Live & Touring

How Cancelled Live Concerts Don’t Have To Mean Lost Revenue For Musicians

While the pandemic and ensuing cancellation of live concerts has certainly made life for bands and artists demonstrably harder in the short term, George Meek here outlines how this latest industry challenge could help artists develop some unexplored and potentially lucrative opportunities.

Guest post by George Meek, CEO of InPlayer

The phrase starving artist doesn’t come from nowhere.

Over the years, creative people  have relied on wealthy benefactors, slippery-fingered money men and the kindness of  the public to keep oils on their palettes and strings on their Stratocasters – and too often only just that. The skills required to compose a masterpiece, sadly, just don’t regularly  overlap with those needed to keep a bank account flush.

But creatives – especially musicians – keep getting savvier about monetizing their craft,  and today they likely have access to more transparent advice and do-it-yourself means  than ever before. That’s why the pandemic hit many artists like a ton of bricks. After the fall of the record labels and the industry’s struggles to wrangle the streaming music  market, musicians had come to rely heavily on live shows to make their nut. So when making choices for the greater good meant pulling the plugs on amps and closing the  doors on clubs, it looked like a wrap for gigging musicians.  

It doesn’t have to be.

The cancelling of concerts was without a doubt a nasty pothole in  the road for bands and artists – but the wheels haven’t come off the tour bus. If  anything, the events of the day have only accelerated musicians’ steps toward some  unexplored (and potentially lucrative) opportunities. We’re talking, of course, about  streaming concerts.

Pay-per-view video allows fans to watch a live show at home – or anywhere they feel  like taking their mobile devices. Is it the same as a full, immersive concert experience?  No. But neither is it $150 tickets, $40 parking, $14 beers and endless restroom lines. It’s also a win-win for artists and their fans: streaming tickets would cost far less and the musicians could sell many more. Stadiums have capacities; OTT platforms do not.

Also (and most importantly), virtual concerts are currently the only option fans have. 

Will streaming concerts vanish when the coronavirus does? Smart artists won’t let them.  Musicians have too long considered only two revenue streams: albums and live shows.  Given the technology to add more, why not diversify? Thinking globally, leaving no stone unturned and reaching out to fans who can’t, for whatever reason, be there can help push musicians to create new earning categories and bolster existing ones.

In addition to charging for a ticket to a streaming event, musicians can offer add-ons.  How about a virtual backstage pass, giving viewers a glimpse of artists in the moments  leading up to a concert? Exclusive downloads to past signature shows? Chances to win  an invite to a fan event? Discounts on swag? The sky’s the limit. 

The idea is to think outside the old model and build in more value, more exclusivity,  more opportunities for fans to interact. Imagine a quarterly acoustic show. Special  guests. Sponsorship. Artists have a golden opportunity to sign deals with OTT platforms  that can facilitate in creating more content and bundling those other pieces. Creativity is  the key – and that’s something musicians know a thing or two about.  

George Meek is CEO of InPlayer, a leading monetization and subscriber management  platform with over 400 customers worldwide. George has almost two decades of  experience selling broadcast technology and almost as long operational experience in  scaling high-growth technology companies.

Share on: