Live Concert Streaming – The Time Is Now [OP-ED]
Prior to co-foundingEVNTLIVEin January, 2012, David Carrico was CEO of CMG, a music industry marketing, consulting and management group. Here, he calls on the music industry to work with new companies and business models to create a much needed new revenue stream from online concert streams. "It's not just about EVNTLIVE," Carrico says, "this extends to other industries as well."
To sustain and secure the future of the music industry, we need to lead with creativity and a love for the arts, the very values that drew each of us to this work in the first place. As an innovator in the space, I’m often discouraged when I attend music conferences with panel titles like "Streaming – is it the Armageddon or the Resurrection?" Connecting industry innovation to its ultimate demise flies in the face of our collective love of experimentation, discovery and originality. Have we forgotten why we fell in love with music?
I was seduced by the music business long before I first tweeted @beyonce or bought a Spotify premium account. My lust for music began the first time I walked into a pungent, sticky bar (that I had no legal business being in) and heard a group of unknown bands spend 90 minutes pouring their sweaty hearts out on stage through a series of thrashing riffs, emotional refrains and lyrics written on the philosophy of love, hate, and loneliness.
Live music was, I believe, the bait that hooked many of us on the industry, but the business has changed. These days, every track is digitized making it harder than ever for artists to make a living selling music. Artists now rely on touring as a consistent source of income. For bands that bring home 400 dollars a gig, those that get a 100 million dollar advance from Live Nation, and every performer in between, touring has replaced record sales as the way most musicians survive.
Still, touring alone is not the easy fix the industry demands. While tours generate revenue, the tangible and intangible costs are high and ongoing growth isn’t sustainable. In my years as a manager I witnessed the toll a lifestyle of continuous touring takes on an artist. I’ve seen artists arrested on stage for violating local ordinances. I’ve born witness to drug overdoses, chronic pain and the demise of personal relationships.
For me, the most important question is : How can the music industry increase revenue, reach the largest possible audience and, at the same time, reduce the hardships and move beyond the limits of the never-ending tour?
The answer is simple. Creativity, a love of the arts, and a spirit of experimentation, discovery and originality.
We built EVNTLIVE, a true online concert venue, to extend live tours, increase industry revenues – for artists, the various industry players and sponsors – and, more than anything, to surprise and delight fans everywhere.
Unlike some in this space focused on streaming artists from studios, or artists homes, EVNTLIVE is dedicated to going where the action is, filming concerts from the world's greatest artists, across all genres, at venues large and small, and making those shows available on mobile and standard computing devices.
Like most things in the music industry, setting out to accomplish this has been breathtakingly hard. Managers, record label executives, artists, and publishers have all echoed similar concerns — We want change, we all want a new revenue stream for the music business, but can you cut through the red tape? Can you feed all the hungry mouths? Can I get an advance? A guarantee? Why should I risk it on your platform?
My answer is this: to survive, we have no other choice than to take a risk on new technology, on originality, on art itself.
The time is now. We have transitioned into a world where access and experience is everything. The things we own no longer define us, instead it is the experiences we cultivate that shape our identity. The days when music fans would pay to collect a shelf full of CD’s are over, but music fans will always pay to gain access to the music they love, and to learn more about the people behind that music.
My plea to my colleagues in the music industry is simple. Work with us. Let's create online experiences that are worth the ticket price. There is no doubt in my mind that the fans will thank us – and when fans are happy, fortune follows.