It’s time to forget what you know – or risk getting left behind.
Now that I have your attention, let me explain that statement.
We will absolutely get the live business back on track, but it goes without saying that it will be a process to get there. With that, those that do not understand and embrace the role technology will play will inevitably become the new dinosaurs of our business – and nobody wants that title.
Technology in music was always gaining prominence. However, this global pandemic has simply sped up the process and forced us to rethink how we are to use it in its entirety. Just like how Napster backed the recorded music industry into a corner in the early 2000s and subsequently birthed iTunes and streaming, we are essentially going through our own moment in history that will be just as monumental for our business. This is an incredibly exciting time for the live industry – if we embrace the change.
The technology we have been using is not a ‘temporary solution’ while we are at home. Livestreaming, gaming platforms, virtual events and a more strategic approach to content is part of how we can rebuild the live industry to be more resilient. It also allows us to create strong revenue streams supporting the foundations of our business and allowing us to survive a future global crisis more efficiently.
It is vital we educate our audiences and be comfortable with exploring new processes as we work towards moving the needle. The aim is to create a new model whereby consumers are willing to pay for music content. Along with that, the existing culture and the attitudes of fans needs to adapt.
It’s time for us to hack the tech out there and make it work in our favour
We have understood how losing a year of business in live music has affected so many of us in these unprecedented times. From venues and festivals struggling to artist revenue decreasing, and thus having an adverse effect on managers, agents and promoters. And not forgetting – and most importantly – our incredible touring crews, who work so hard, day in and day out, on the road, away from their families, and are now suddenly unable to provide. I truly believe that technology can help change this.
We cannot be scared of failing. Jimmy Iovine once said: “Turn fear into a tailwind.” This is a scary time, but you and only you can decide how you move forward. I urge you to innovate and embrace a willingness to learn.
I myself have been trying a variety of things, from delving into TikTok and discovering their live feature to launching #ZoomFest with partners Ronnie Madra, Richie Akiva and Mike Jurkova, hacking at Zoom’s technology and original intent to bring artists and brands closer together for a unique experience that fans can re-stream in its entirety after the show.
Understanding how each tech platform works will be as important to us as agents and promoters as knowing how to cut a deal. Technology moving forward is part of the deal.
It is also our responsibility that we as a live business do not let tech companies dictate our every move. Let’s get behind these businesses and platforms to work closer than ever and to let our voices be heard. By working with them, we can ensure the best options are being created for our artists instead of it being an afterthought. If you wait for technology to fix your problems, it is going to overtake you. Get ahead instead.
Please remember we are not on pause permanently and change is a part of life, whether you like it or not. Technology is going to constantly evolve, so we know change is coming, while artists’ attitudes will continue to grow in terms of what they expect or how they want to run their business. That is a fact. We are only at the beginning – it hasn’t even started yet.
We are not on pause permanently – and change is a part of life, whether you like it or not
As an entire music industry, we will see much change in the rest of our careers everywhere, from streaming to how record deals are done to how audiences and artists want to experience music. Side note: if Joe Rogan can get a $100 million deal in place with Spotify for his podcast, you now things are about to get very interesting.
We need to learn and understand that the comfort zones we have been in for years in this industry stop now, and if we want to have the privilege of working with incredible artists we need to go back to the drawing board with an open mind.
My hope is that this article serves as a springboard and wake-up call to anybody who reads it. Start today and experiment and discuss. What could work well for your artist or festival? What does each platform do? How can content be monetised and add value to the audience? Where and how to brands fit in this equation?
In the spirit of us all working together as an industry and looking forward to a boom in the live industry, I have shared some examples for everyone to dive in, as well as a list of useful platforms and streams to check out to help you get started with this process.
Time for us to hack the tech out there and make it work in our favour. This will be our legacy.
Some things I have seen over the recent months that have worked well:
Yungblud: I highly recommend you check out his online TV show if you haven’t already and take note of the platform, the comments and the overall engagement. This artist is doing a great job leading the front during this time and authentically connecting with his audience.
Travis Scott x Fortnite: This incredible experience is one to check out.
Post Malone x Nirvana: I personally loved this stream because it was accessible to all and the songs of Nirvana are familiar to all of us. The editing was also on point.
Lewis Capaldi x Dice: Lewis did a great acoustic show via Dice which resulted in sales that could easily fill an arena, and proved the model of paying for content with his audience.
A guide of what is on offer to get you started in a constantly evolving world.
Beyond the basics – YouTube Live, Facebook Live and Instagram Live – I recommend checking out:
What it is: A livestreaming and virtual meet-and-greet platform.
Advantages: It is the only platform to effectively run live streams and virtual meet-and-greets in a flexible manner, allowing you to capitalise on VIP.
Where to find it: loopedlive.com
What it is: The leading digital ticketing platform, with the recently launched Dice TV.
Advantages: Strong database and direct relationships with venues and festivals.
Where to find it: dice.fm/tv
What it is: An immersive virtual environment available to access for free.
Advantages: You can literally create your own venue, branded event and concert within Sansar and charge for tickets, merch and more to generate income. An incredible platform to delve into. Recommend you check out what they are doing with Shangri-La at Glastonbury this year.
Where to find it: sansar.com
What it is: An online video game available to download for free.
Advantages: This really applies to a particular audience and can be very powerful, as we have seen from the performances of Marshmello, Travis Scott and more.
Where to find it: fortnite.com
What it is: Enables you to ticket your livestreams.
Advantages: Great livestreaming platform from the US.
Where to find it: veeps.com
What it is: Jimmy Iovine-backed ticketed livestreaming platform.
Advantages: Early days but I am loving the lay-out of the stream with chat boxes.
Where to find it: momenthouse.com
What it is: Another livestreaming platform enabling you to ticket your livestream.
Advantages: No performance is recorded or archived so all you see is live.
Where to find it: stageit.com
What it is: A ticketing experience through text message.
Advantages: Follow your favourite artists’ profiles and get alerts via text when they announce a show near you.
Where to find it: seated.com
What it is: A live streaming service popular with gamers, but everyone is on it now. Owned by Amazon.
Advantages: Huge audiences on Twitch so engagement can be high with the right event.
Where to find it: twitch.tv
What is it: TikTok is an incredible social media app based on video.
Advantages: Two main advantages in my opinion are firstly that the algorithm works in your favour, meaning content is more likely to be seen, and secondly you can go live. Music is also a key component of TikTok.
Where to find it: tiktok.com
Read part two of this three-part series, which focuses on the opportunities and positives for the live industry presented by the coronavirus, here.
Embracing the new normal: Now what?
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