Livestreamed shows here to stay, finds academic study
New research into livestreamed concerts, funded by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council, has found artists are overwhelmingly positive about the power of reaching new audiences through virtual shows, even post-pandemic.
The research, led by Middlesex University and King’s College London, also offers insight into fan experiences of and expectations for livestreamed events and detailed advice on the technical and legal aspects of livestreaming.
The findings of the research project, which surveyed nearly 1,500 musicians and fans in the UK, include:
- 90% of musicians and 92% of fans agree livestreaming will in future be a successful tool to reach audiences unable or unwilling to go to physical venues. Over two thirds of those surveyed agreed livestreaming will remain an important part of the landscape after the pandemic
- 72% of live music fans and 74% of musicians agree that livestreamed performances should be paid for. In addition, 62% of fans say the cost of paywalls for livestreamed shows aren’t a barrier. 78% of fans would be prepared to pay for a livestreamed show by an artist who is offering some other livestreamed content for free
- 95% of fans say emotional engagement from the artist during livestreamed concerts is important to them. 82% agreed that performers acknowledging individuals’ presence in the audience during a live stream made them feel connected
For their research, investigators also interviewed four concert promoters and an industry charity, and invited 200 music venues to send out the survey. Project partners included the Musicians’ Union, the Incorporated Society of Musicians, Music Venue Trust and promoter Serious.
The findings, however, conflict with a recent survey by trade body LIVE which found just 25% of fans will continue to engage with live streams after the pandemic period.
Over two thirds of those surveyed agreed livestreaming will remain an important part of the landscape after the pandemic
The project’s principal investigator, Middlesex University senior lecturer in music business and arts management Julia Haferkorn, says: “There were numerous comments from attenders unable to visit physical venues, even in non-pandemic times, expressing their appreciation of the availability of livestreamed concerts. Attenders also expressed an appreciation for being able to watch concerts by artists from other countries.”
“The most interesting insight from our research is the important role that livestreaming plays in giving music fans who suffer from social anxiety or other health-related issues access to live music performance,” adds study co-author Brian Kavanagh, lecturer in digital innovation at King’s College London.
Another co-author, pianist and Middlesex University lecturer in popular music Sam Leak, comments: “Our research has highlighted how important it is for audience members to be able to communicate with, and feel connected to, each other and the musicians performing. As a performer, this finding is interesting to me not only because it impacts my livestreaming practice, but also because it could well enhance the experience of my audiences in physical venues.”
The full report, which was published this morning (12 May), is available from www.livestreamingmusic.uk.
This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.
Research project looks into economics of live streams
A research project by two British universities has been awarded funding to investigate the monetisation of livestreaming concerts.
The outcome of the project, by Middlesex University and King’s College London, is a report for artists featuring guidelines on all aspects of livestreaming concerts, which will be published in April this year. Project partners include the Musicians’ Union, the Incorporated Society of Musicians, Music Venue Trust and jazz promoter Serious.
As part of the research, a survey investigating participants’ experiences and expectations of livestreamed concerts has been set up. The survey is aimed at both musicians and concertgoers, and participants do not need to have watched or performed in a live stream to fill in the survey. The survey will be live until 24 February 2021 and can be accessed via this link.
The research is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, as part of UK Research and Innovation’s rapid response to Covid-19. The aim of the project is to enable musicians to use monetised live streams as an additional income source to make up for loss of earnings during, and following, on from Covid-19 related lockdowns and restrictions. Further information can be found on the project website, livestreamingmusic.uk.
The project is led by Julia Haferkorn, senior lecturer at Middlesex University and former artistic director of the British Composer Awards. Other team members are Middlesex lecturer and jazz pianist, Sam Leak, and King’s College academic and classical guitarist, Brian Kavanagh.
“We want to better understand the logic of the economics that define online streaming models”
Haferkorn says: “The vast majority of musicians have been hit very hard financially by the pandemic. We are hoping that our report will make it easier for musicians to use monetised live streams as an additional income source.”
“The internet is the Wild West when it comes to monetising music,” comments Leak. “With this project I hope we will be able to provide the facts and figures necessary to help musicians to operate in this new and potentially intimidating performance format.”
“We want to better understand the logic of the economics that define online streaming models. This includes questions such as how musicians are generating income from online events, and [whether] this income compensating is for loss of earnings during Covid-19,” adds Brian Kavanagh.
“By engaging professional musicians, we intend to identify the potential barriers they face as they attempt to reimagine relationships with audiences in an online world in which it is hugely challenging to recreate the atmosphere of a live concert”.
More about the project can be found on the The project is led by .