What do you picture when you think about live music? For many of us it will be the sounds, the visuals, the stage. That raw sense of emotion sharing a live experience alongside tens, hundreds or even thousands of like-minded fans. And in the wake of the pandemic, it’s also a feeling that has been sorely missed in recent months as the live music industry has ground to a halt, closing down venues like bars and clubs and postponing tours and festivals. For fans it’s another casualty of social isolation, removing traditional expressions of culture and escape, but for artists and the venues that are fast becoming endangered, it’s a crisis.
Traditional touring is under threat
Eighteen months, possibly two years. That’s how long several music business insiders say it may take for the concert and touring business to return to a modicum of normality. On March 12, Live Nation and AEG — two of the world’s largest concert promoters, with some 50,000 shows a year — both halted all of their 2020 arena tours. Club tours are also being cancelled — the institutions that incubate local bands and host touring artists, most of whom generate the majority of their income from live shows.
The reality facing the music industry is stark. Live touring is a crucial source of income for musicians and can often make up over 75% of their total earnings. Without live gigs, musicians are losing out on a whole range of revenue opportunities, from ticketing and merchandise to sponsorship and advertising. It is threatening the whole commercial model of the industry and, for many, is making a music career no longer sustainable.
If there is one silver lining, the coronavirus lockdown has at least given musicians the chance to work on new material. Sammy Hagar and the Rolling Stones both released COVID-era singles while Lady Gaga, John Legend, The Weeknd and others released new albums. Journey, Megadeth, Nine Inch Nails, Alice Cooper and Def Leppard are just a few others who have used the stay-at-home time to work on new music.
eMusic Live — reinventing live performances
They say necessity is the mother invention. E-commerce, teleconferencing, cashless payments… trends are being accelerated and embraced at a pace unthinkable even at this time last year. And the music industry is no different.
For artists who can no longer tour but still want to connect with their fans, social media has played a massive role in enabling virtual experiences, allowing all of us to enjoy music this year with online concerts and fan Q&As. We’ve seen wide variation in experience, where some of these livestreams have taken place in a studio using a full tour band, and others have been low-key acoustic renditions, even coming direct from artists’ front rooms.
While platforms such as Facebook, YouTube Live, Twitch and Instagram Live have made this possible, the licensing and monetization structure around livestreams is still catching up. Artists’ ability to monetize these performances is restricted and fan reach is controlled by algorithms and agreements. Recent research from eMusic reveals that almost half of music fans have viewed performances livestreamed free of charge since the start of the pandemic. It’s clear that livestreaming has mass appeal, however, when it comes to making up the income lost from touring, these events are barely scratching the surface.
Step forward eMusic Live. Inspired by the need on both sides of the market, we sought to build a solution that offers the best of both worlds — the ease and accessibility of a livestreaming platform combined with the immersive quality and commercial opportunities of traditional gigs.
eMusic Live is a first-of-its-kind platform for artists to stage monetized virtual concerts in a single end-to-end platform. Put simply, this means musicians can earn income as they would from traditional gigs while also opening up whole new revenue streams.
Through the ticketing function, artists can earn admission revenue, which can even be bundled with song or album, or with merchandise. Links to merchandise and collectibles can also be made available, and the performance itself can be fully customized to feature sponsorships from brands and venues that help support artists and function to grow the sponsor’s revenue and reach. Performers can embed streams from YouTube Live, Twitch, Instagram Live or host a show directly on eMusic Live.
The platform, created in partnership with digital music solutions provider 7digital, premiered at the end of the summer with a series of live performances from emerging artists. The series continues in the coming weeks with shows from Duthie, Jordan Tice, Nathan Storey, Dirty Blonde, and ESKOH and more exciting names are coming to eMusic Live very soon.
To join them, check out the platform: www.emusiclive.com
If you’re an artist, sign up here: www.emusiclive.com/#contact