Can Live Streaming Save the Music Industry During the Corona Virus Crisis?

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While the touring industry comes to a standstill due to the global outbreak of the corona virus and both musicians and fans remain at home, A-list artists like Garth Brooks, Chris Martin, John Legend, Jennifer Hudson, Jewel and Keith Urban try to fill them Empty with live streams. Some artists broadcast these intimate living room concerts for charity, while others seemingly just jump on Instagram Live on a whim. But what about fighting indie and mid-level artists who don’t have rock star bank accounts? Is it possible that streaming is a viable source of income for you now that your gigging plans are put on hold indefinitely?

While home-based musicians have the option to participate in monetization programs for their livestreams in the living room on YouTube or Facebook, two other platforms – Stageit (founded by Evan Lowenstein, formerly the twin power pop duo Evan & Jaron) and the video game website Twitch – be the way of the future.

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "The early user Lowenstein, who came up with the idea For Stageit in 2011, when he realized that international tours were not an efficient or economical way for him to promote his own solo music, Stageit said that he had sparked more interest in the past few weeks than in the past few years, with a "huge increase." by artists who have never tried Stageit. ”(On March 13, Stageit held 27 shows a day; less than a week later, the daily figure was 240.) New Stageit headliners include Rhett Miller and Indigo Girls, and this weekend Stageit will start the Digital DragFest, a 16-day online festival with various RuPaul’s Drag Race Alumni, Hedwig and the evil customs Star John Cameron Mitchell, comedian Margaret Cho and others. “data-reactid =” 18 “> Early Adopter Lowenstein, who came up with the idea for Stageit in 2011 when he realized that international tours were not an efficient or economical way to promote his own solo music, Stageit has been more interested in the past few weeks awakened than in recent years, with a “large number of artists who have never tried Stageit before.” (On March 13, Stageit held 27 shows a day; less than a week later, the daily number was already 240. ) The new Stageit headliners include Rhett Miller and the Indigo Girls, and this weekend Stageit will launch the Digital DragFest, a 16-day online festival with various RuPaul’s Drag Race Alumni, Hedwig and the evil customs Star John Cameron Mitchell, comedian Margaret Cho and others.

Meanwhile, Twitch, which has evolved from games to music and other creative arts in recent years, is broadcasting events like this weekend’s “36h INGRID”, a 36-hour music marathon run by Swedish indie pop trio Peter Bjorn & John the band’s INGRID Studios will be held in Stockholm. Other regulars at Twitch are Panic! In the disco Brendon Urie (who recently produced a song live on Twitch and donates his Twitch earnings to charity), Frankie Grande and Matt Heafy, the front man of the metalcore band Trivium.

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "How exactly does it all work? Stageit has a fairly simple business model , which is based on the real clubbing experience, with fans buying virtual tickets and "tips" for online concerts; Lowenstein giggles as "like Facebook Live with a paywall and a tip glass". Twitch, on the other hand, works under a "freemium." -Model "- meaning it can be used for free, but there are premium paid options like artist chats only for subscribers, song requests, and personal / customizable emojis (or" emotes "). Music and tech veteran Karen Allen, author of the manual Twitching for musicianssays Twitch’s latter feature is very popular with fans. “data-reactid =” 20 “> How does it all work? Stageit has a fairly simple business model based on the real clubbing experience. Fans buy virtual tickets and” tips “for online concerts; Lowenstein giggles as” like Facebook Live with a paywall and a tip glass. “Twitch, on the other hand, works under a” freemium model “- which means that it can be used for free, but there are premium paid options such as artist chats only for subscribers, song requests and personal / customizable emojis (or “emotes”). Music and tech veteran Karen Allen, author of the manual Twitching for musicianssays Twitch’s latter feature is very popular with fans.

Courtesy of Karen Allen / Twitch for musicians

Courtesy of Karen Allen / Twitch for musicians

“Most often, people want to applaud, they want to dance, they want to laugh, they want to sing along,” explains Allen. “So you can create an emoji that will do it for them. There are texts in emoji, zippo lighters for applause, and people really love to use them. When you use the emoji in chat, it shows people that you are a subscriber and band supporter – it’s like a fan club, a kind of badge of honor. You will also receive a small badge next to your username, indicating that you are a subscriber. This way you can show how big your fan is. In this way, the streamer can be supported directly, which is fun for the viewer. “

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "Nevertheless, all free content is available online in the competition for attention the viewer can Really to expect fans to be willing to pay good money for streaming concerts? Lowenstein and Allen both say yes. “data-reactid =” 42 “> Still, all free online content that competes for viewer attention can do so Really to expect fans to be willing to pay good money for streaming concerts? Lowenstein and Allen both say yes.

“If ours [Stageit] The platform entered the beta phase in March 2011. We had fans who paid an average of $ 3.75 for a show. Today that’s over $ 16.50, ”says Lowenstein. “Our biggest [annual] Sales market ever [before the pandemic] was $ 274,000, but only between Sunday and Monday last week did we make about $ 115,000. Allen adds that she “saw up to $ 60 or $ 100” offered for a personal song request on Twitch.

