Another problem Stem is trying to tackle is ensuring that collaborators that may not be able to monetize their content. Some artists — like first-timers — may be releasing content but have to treat it purely as promotional or marketing. Instead of just focusing on making money of touring, Rabkin said Stem will hopefully offer those artists some way of driving revenue right from the get-go.
The data that Stem brings in from all these disparate platforms may also, itself, be valuable. Artists can get information on their listeners and start to zero in on some of their preferences. That might help them tailor their tours or other parts of their marketing. But adding information around revenue streams on top of that adds another layer of data that can signal a much stronger level of engagement than some of the other signals they might have.
There will likely be plenty of competition in the space. Kobalt, for example, raised $75 million at a $775 million valuation last month. And each of these services — like iTunes or Spotify — may end up simplifying their artist tools down enough that it may not require such complicated background gymnastics to figure out how to get the right people paid. But Rabkin hopes that by building a seamless enough experience Stem will be able to attract a wide artist base that includes Frank Ocean, Childish Gambino, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Anna Wise, Chromatics, and Poolside.