5 Things To Consider When Planning A Live Stream Concert
While certainly not as favored as in-person shows, live-streaming concerts has given bands and artists a level of autonomy and control not often afforded on an actual stage. In this piece, we look at a few different things artists should keep in mind and capitalize on when live-streaming.
Guest post by George Meek, CEO of InPlayer
Few workers have toiled longer or harder to capture control of their means of production and build a sustainable business model than musicians. The frequent portrayals of bands living out of their tour van and playing tiny clubs for drinks would be cliche if they weren’t so often true. Even the musical artists who make it typically have found them selves beholden to record labels, management, venue promoters and ticket vendors along the way, and often wind up taking home just a sliver of the pie.
But the industry is changing. And for musicians, at long last, business is good. For all the havoc wreaked over the past year by COVID-19, one positive development for cre ators has been the pandemic-driven rise of the live stream. As musical artists embraced live streams (many of them decidedly low-fi) as a way to drive charitable donations and stay busy during the COVID shutdown, they soon discovered a market for ticketed vir tual shows – and the possibility of a new and lasting, 100-percent-artist-controlled rev enue stream.
Adam Weiner, frontman of the rock band Low Cut Connie, set up a Patreon account allowing fans to subscribe and access virtual live shows that he performs in his home. Earnings from subscriptions reportedly have already matched his group’s typical touring profit margins.
“This has graduated from just a stopgap measure,” Weiner told Rolling Stone in August. “We’ve seen quickly that this is becoming a thing. I am completely convinced I’m going to be doing this a long time, even when I’m able to tour.”
Weiner likely won’t be alone. In an end-of-year 2020 report, music industry analysts MIDiA found that the total ticketed revenue from live-streamed concerts in December was up 292 percent from June. Some of music’s biggest acts have chosen to postpone blockbuster tours due to the pandemic. But many of those artists have found ways to engage with fans and bolster their brands via streaming medium in the meantime (we’re looking at you, Dave Grohl). Plenty more have plunged headfirst into virtual, streaming pay-per-view concerts and building platforms that show great promise of lasting beyond the pandemic.
By making concerts and content accessible across a number of platforms, a band’s fans can watch a concert while sitting in the car or in front of their television. Additionally, musicians are able to pre-sell tickets to live streams and measure the success of an event through post-event analytics.
If you’re a musician who remains skeptical about streaming, or maybe just doesn’t know how to get started, here are a few key facts to consider:
- You’re in control. A number of streaming platforms give artists complete autonomy over their virtual shows while taking little to nothing off the top of ticket purchases. Most of them are easy to manage, too. Musicians have arguably never had this much control over their “touring.”
- You can reach a new audience. For introverts and others who shy away from live shows, and for those whose location or income might put the usual concert experience out of reach, virtual shows open up a whole new world. Those fans will be grateful you reached out to them, especially during such trying times. You can’t buy that kind of loyalty.
- Your concert venue doubles as a fan shop. Many streaming providers offer all-in-one platforms that put your music and merchandise sales at your fans’ fingertips – rather than in a dark corner of the club or out on the arena concourse. Online shopping couldn’t be simpler: For fans who have already subscribed or bought a ticket, a band tee can be a one-click purchase.
- Go ahead: Call it a comeback. Rage Against the Machine, Faith No More and the Pussycat Dolls are just a few of the bands fans were eagerly anticipating reforming in 2020. They’ve all pushed off live reunion tours, but maybe they should consider striking while the iron is hot: According to BNN Bloomberg, six of the top 10 highest-grossing tours of 2019 were reunion or legacy acts. Older bands that grew tired of touring or split up to focus on family now have an alternative in virtual shows.
- You can do both. Even when the world returns to “normal,” an appetite for streaming will remain. Some fans will never tire of the live concert experience. Some eventually get their fill – and others simply don’t have the option of attending on-site shows. But for musicians, it’s a great “problem” to have: there’s no rule that says you can’t serve all of those fans.
George Meek is CEO of InPlayer, a leading monetization and subscriber management platform with over 700 customers worldwide. George has almost two decades of experience selling broadcast technology and almost as long operational experience in scal ing high-growth technology companies.