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "" It's really about making connections with people, and The validation they feel when you recognize them as contributors and the validation they feel as a streamer for someone who is participating in your stream, "says Allen." These are really strong social dynamics, and if you have a strong social one Have dynamics like this when you feel to get something of value, it’s a very natural human reaction to want give Something precious. And if you have options that take them where they are, people will. “Data-reactid =” 46 “>” It’s really about connecting with people, and the validation they feel when you recognize them as a contribution, and the validation that you feel like a streamer for someone at yours Stream participates, “says Allen.” These are really strong social dynamics, and if you have such a strong social dynamic, if you feel to get something of value, it’s a very natural human reaction to want give Something precious. And if you have options that take them where they are, people will.

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "" Most people monetize on Facebook by vomiting . like 'Hey, this is my Venmo, this is my PayPal' – which, frankly, is not very exciting because it is not fun to give people money … Just putting money in the ether is not great, "continues All gone. " And that's where Twitch does it right, and here's YouTube [which has a similar monetization program] get it right: you can do it fun. It is fun Just to give a happy emote and see your name on the screen and see how the little animation happens. This is cool. And to know that the artist actually gets money with it? Brilliant! I support you and I have fun? Done! Take my money! But if it’s just “take my money,” how is that fun for anyone? This is charity. Charity is difficult. But spending money on entertainment is simple. ”” Data-reactid = “47”> “Most people make money on Facebook by throwing up like ‘Hey, this is my Venmo, here is my PayPal’ – which, frankly, is not very exciting because there is none It’s fun to give people money… It’s not great to just put cash in the ether, “Allen continues.” And that’s where Twitch does it right, and this is where YouTube comes in [which has a similar monetization program] get it right: you can do it fun. It is fun Just to give a happy emote and see your name on the screen and see how the little animation happens. This is cool. And to know that the artist actually gets money with it? Brilliant! I support you and I have fun? Done! Take my money! But if it’s just “take my money,” how is that fun for anyone? This is charity. Charity is difficult. But spending money on entertainment is simple. ”

Courtesy of Karen Allen / Twitch for musiciansCourtesy of Karen Allen / Twitch for musicians

Courtesy of Karen Allen / Twitch for musicians

Lowenstein compares the dynamics with an intimate road traffic scenario. “When you walk down the street and come across someone who plays the saxophone on the corner, I don’t think there is a real feeling that you have to give that person money. But if you stay there and watch them for 30 seconds, maybe five minutes, you feel like you should give that person a dollar. And the longer you stay, the more you [want to give], because then it’s a live experience. And that’s how Stageit does it. When you watch your favorite artist, you have the feeling that you are taking something away from them, and therefore you want to give something back. ”

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "Both Lowenstein and Allen see the recent explosion of live streaming concerts in the wake of the coronavirus crisis as a massive opportunity for artists who want to adapt in these economically uncertain times, but Lowenstein emphasizes that he doesn't want to look like he's taking advantage of the situation. ”Our pitch [to artists] is Not to say, “Hey, we were waiting for you! Never go back to live on tour! This is Not What’s on the agenda is at all, ”he says. “We really felt that we didn’t want this to be” our moment “. We’re really trying to make this moment about the artist and what they’re going through.” Interestingly, Lowenstein had been looking for ways to expand Stageit last year after the environmentally conscious band Coldplay announced it would reduce its carbon footprint by limiting its tours. “We expected that there could be growth [in livestreaming], but we thought it would have something to do with global warming, “says Lowenstein.” data-reactid = “69”> Both Lowenstein and Allen see the recent explosion of livestream concerts after the coronavirus crisis as a massive opportunity for artists who want to adapt in these economically uncertain times. But Lowenstein emphasizes that he doesn’t want to look like he’s taking advantage of the situation. “Our pitch [to artists] is Not to say, “Hey, we were waiting for you! Never go back to live on tour! This is Not What’s on the agenda is at all, ”he says. “We really felt that we didn’t want this to be” our moment “. We’re really trying to make this moment about the artist and what they’re going through.” Interestingly, Lowenstein had been looking for ways to expand Stageit last year after the environmentally conscious band Coldplay announced it would reduce its carbon footprint by limiting its tours. “We expected that there could be growth [in livestreaming], but we thought it would have something to do with global warming, ”says Löwenstein.

Stageit is now more actively looking for ways to expand its business to keep pace with new demand – including partnering with major brands to pay for the higher payouts the company is now making to Performer. “The majority of artists [used to] make around 53 percent, and we’ve increased that to 80 percent across the board. It’s very difficult for us to do this, but we didn’t want to wait for some kind of lifeline at some point, ”says Lowenstein. “It is really not very sustainable for us [to keep paying 80 percent]but it was more about “let’s do that now and find out the rest later.”

