Are Paid Live Streams Of Concerts The Next Step In Music Revenue?

Live-stream-music(UPDATED) By Tyler Hayes, who runs the music discovery site Nxt Big Thing.

Up until recently the solution for artists not making money on their music recordings was for them to tour. The live show is something that can't be, easily, pirated or duplicated. The Postal Service semi announces they'll be playing at least one show in 2013 and the Internet temporarily explodes. The experience of seeing a band play live is an experience unto itself.

image from www.quiethounds.comUnexplored for the most part, live show webcasts are ripe for artists adoption. Quiet Hounds are a relatively new band looking to be on the forefront of exploration with their newest adventure, 'We Formally Invite You To Go Nowhere'. With one live show broadcast under their belts, the band is having their second on February 24th. Originally set to use livestream and attendstar, the band will now be hosting the broadcast themselves, keeping 100% of the modest $5 ticket price. Beyond looking for different revenue streams aligned with performing music, Quiet Hounds appear to have an interest in pushing technological advancements forward in the space.

The digital revolution in music was supposed to make it easier for consumers to manage and transport their collections, but for businesses in the industry it was supposed to dramatically cut costs. Infinitely copying digital music for basically no cost revolutionized distribution expenses. If live concert broadcasts can find an audience, the potential to put a little more leverage and cash in the independent artist's pocket would be a welcome addition. It should also be noted that broadcasts of live concerts are nothing new. The part which is in the process of being revolutionized is any band, at anytime, setting up a for-pay concert over the internet.

First it was selling albums that was a lucrative endeavor, followed by the era of needing to tour to make money as a career band. The beginnings of shifting the concert going experience from the real world to the digital one appear to finally be happening. With costs relatively low compared to potential earnings, the space is worth exploring. The only piece left seems to be figuring out how to deliver band merch instantly using 3D printers.

[Thumbnail image courtesy Ian Stannard.]


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  1. first with the music festival and now with the online concert streaming movement, phish once again blazes a new path. they have been successfully streaming their shows for years now. true pioneers in many ways.

  2. I can see this working for big name acts…somewhat, but for the little guys, the unsigned, the unseen, the option is still free streaming. again something that helps the top acts but not the rest of the crowd. In my humble opinion, this is nothing disrupting

  3. there are two strategies here that make sense: big events that sell out can generate incremental revenue. small events can test out adoption, fan interest, and provide a way for remote fans to see the show. we’ve marketed this type of streaming for a local band in los angeles and the outcome was positive.

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