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Livin’ the Stream: Going live to survive

IQ talks to some the pioneers who are establishing livestreaming as a crucial new revenue stream for artists and their teams

By IQ on 01 Sep 2020

Sansar hosted Shangri-La’s Lost Horizon festival

Sansar hosted Shangri-La’s Lost Horizon festival


2020 will forever be known as the year that paused the live music industry worldwide. But it should also be recognised as the point when monetised livestreaming shows became the norm, as artists and fans leveraged technology to connect and get their collective fix of live entertainment.

While online giants such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube have pivoted to deliver much more concert and festival footage, eager entrepreneurs have taken the risk, during lockdown, to launch a number of new platforms and production firms to deliver high-quality broadcasts of live music performances.

IQ talks to some the pioneers who are establishing live streaming as a crucial new outlet for creativity and, potentially, a lasting revenue stream for artists and their teams. First in the spotlight are LiveFrom, Streamyard and Wookey Technologies’ Sansar…


LiveFrom

LiveFrom has operations in the UK (London and Manchester) and the US (Los Angeles, New York and Seattle). Co-founders Alan Rakov and Steve Machin have been working on streaming projects since 2010. In 2020, their focus expanded to create a broader secure-streaming platform, which resulted in the launch of Livefrom.events and its proprietary blockchain-secured StreamingTicket.

Deals
LiveFrom provides a full-service streaming solution to artists on an à-la-carte basis. This allows it to provide a cost-effective suite of services, including ticketing, streaming, production, facilities, hosting, merchandise and marketing. It has three types of fee depending on the needs of the artist, ranging from co-promotion deals to simple per-stream deals.

Successes
LiveFrom has streamed more than 250 performances and events since March 2020, including Dermot Kennedy, 808 State, Maxi Jazz, Rob Da Bank, Hue and Cry, Deaf Havana, Dead Poet Society, Fran Healy, Fatherson, KT Tunstall, Wet Wet Wet, Adamski, Mr Scruff, Idles, Down and Zander Hawley.

Partners
LiveFrom believes in an open distribution model to power its fan-friendly/artist-centric services. Its stream ecosystem works with partners across the technology and service spectrum to deliver the best outcomes for artist and venue clients alongside their fans and customers. With decades of worldwide ticketing experience, the founders have preferred partnerships in place with venues, and with ticketing and marketing services providers.

“Over the last year, we have built relationships with a handful of hosting companies, that means we can offer great value streaming while adding the services and experiences across desktop and mobile platforms that make a difference, including fan engagement, chat and stream commerce,” says Machin.

USP
LiveFrom combines innovative technology with highly experienced artist and ticketing support services throughout all parts of the streaming lifecycle. It offers a full-service streaming platform featuring the unique StreamingTicket, a blockchain-secured access token that integrates the access to, and delivery of, an online or offline event in one engaging and dynamic digital ticket. LiveFrom works directly with artists to create sustainable streaming strategies and deliver unforgettable experiences to fans. It monetises interactive fan experiences according to the artist’s objectives, offering multiple solutions for sales, distribution and non-exclusivity.

Post-Covid future
“We believe streaming is a fundamentally new medium for artists to develop deeper relationships with their fans and expand their reach to new audiences,” says Machin. “Online events and streams will help hasten the return to in-real-life events and will be an integral part of how an artist or venue views their income and activity mix well into the future.”

“Online events … will be an integral part of how an artist or venue views their income and activity mix well into the future”

StreamYard

StreamYard is based in Tualatin, Oregon, and launched in October 2018, born out of its founders’ fascination with live-streaming’s rapid growth in the gaming community. Founders Geige Vandentop and Dan Briggs wanted people who weren’t techy, or who simply didn’t want to deal with the hassle of streaming, to still go live, share their stories and grow their own communities, so they built StreamYard.

Partners
StreamYard has partnered with Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Periscope (Twitter) and Twitch for broadcast distribution. It recommends ViewStub and Eventbrite for live-stream ticketing.

USP
StreamYard makes it easy to create professional live-streams and link the broadcast to social media platforms. StreamYard is also known for its stability.

Successes
Among the highest viewed StreamYard broadcasts to date are Bill Gates, the Lumineers, Rosie O’Donnell, Brian Chesky and Gary Vaynerchuk.

Post-Covid future
StreamYard’s head of marketing, Dana Bentz, says, “Over the last several months, the people who have dived into livestreaming have reaped the benefits of content marketing and it has now become a part of their world. Businesses gain new customers from live-streaming, non-profits find more donors, schools connect with students, entrepreneurs build their brand. The live-streaming industry is only going to grow, even as we slowly begin going back to work.”

“The virtual concert experience will develop and grow to outdo and outperform the traditional concert”

Sansar

Based in San Francisco, California, Sansar was founded by Linden Lab about five years ago and sold to Wookey Technologies in March 2020. Sansar was born out of the desire to create a new virtual platform from the lessons of virtual world Second Life and the imminent rise of VR. The platform has its own proprietary engine to accommodate the massive scale of user- generated content for live events.

All of the company’s events are global, yet originate on the Sansar platform. Its last music festival, for instance, featured more than 70 artists from around the world who filmed their performances on green screen in 12 different locations globally before beaming that data to Sansar. People from more than 100 countries and 1,285 cities participated in the two-day festival.

Partners
Sansar has its own bespoke ticketing system, but the company has also partnered with the likes of Eventbrite, Live Nation and Skiddle to help promote its concerts and festivals. For broadcast distribution, Sansar has worked with Twitch, Facebook Live, YouTube and Beatport.

Deals
Sansar is a free platform where anyone can host their own event. However, clients often choose to build their first virtual custom venue through Sansar Studios, the in-house creative team with dozens of years of experience in building virtual worlds. Once a venue is built, clients can perform there as often as they like, paying a monthly subscription fee. Sansar operates a revenue share model for revenue streams that includes ticket sales, sales of virtual and IRL merchandise, tipping, and sponsorship.

Sansar says it is one of the few platforms with the ability to monetise across multiple revenue streams, boasting the flexibility to bundle albums, offer discount codes, link directly to outside web stores, and so much more. “We can be as creative as our partners want to be!” says the company.

Successes
Sansar says it allows artists to more deeply engage with their fans in a social virtual setting, all the while performing in photorealistic 3D venues. Sansar was built to enable artists and promoters to monetise through ticketing, merchandising, tipping and sponsorship revenues.

Post-Covid future
The company says, “With access to a global market, instead of a specific geographical one, there can be no other choice. While we believe the in-person experience can never be replicated and will always be cherished, we believe the virtual concert experience will develop and grow to outdo and outperform the traditional concert, spreading the love of the music experience to the farthest reaches of the Earth.”

 


Read the full feature in the digital edition of IQ 92. To keep on top of the latest live music industry news, features and insights, subscribe to IQ now


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

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