Maybe you’ve noticed the niche social-media pile-on that followed ex-Disney actress Bella Thorne joining “premium” social media platform OnlyFans – a sort of paywalled, no-holds-barred Instagram, which can be used by anyone to charge fans for content, but is mainly used by adult stars.
Following Thorne’s boast that she’d made $2 million in a week on the platform, plenty of adult performers were up in arms that a Hollywood celebrity with an edgy persona had shaken up a website that was hitherto working very well for them.
There’s a lot of gossip and accusations to wade through here, which we’ll leave you to explore in your own time, but there is a clear message from this incident: if you have even a small number of fans – on social media or IRL – you can convert some of them to monthly subscribers on OnlyFans, who you can then sell add-on packages of personalised video content.
This is something adult performers have known for years, and their frustration with Thorne is possibly partly down to a fear that if the platform gains huge popularity, their income streams may suffer. (Some report “five figure” monthly incomes from the site.)
Thorne’s controversial stint on OnlyFans follows Cardi B’s debut on the platform, charging fans $4.99 a month for exclusive videos and messages.
The Adult industry has often pointed the way for new technology use, driving the adoption of VHS and online video streaming. Whether or not OnlyFans is the platform that musicians eventually use, as it becomes clear that artists require multiple income streams via delivery of a variety of fan experiences, they will certainly be interested in pivoting superfans into paywalled fan-relationships.