Instagram Subscriptions – Worthwhile for Musicians?
08/04/2023 00:16:28 +0000
Instagram has been rolling out Instagram Subscriptions to select creators in their latest red herring ploy to distract humanity and keep them scrolling endlessly. Soon, it will be a feature available to all eligible creators across the world.
Now, I am facetious about the "red herring ploy" part, but if you're an artist trying to figure out whether to chase this shiny object, I would admonish you to keep your eyes on the prize, that being whatever career goals you have set that are helping you create the life you love through music.
So, here are several questions to ask before diving headlong into the unknown:
Unless this somehow escaped you in the opening paragraphs of this key news item, not every Instagram creator is even eligible to set up Instagram Subscriptions.
Why rush out to meet requirements and spend enormous sums on advertising to grow your account, especially if the requirements are too lofty to be within reach?
By the way, the main requirements for Instagram Subscriptions are as follows:
• You must meet Instagram's Partner Monetization Policies.
• You must be compliant with Instagram's Community Guidelines and Content Monetization Policies.
• You must have a professional account with at least 10,000 followers.
• You must be 18 years or older.
2. Have You Been Building a Following on Instagram?
For select artists who've long depended on Instagram for the delivery and distribution of their content, Instagram Subscriptions may prove a worthwhile venture, given that their fan base has also been steadily growing.
But if you aren't already aware of any Instagram superfans who always like and comment on your posts, chances are you're just setting yourself up for disappointment by rushing out to set up Instagram Subscriptions.
Don't be blinded by the potential upside!
3. Will it Detract from Your Other Call to Actions?
Yes, we know that revenue diversification is the name of the game when it comes to building a music career as an independent musician.
But the problem is still that artists aren't usually thinking about a logical and sequential customer journey, a value ladder, or some path that customers follow when they arrive in their ecosystem. Thus, they end up sacrificing huge sums of revenue in favor of chasing new fans, and the math is not on their side.
Of course, it's ideal to set up a web store, eCommerce store, membership, or some combination thereof, but these creations should always be accompanied by the watchfulness of an eagle and the intelligence of an elephant.
What is most logical for your customer to buy first? What should they buy after? What will you upsell, down-sell, or cross-sell next? What is your long-term plan?
This is foundational to increasing customer lifetime value (i.e., earning more for every customer you work hard to earn the attention of, versus always looking for new customers, which can be costlier and more effort-intensive).
So, consider – what is the gateway drug to your music? Once hooked, how will your fans be treated in your ecosystem? And where will they go from there?
You've got to dedicate more thought to this instead of carelessly signing up for yet another monetization scheme that doesn't logically fit into your strategy.
If Instagram, why Instagram? You've got to sit with this question.
4. Do You Have the Time & Resources to Do Yet Another Thing?
Now, most of us have good intentions when it comes to starting up new things. The question that often goes unasked in chasing shiny objects, though, is:
Do we have time for this?
What we're hoping is that the additional income will give us the opportunity to hire an overseas virtual assistant for pennies on the dollar and have them take over mundane tasks we don't want to do and aren't good at.
And for some reason, no one talks about the fact that you've still got to:
• Train your assistant.
• Monitor and demand accountability from your assistant.
• Ensure that your assistant stays in action and is doing what they're supposed to be doing.
• Evaluate and approve your assistants' work.
Expectation often does not meet reality in this area, and it's normal that the assistant who you thought was going to save you two hours per week only ends up saving you 10 to 15 minutes per week.
If you've got the time and resources to allocate to the new venture, go for it! But don't come crying to me when your workload increases and your income doesn't match your output.
5. What is the Potential Upside?
We can use simple math to figure this out. The average Instagram Subscription will net you about $49.99 per month. Honestly, most creators probably won't be able to justify the higher price tiers and are likely to go with the $4.99 or $9.99 options, but let's be generous.
Instagram says Creators receive 100% of their revenue, but of course, we know taxes and fees will be deducted from your total earnings.
Either way, we'll say you're earning $49.99 per subscriber, and you've got 23 monthly subscribers. Your revenue (the amount you earn before taxes, fees, and other expenses) would be calculated this way:
$49.99 x 23 subscribers = $1,149.77
Now, if we wanted to make a decent monthly income, let's say $3,000 a month from Instagram Subscribers, we'd need roughly 60 subscribers at $49.99 apiece.
At the expected $4.99 per month, however, you would need 602 subscribers to make $3,000!
$4.99 x 602 subscribers = $3,003.98
Again, I get it – maybe your goal now is to earn an extra $200 to $500 per month, and that would be enough for you to dedicate additional time to Instagram. If Instagram is your main channel, then it makes a lot of sense! Don't let me be a thorn in your side.
But as for me, I prefer to drive people into my own ecosystem where I control the terms, including the price of what I sell.
What Next Steps Are You Going to Take?
Perhaps, most important of all, is what steps are you going to take next?
I'm not just talking about Instagram Subscriptions, although that is the topic of this article...
I'm also talking about what you intend to do to grow your music career and create the life you love through music.
So, let's rap on that for a second...
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