With nations forced to restrict citizen movements due to the CCP coronavirus outbreak, many music concerts had to be canceled or postponed to a later date. Some organizers have suffered losses as a consequence. However, a few music artists and groups have begun exploring livestreaming options as a new revenue source.
“I think right now anything that can take our minds off of our current reality is a blessing… If there is a way for artists to monetize [online performances], I’m sure we will see that happening… Any opportunity to reach a larger audience is something I’m sure any artist might consider,” Gena Greher, a professor and interim chairperson of the University of Massachusetts Lowell’s music department, said to CNBC.
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British pop singer Emma McGann had scheduled a tour in the U.S. from April to June. Realizing that the shows would have to be canceled, McGann decided to experiment with livestreaming and announced a new hybrid touring format. A ticket will not only give a person access to her live performance, but also a Virtual Tour Pass that will allow ticket holders a 360-degree point of view of the show online.
In addition, they will also gain access to all previous livestreamed performances as well as other perks like merchandise discounts. Revenue from the sale of the Virtual Tour Pass has already managed to recoup the financial losses resulting from canceling the North American tour.
Famous artists like John Legend, Keith Urban, and Chris Martin of Coldplay have been streaming virtual concerts on social media to entertain people during the lockdown. Legend and Martin have teamed up with a nonprofit organization for a virtual concert series to encourage people to practice social distancing.
U2’s Bono debuted a brand new song during a Facebook livestream. Keith Urban performed live online for 20 minutes. Though all these livestreams were free and not intended to generate any revenue for the performer, they could act as a test case for virtual concerts that could become a major part of the concert industry in the future.
In fact, livestreaming concerts could eventually become part of streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus, HBO Max, and so on. Livestreaming service providers are already reporting an uptick in their client base and revenue.
Stageit, a paid concert streaming company, has seen its show count rise from around 25 upcoming shows to over 200.
Stressed out platforms
With people watching online videos and music to kill time during the coronavirus lockdown, streaming services are seeing a never before traffic. Many services have been forced to dial back the streaming quality due to such massive demand. YouTube announced that it was temporarily throttling video quality globally to just standard definition.
In India, which is currently under a 21-day national lockdown, streaming services have suspended high-definition services. “It was unanimously agreed that as an exceptional measure, all companies will immediately adopt measures, including temporarily defaulting HD and ultra-HD streaming to SD content or offering only SD content, at bitrates no higher than 480p on cellular networks. These voluntary measures will be in effect until April 14,” a release from the digital industry stated, as reported by The New Indian Express.
In the U.S. digital movie retailer, FandangoNow reported its biggest-ever weekend as people sat in their homes and streamed movies with their families. People were willing to pay rates as high as US$19.99 for new rentals like The Hunt, Emma, and The Invisible Man.