinyl perhaps means that you pay more attention to the quirks of the sound than when hitting play on Spotify.

The vintage crackle and hiss of vinyl that so many people love may be replicated on thousands of lo-fi playlists, but they don’t quite match the warmth of the real thing. Music streaming quality will no doubt keep on getting better, but it will never match the unique experience on wax.

What do you think? Does music sound better on vinyl, and why? Let us know in the comments.