Pop star JoJo tried out Stageit in 2013 for the first time in front of an iMac computer. (Photo: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)Pop star JoJo tried out Stageit in 2013 for the first time in front of an iMac computer. (Photo: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Pop star JoJo tried out Stageit in 2013 for the first time in front of an iMac computer. (Photo: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

In the meantime, Stageit, together with the digital media company Gunpowder & Sky, which is led by former Viacom President Van Toffler, has launched “Stageit Local”, a series of concerts that benefits the local restaurants, venues and bars of the participating artists is coming. And Twitch is also expanding. “Everyone is watching [livestream partnerships] Right now, ”says Allen, noting that concert organizer AEG – who recently announced that it is postponing live tours for the time being – was already experimenting with Twitch in October 2019 by streaming two Red Rocks concerts from Dubstep Sensation Illenium. “I would argue that artists should do live streams anyway because it’s just a phenomenal way to build a fan base and generate revenue,” Allen says.

<p class = "Canvas-Atom Canvas-Text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "Apart from that, Lowenstein is everything for bigger artists, the livestreams for do CharityHe fears that superstars jumping on Instagram Live (which cannot be monetized) or doing other types of giveaway online appearances will make it difficult for smaller artists to convince fans to actually pay for livestreams. “As an artist, I appreciate something [bigger] Artists do it, but I don’t think they recognize – and I don’t want to name people or individual people – if a [big] Artists are wasting their time and fighting artists are asking people for $ 5 to play with, it’s a challenge [for the smaller artist]”He says.” That’s why we don’t have free shows on our platform. We don’t want an artist to work hard and ask you for tips while you have [a larger artist] say, ‘Hey, everyone can just watch for free because I’m in the eyeball business and I’ve made so much money at the time that I just want you to watch.’ “data-reactid =” 92 “> That being said, Lowenstein is everything for larger artists who do live streams CharityHe fears that superstars jumping on Instagram Live (which cannot be monetized) or doing other types of giveaway online appearances will make it difficult for smaller artists to convince fans to actually pay for livestreams. “As an artist, I appreciate something [bigger] Artists do it, but I don’t think they recognize – and I don’t want to name people or individual people – if a [big] Artists are wasting their time and fighting artists are asking people for $ 5 to play with, it’s a challenge [for the smaller artist]”He says.” That’s why we don’t have free shows on our platform. We don’t want an artist to work hard and ask you for tips while you have [a larger artist] say, “Hey, everyone can just watch for free because I’m in the eyeball business and at that point I’ve made so much money that I just want you to watch.”

“[Some bigger artists] make it kind of tricky, and I think they are undermining what the platform can really do for people, ”explains Lowenstein. “There is much [smaller] Artists who consistently need this to pay their rent, but this [major acts] I just jump in and have a good time and I don’t think they are aware of the artists who want to make a living every day. ”

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "Nevertheless Allen optimistically believes that mid-level and smaller artists have the opportunity to create an audience experience that larger artists simply cannot. "It’s a completely different kind of live stream. They will actually read the chat and respond to people and maybe take requests, and they "We will see every comment that comes up. John Legend and Keith Urban cannot possibly keep up with the comments, there is no way, they probably have someone help them and get the good ones out. You didn't understand you are There with them and they won’t last very long. But the [smaller] Artists who really do that [Twitch] With live streaming they are awake for at least two hours as if you were hanging out with them. They try to treat it like they have friends in their home. You don’t overproduce it. You are not on a stage. The whole point of live streaming is tearing down these walls and connecting with people. If it looks and feels like high-gloss TV, you can’t make this connection. And fans spend money on the experience of being with you. … People are almost more for the community than for the content. “” Data-reactid = “94”> Nevertheless, Allen optimistically believes that medium-sized and smaller artists have the opportunity to create an audience experience that larger artists simply cannot have. “It is a completely different kind of live streaming. They actually will read the chat and reply to people and maybe take requests and they will see every comment that pops up. John Legend and Keith Urban cannot possibly keep up with the comments, there is no way, they probably have someone to help them and the good guys You don’t get the feeling that you are There with them and they won’t last very long. But the [smaller] Artists who really do that [Twitch] With live streaming they are awake for at least two hours as if you were hanging out with them. They try to treat it like they have friends in their home. You don’t overproduce it. You are not on a stage. The whole point of live streaming is tearing down these walls and connecting with people. If it looks and feels like high-gloss TV, you can’t make this connection. And fans spend money on the experience of being with you. … People are almost more for the community than for the content. “

Both Lowenstein and Allen emphasize that they don’t expect or want live streaming to ever replace the traditional concert experience. “I don’t want to sound old, but there has always been something in live music that smells like a venue and meets and bumps into other people,” says Lowenstein. But they agree that even if things get “normal” again, whenever and whatever that may be, the music industry could actually change in a way for the better.

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "" I think many artists will be exposed to the power of Livestreams and will include it in their mix of things they do – and them should“Says Allen.” I think every artist should do it honestly. It’s so incredibly powerful to build really engaged fan bases. And frankly, that’s what we’re here for. We’re not here to get YouTube views. We are not here to get Instagram followers. We are here to get Fans. Fans are what support a career. “” Data-reactid = “98”> “I think a lot of artists will be exposed to the power of the livestream and incorporate them into their mix of things they do – and them should“Says Allen.” I think every artist should do that honestly. It’s so incredibly powerful to build really committed fan bases. And frankly, that’s what we’re here for. We’re not here to get YouTube views. We are not here to get Instagram followers. We are here to get Fans. Fans are what support a career. “

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