Ink Drop /

In April this year, we reported on the acknowledgment by a couple of Instagram executives that they had plans afoot to help creators (musicians included) to make money from their livestreams on the platform. Yesterday, Instagram made its first announcement on that score.

“To give fans another way to participate and show their love, we’re introducing badges that viewers can purchase during a live video,” it explained. “Badges will appear next to a person’s name throughout the live video. Fans who have purchased badges in Live will stand out in the comments and unlock additional features, including placement on a creator’s list of badge holders and access to a special heart.”

This feature will begin testing in June with “a small group of creators and businesses” – there’s a form to fill in to request early access – with plans to expand to the US, Brazil, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Turkey, Spain, and Mexico in the coming months. The Verge talked to Instagram COO Justin Osofsky to get some additional details: there’ll be a choice of three badges – $0.99, $1.99 and $4.99 – and during the tests creators will keep all the revenues (but Instagram will “as we scale this product, introduce a rev share”)

Also new: plans to introduce advertising in IGTV, the long-form video section of Instagram. Here, too, creators will be able to share in the revenues – they’ll get a 55% cut – with around 200 creators involved in the tests which kick off next week. The Verge interview also refers to an expansion of the ‘Live Shopping’ feature for Instagram livestreams, to help more people sell merchandise, and opening up its Brand Collabs Manager to all US Instagram creators. These are all welcome moves, including from musicians’ perspective.

The bigger picture is of Instagram’s evolution as a music platform. See too yesterday’s separate announcement that Facebook’s Spark AR Studio tool will now enable people to create augmented reality (AR) filters for Instagram that respond to music. “To do this, you can import and use your own legally licensed music files or you can let people pick a song they like from the thousands of free tracks in Instagram’s music library,” explained Facebook’s blog post on the news, with some instructions to get people started.

Image by Ink Drop /

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Stuart Dredge

Music Ally's Head of Insight

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