Entertaining comes naturally to Troye Sivan. Even as a young boy in Western Australia’s city of Perth, his acting and singing teachers could see all the creative hallmarks of a true performer. In 2006, during one of his many early performances on televised Australian talent shows, eleven year-old Troye is described as “a very special young boy with a beautiful voice.”
Looking at Troye’s early work on YouTube, two things quickly become clear. First, that he’s a natural performer with a knack for creating unique, entertaining content. But, second, that as effortless and natural as his videos appear, this is something that he works really hard to get right. In an interview with The Global Town Hall, a 16 year-old Troye said:
“On a daily basis, I’m either making music, writing something, filming videos for YouTube, or keeping in touch with my online fan base, or doing all of the above at once. It’s the perfect job! I’m so thankful for all of it, and wouldn’t trade it for any other job in the world.”
It’s this gratitude, attitude and dedication that makes him such a natural entertainer. He understands just how much work goes on behind-the-scenes in order to make content as good as his. And, perhaps most importantly, he loves doing it.
Influential Teens & Silver Screens
We’re by no means the only people who can see the amount of talent and hard work that went into Troye’s early video blogs.
In 2008, an influential Hollywood agent saw some of Troye’s work on YouTube. Straight away, he got in touch with Troye and his family, starting a conversation that resulted in Troye being cast as a young Wolverine in the X-Men movie franchise. By 2014, 19 year-old Troye had built a community of three million fans and followers on YouTube alone. And, that same year, Time Magazine selected him as one of 2014’s most influential teenagers.
So, it’s clear that there’s something pretty special and captivating about Troye Sivan.
Perhaps the most significant development amid all this, though, came in 2013 when Troye was approached by Universal Music subsidiary label EMI Australia. Their interest in Troye was sparked by his two independently-produced EPs: 2007’s Dare to Dream and 2012’s June Haverly. Now they wanted Troye to sign a recording contract and start making music professionally.
Once again, Troye’s talent had been recognised. But EMI and Universal Music didn’t just see a musician. They saw a community builder. Someone who really understands what it means to gather, build and engage a fan community. Someone whose multi-talented artistic nature drives them to use any tool and any medium to reach fans with truly unique and groundbreaking content.
Troye x Disciple
It’s here that Troye’s journey with Disciple began. Disciple was founded for artists just like Troye. Artists who transcend the traditional understanding of fanbase engagement and seek to turn their fanbase into a fan community. Artists who want to give their fans a more interactive, involved, connected and comprehensive experience than is possible through the standard channels such as social media or a mailing list.
With all of this in mind, we built Troye’s new artist platform in partnership with Universal Music and EMI Australia. It took a lot of thought, effort and work to build the right space for Troye and his fans. And the result is something we like to call the Backstage Boxset.
The Backstage Boxset is a first for the music industry. It’s an all access pass for Troye Sivan, giving fans a backstage experience that brings them closer to Troye. Launched to coincide with the much anticipated release of Troye’s sophomore album – Bloom – any fan who buys a physical or digital copy of Bloom will also get access to the Backstage Boxset as part of a bundle.
The Backstage Boxset
For fans, it’s a 360º experience of Troye’s tour and professional life. They get access to exclusive behind-the-scenes videos, images from photoshoots, audio notes from recordings, official video previews, and personal handwritten messages.
App members are also the first to get news and updates straight from Troye. Snippets of unreleased music, new video footage, access to pre-sales, lyric and artwork reveals, promos and merch. All delivered to their smartphones in a highly visual, immersive mobile experience.
For Troye, it’s his own, dedicated platform. He has full control over the app, the content he uploads, the audience data and any monetisation options. It’s Troye’s own channel, free from the distractions and advertising of social media. He’s no longer vying for news feed space with a bunch of other artists. He’s sending push notifications right to the devices that his fans use most.
Perhaps most importantly though, the app enables Troye to drive real revenues from his fanbase. The app is and will always be free to download and use. But, the app is split into two tiers: free and premium. And the amount of content each member can see and access depends on whether they’ve purchased Troye’s album or paid for premium access in the app.
The launch of his album pre-sale activated a premium tier in the app. Now, only fans who have pre-order Troye’s new album and entered their unique code into the paywall have unlimited access to all of Troye’s app content. Free members are still able to see the free content but will only see a partial preview of the premium content. To get full access, all they need to do is pre-order Troye’s album or upgrade to premium in the app.
And all of this is completely in the control of Troye and his team. They have the flexibility to decide how and when to create value through Troye’s content. By choosing which content to mark as free and which content to mark as premium, they’re able to build revenue in ways that work for them. No algorithms, monetising restrictions or constraints.
On the one hand, Troye can super-serve and reward his most loyal fans by giving them exclusive first access to content they can’t get anywhere else. On the other hand, he can drive album sales from fans who want a more comprehensive album experience than they can find on streaming platforms.
The Importance of Being Exclusive
This premium, pay-to-access model is a big area of focus for the music industry right now. The arrival of streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music ushered out the days of physical or digital album sales and made it much more difficult for artists to make money through music sales alone.
Similarly, the rise of social media has made it much more difficult to monetise content through exclusivity. For all its promotional successes, social media doesn’t give artists control over content exclusivity or monetisation. In the social sphere of instant gratification, all new content is instantly made universally available, leaving little room for exclusivity and gated access to premium content.
Troye’s app solves both of these problems. The app helps drive album sales and app subscriptions by incentivising fans with front row access to exclusive content. And, the app’s premium model enables Troye to control and monetise his best content by storing it securely behind the paywall.
A New Model for the Music Industry
Technology is constantly providing us with new ways to experience all aspects of our life – including music. We believe that harnessing the technology of smartphone apps can help us build dynamic, interactive communities focused around any shared purpose, interest or point of commonality.
In the case of Troye, his music and artistry provide a shared purpose that brings his fans together and gathers them onto a platform that he owns and controls.
We are proud that Troye, EMI and Universal Music share our vision for the future of artist-fan interaction. We’re excited to see how this new fanclub model can help creative artists, such as Troye, establish new revenue streams in order to sustain their artistry and creative output. We can’t wait to see what Troye and other artists like him can achieve with this new model.
If you’d like to try Troye’s app out for yourself, click here to download it.