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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 .

 


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Study to examine viewer reactions to streamed gigs

A new research project will examine the physiological reactions of viewers during various streamed concert formats to determine which is closest to the effect of a gig experienced live.

The study proposal states: “In times of the corona pandemic, digital formats are the only way for cultural workers to reach an audience at all and continue to retain them. However, which offers work and which ones could actually be future-proof has so far been largely unexplored…How the concert industry can continue to assert itself as a form of culture and a social forum under the rapid pressure of digital change is a topical and essential question for artists, organisers and cultural policy.”

The international study, entitled Digital Concert Experience, will see participants watch an exclusive concert film of Alban Gerhardt & Friends string quintet performing works by Ludwig van Beethoven, Brett Dean and Johannes Brahms in six different streaming variants while experts monitor the effect on the virtual audience.

The six streaming variants include: an on-demand stream; a ‘social event’ stream where audience members can digitally interact during the break and afterwards; a ‘know more’ stream accompanied by a conversation with composer Brett Dean; a virtual reality stream; a ‘digital house concert’, intended to be watched in-person with others; and a stream in the laboratory where researchers will collect physiological data.

“Which [digital formats] work and which ones could actually be future-proof has so far been largely unexplored”

The research project is led by Zeppelin University (ZU) in Germany, which previously conducted a similar large-scale study, entitled Experimental Concert Research, measuring the concert experience by conducting preliminary and follow-up surveys, measurements of heart rate and skin conductance, movements and emotional states from participants.

“Earlier studies have already shown that study participants smile significantly more frequently at live concerts and have stronger physiological reactions than during concert recordings – now we want to find out which virtual formats are closest to the effect of the concert experienced live and to what extent streamed concerts become a format of its own,” says professor and doctor Melanie Wald-Fuhrmann, director at the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics in Germany.

The Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics will also be involved in the experiment, alongside the University of Bern in Switzerland and the University of York in the UK. The project is in partnership with the German Music Council and is funded by the Volkswagen Foundation and the Aventis Foundation.

The main study will take place on 15 January 2021 and is accepting volunteers now.

 


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