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Why Subscription Model Holds Exciting Possibilities for Art Lovers While the subscription economy is still evolving, it is throwing up interesting results and applications on a daily basis.

By Aagam Mehta

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"Subscription' has undoubtedly been one of the hottest buzzwords as far as consumer spending trends go. In the span of a few years, established enterprises as well as startups – across verticals – have taken to the subscription model in order to ramp up revenues and also offer customers more meaningful experiences. As it redefines every segment, from make-up and sneakers to cars and software, can it also do the same for the world of art lovers and enthusiasts?

Experience over Ownership

There are quite a few people who look at art as an investment. For them, ownership is key. But there is also a significant segment that values the experience of art more than ownership. For them, it is not really about owning a work of art but exploring and experiencing as many of them as possible. This is the segment for which the subscription model is just made to order.

No Bulk Investment

A critical factor that stops individuals as well as enterprises from bringing art into their daily lives is the initial bulk investment that is associated with it. For individuals, that might mean months of planning and saving. And for enterprises, the whole thing usually gets lost somewhere in the RoI and "prudent spending' discourse. Even though there is strong evidence of how art at the workplace has a positive effect on employees, a bulk investment in art is something that usually features way down on their list of priorities. And if it happens to be a small business or a startup: forget about it. But with the subscription model, a small amount every month and you have an artwork (or two) right in your living room or workspace in a matter of days.

Flexibility is Key

One of the biggest benefits of the subscription model has been the flexibility that comes with it – not just in terms of pricing and payments but also the service as a whole. It is no longer about being tied down to a single product but experiencing the best of what that line of products has to offer. You apply the same principle to art, and the subscription model can transform or supplement the current norm of owning a piece of art with exploring and experiencing many of them over the course of time, all for the payment of a subscription charge that is periodic and way more manageable.

Long-term, Evolving Relationships

Ask any art enthusiast and they will tell you that engaging with art is never a one-time thing, nor does it usually fizzle out in a year or two. For most, it is a life-long affair. That is where the biggest USP of the subscription model comes into play: that of cultivating long-term relationships with consumers that evolve with taste and time. Would you rather sell someone a painting just once or would you rather have them explore and experience your collection for years by paying a small amount every month? For a business, not only does it mean a steady stream of revenue and a recurring customer base but also a clearer picture of their customers' evolving tastes and preferences and thus serving them better. After all, staying relevant to a customer for years has never really hurt any business.

Conclusion:

While the subscription economy is still evolving, it is throwing up interesting results and applications on a daily basis. And art, personal and subjective as it is, could very well make use of it to offer artists an alternate stream of income as well as bring more enthusiasts into the fold. It is high time someone shattered the perception that art is only meant for a select few. And this seems like a good place to start.

Aagam Mehta

Co-founder, Floating Canvas Company

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