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Will more musicians start charging for live stream events?

Holy Ship 2020
Photo Credit: Rukes.com

After weeks of gluttony, the cornucopia of free, live stream concerts might finally run dry. A new announcement from Facebook has everyone wondering: Will musicians start charging for live stream events?

The actual announcement from Facebook barely hints at an upcoming feature to charge for streaming events. In a larger post about Messenger Rooms, Facebook announced the upcoming integration of Facebook Live and Facebook Events. They also mentioned, off-handedly, their plan to add the ability for Pages to charge for access to such events.

To support creators and small businesses, we plan to add the ability for Pages to charge for access to events with Live videos on Facebook – anything from online performances to classes to professional conferences.

– Facebook in their latest announcement

Does Facebook really want to support creators and small businesses? There’s money to be made off of live streams, and it looks like Facebook wants a bigger piece of the pie.

A multitude of platforms already exist for monetizing live streams

Competing platforms already exist, from YouTube to Zoom to Twitch to StageIt to legendary R&B singer Eryka Badu’s latest venture. All of these platforms allow for monetization in one form or another.

YouTube Partners rely heavily on ad revenue. With Zoom, creators can charge for a link to their stream. On Twitch, channels collect donations or “cheers” during streams. Even for platforms like StageIt, which allows ticket sales to online events, most artists charge on a “pay what you can basis.”

Badu’s series comes closest to a true ticketed event, as she started by charging a $1 “entrance” fee. Increasing prices to 2$ and then 3$, we’re still far from a standard ticket price. The results?

I go by what the people want — they want to support me and they want me to charge more because they say it’s worth more.

– Eryka Badu in an interview with Variety

Popular streaming platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Zoom, and even non-video platforms like Spotify have come under fire for shady practices such as excessive data collection, manipulative ad campaigns, and notoriously underpaying creators.

Niche concert streaming company’s may provide a better alternative to social media platforms

Niche concert streaming company’s like StageIt and Badu’s future company might provide an all-around more ethical alternative. Not to mention, running a live stream via social media leaves artists with next to no technical support.

In 2018, punk rocker Dave Hause used StageIt for a concert. He recounts a phone call with StageIt CEO after experiencing some technical difficulties.

He said, ‘Look, we’re a small company dedicated to artists. Facebook and Instagram don’t give a damn about artists. They only care about money. Give us another shot, we believe in what you do.’

– Dave Hause in an interview with Variety

The future of ticketed online events seems inevitable as quarantine stretches on. Local music venues and nightclubs are already in danger of closing. When quarantine regulations finally begin lifting, concerts and festivals will be the last industry to return to normal. When that time finally comes, old brick and mortar venues may no longer exist.

While hosting live streams may keep artists afloat – for a while, anyways – Badu points out that ticketed events will keep her entire team employed.

I couldn’t just put a phone up on a tripod and do a livestream on one of the social platforms, because that would just feed me: I had to figure out a way to keep morale up for all [my] musicians and techs and engineers and keep all of us employed.

– Eryka Badu in an interview with Variety

As artists begin charging for live events, fans will expect to see higher quality productions. This exciting new limb of the music industry may create new opportunities for musicians as well as visual artists and video production professionals.

More and more artists will likely charge for live stream events, and maybe that’s a good thing

In conclusions, artists have already begun charging for live stream events, and the trend will only grow as savings run dry. Social media platforms may fall to wayside as niche concert streaming platforms gain headway.

Higher quality productions will provide a whole new experience for fans, with trustworthy streams, interactive elements, and creative problem solving. Perhaps, we will see a marriage between the out-dated music video and the up-and-coming online concert.

Would you pay for a live stream event? Let us know in our comments section on Facebook, and Twitter!

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