Deadmau5 launches subscription-based iPhone app (with Android to come)

Dance music star Deadmau5 has launched a new iPhone app offering fans exclusive music, video and access to his "candid thoughts" in return for a monthly subscription fee.

The app, which went live in Apple's App Store this week, is the mobile companion to the community that the musician – aka Joel Thomas Zimmerman – launched in December.

Its App Store listing describes the app as "a subscription based digital destination he personally architected for fans to get direct access to premium content and intimate experiences".

Fans can sample some features for free, but sign up for a £2.99 monthly subscription or £34.99 annual fee for full access. Deadmau5 has worked with music startup Upfront Media on both the website and app.

Soon after the app launched, Zimmerman was defending the lack of an Android version to cross fans on Twitter. "okay complainers. we are developing an app for android as well, have been for a while. ios was just easiest for now. work takes time," he tweeted last night.

It's not the first official Deadmau5 app on iOS, though: Zimmerman has previously worked with developer Touch Mix on two apps: Deadmau5 Mix and Deadmau5 Remix. Both enabled fans to remix some of his songs on their devices. He also starred (in cartoon form) in iPhone game Shred Neffland: featuring Deadmau5.

Launching his own subscription service was a bold move in December, with Zimmerman admitting to fans at the time in a posting on Reddit that the model was new and risky.

"i’ve had this idea forever," he wrote. "most publishers and labels are, still, completely overlooking the value of an artist created / driven subscription model. I guess it’s sink or swim for me."

Other musicians have tried the idea within apps, including another dance star – Tiësto – and unlikelier bedfellows Crosby, Stills and Nash. Both artists charge in-app subscriptions for access to exclusive music and other content.

The idea of artist-based subscriptions has been discussed more widely within the music industry, too, albeit not always as apps. Prince has launched (and closed) several subscription sites for his music, for example, including NPG Online, NPG Music Club and Lotusflow3r.

Deadmau5's fellow EDM star Skrillex also launched an online subscription service called The Nest for his label OWSLA in December 2012, charging fans $12 a month to get every release on the label, plus exclusives and priority tickets for live shows. "The Nest is another chance for us to get music out to the fans quicker and easier," said Skrillex at the time.

Meanwhile, in June 2013, industry analyst Mark Mulligan proposed the idea of artist subscriptions sitting within existing streaming services like Spotify and Deezer "with users paying a small monthly fee – say $/€1 – for a month’s worth of artist content" and having the cost added to their monthly bill.

Powered by article was written by Stuart Dredge, for on Friday 16th May 2014 15.00 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010