Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article.
Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram represent the primary way in which artists connect with fans. The problem with this one-way form of communication is that it feels anything but exclusive. A new tech company called WR1 is aiming to revolutionize the fan experience.
"Over the last decade, fan clubs have disappeared into social media," says Geo Labelle, founder and CEO of WR1. "Everything became accessible and free for everyone, but the excitement of being a fan has been lost."
In other words, the fan experience has been diluted down into an advertising platform. WR1, which launches in June, is focusing hard on reigniting the one-of-a-kind connection between fans and artists.
The premium sharing technology will enable musicians, athletes and other talent to start their own community and share exclusive content with their fans; almost like a modern-day twist on traditional fan clubs.
How will it work? Every artist will have the opportunity to start a live stream, share songs, music, videos, you name it—all in one click.
"What we envision is artists creating their own reality show-slash-documentary of their lives, and maybe go live to their fans every week," says Labelle. "This allows artists to share special moments, go behind the scenes, or even hold private concerts."
Any fans coming in can start following an artist for free. But upgraded memberships come with even more opportunities to build a personal connection with your favorite artists, like the ability to send private messages and use WR1's map feature to view their present location. Membership also opens the door for chances to participate in virtual meet-and-greets.
Subscribing to your favorite artist's WR1 channel begins at just 99 cents per month, with up to 95 percent of the proceeds going directly to the artist. WR1's vision is to assist up-and-coming artists to support themselves in living their dreams; instead of having to play in bars for free beer. The technology also gives artists the opportunity to get to know their most loyal fans.
"Until now, artists did not have any information about their fans," says Labelle. "WR1 gives the artists an opportunity to both view their fans on a fan map and contact their fans at any location. This opens a new world of more personal and private fan experiences such as small local meet-ups, guest list invitations and more."
WR1 opens the lines of communication between artists and fans at a local level. For example, when a musician lands in a new city, they can invite fans to a private little gig at a small bar. Similarly, they can reach out to their three best fans in a city and get them on the guest list for a local concert. The possibilities for connecting are endless.