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Hollow performance: How livestreaming can help musicians survive beyond Covid-19

The coronavirus pandemic has certainly delivered a crushing blow to the music arena. Almost overnight, a once-thriving industry has been brought to its knees. The enforcement of lockdown regulations and social distancing guidelines has seen almost all live entertainment events being shut down, resulting in billions in lost revenue and leaving many musicians wondering where their next paycheck will come from.
Hollow performance: How livestreaming can help musicians survive beyond Covid-19

The current environment has led to a host of alternative measures being offered, such as livestreaming concerts. Artists are now moving from the live arena to the online arena to perform for their adoring fans. These alternatives will likely set the stage for a new reality. Even as restrictions are lifted, it will be a long time before the music industry reverts to completely live entertainment. And as those live performances do return, it promises to look very different from anything that we’ve seen before.

The rock n’ roll truth

As one would expect, the global music industry has taken a huge financial hit, most notably in the live concert space. At the time of writing this, more than 200 of the world’s most prominent music events, conferences and awards ceremonies have either been postponed or cancelled, leading to losses of more than $10bn.

The local music entertainment industry has suffered a similar fate. Over the past few months, we’ve seen events such as the Cape Town Jazz Festival, Afrikaburn and Bushfire Festival either postponed or cancelled outright due to the effects of Covid-19. As a result, the South African music industry, once projected to reach R1.7bn by 2021, now teeters on the brink of devastation. The situation has become so desperate that many musicians have turned to the government for financial assistance during this period.

So, what are the artists doing?

The answer is plenty. Many artists have not been content to sit back and wait for things to get better, instead preferring to channel their creative energy through other mediums.

  • Music Lessons: Ever wanted to learn how to play the guitar like a pro? Well, that opportunity has finally arrived. Several top musicians have started offering music lessons to the public. For example, renowned blues guitarist Dan Patlansky recently started offering online guitar lessons via Skype. Music lessons present a wonderful opportunity for fans to meet and engage with their favourite artists. It also serves as a great diversified revenue stream for musicians.

  • Social media live streaming events: In an age of isolation and social distancing, many people have turned to social media to stay in contact with friends and family. Artists have also taken to using these platforms as a means of staying in touch with their fans. Musicians and bands have opted for online livestreaming shows via social media platforms such as Facebook Live and Instagram Live. While offering these kinds of performances are good for exposure and fan engagement, the reality is that these are free shows, so artists don’t earn anything from them. As many smaller bands and musicians search for ways to earn an income, this may not be the best solution.

  • Creating and collaborating: Some artists have used the enforced downtime to write and produce new music. Others have sought to virtually collaborate with other artists on tracks. Pushing out new and fresh content is a great way to keep fans engaged.

  • Crowdfunding for creatives: Many artists have initiated crowdfunding such as Patreon and Back-a-Buddy. These platforms allow fans to financially support artists and musicians through these tough times. This idea may work well in conjunction with livestreamed performances on social media. Instead of simply playing for free, artists could use their live performances to ask fans for support.

Performing live, but virtually

As live concerts around the globe continue to be postponed or cancelled, many artists have turned to the virtual space. Musicians and artists are increasingly offering paid online livestreaming concerts for fans to enjoy. Live event tickets are generally sold through a third-party ticketing organisation and, once purchased, individuals can log in and enjoy the sights and sounds of their favourite bands. When executed properly, the virtual concert concept can be tailored to create an extraordinary, engaging fan experience. This also reduces the costs associated with planning and promoting a large scale physical event. A great example of the virtual concert concept was the Global Citizen ‘Together At Home’ Concert Series. This initiative saw live performances from various artists to raise money to combat the current Covid-19 crisis.

However, for all its promise, livestreaming concerts also present certain drawbacks. Firstly, the cost of offering tickets through a third-party may be quite steep, effectively eating into thin profit margins. Secondly, there always exists the possibility of one live event ticket being used by more than one person. As third-party ticketing companies sell tickets to a live event, which takes place on a separate site, one person might buy a ticket and share the link with a few friends, allowing them to gain access without paying the price of admission. Because of this artists very rarely receive full value of their virtual concerts.

Streaming to the marketplace

With livestreaming concerts becoming more commonplace, many organisers may be wondering how to offer the best experience while getting full value for their content. UBU International has the perfect solution for artists. Musicians can sell tickets directly to thousands of customers, without needing to use a third-party ticketing company. UBU has ensured that live event tickets cannot be transferred, so artists can rest assured that only paying customers can enjoy their content. Our technology makes it possible for musicians and artists to livestream directly from the platform. Content will remain available for streaming and artists can continue to sell tickets until they decide to take the content down. A great example is Francois Van Coke’s upcoming event where he will be performing live, as well as streaming the event.

Van Coke Wallet presents: Francois van Coke Unplugged in Pretoria - powered by UBU
Van Coke Wallet presents: Francois van Coke Unplugged in Pretoria - powered by UBU

Francois Van Coke has teamed up with UBU International to bring you the Van Coke Wallet mobile app...

Issued by UBU International 26 Nov 2020

And we’re not stopping there. Customers enjoy a seamless payment option through the mobile payment wallet. Artists do not have to worry about arranging their payment solution – UBU takes care of it all. We’re here to help artists get the most out of their content!

The coronavirus crisis has forever altered the face of the music industry especially when it comes to artists performing live. While there is hope that things will eventually return to normal, we are a long way off from returning to the sights and sounds of a live concert. Because of this, artists need to embrace the digital space as their new stage. By offering fresh content such as live virtual performances, musicians and artists can stay connected to their loyal fans while also generating a much-needed income stream. Using virtual marketplaces like UBU International can help artists get the most out of their livestreaming performances. Artists are exposed to a massive customer base to which they can market their tickets and other products. By selling tickets through UBU’s marketplace on any of the hundreds of mobile wallet apps, artists and musicians eliminate the need for third-party ticket brokers, allowing them to retain more of their earnings. This is exactly the type of support artists need to grow their brand, through the Covid crisis and beyond.

9 Dec 2020 11:07