Today (Aug. 20), Billboard launched the Billboard Pro Spotlight series – Live Music Streaming: The Future is Now. The mini-conference features a handful of different interviews and discussions surrounding the effects of COVID-19 on the live music business, including a Livestreaming Data Deep Dive with Vita Molis from Nielsen Music/MRC Data and Fabrice Sargent from Bandsintown.
In advance of the data-focused panel, Bandsintown conducted their own consumer research with a survey of 450 fans and 5,500 artists. Check out the discussion here and see below for some key takeaways from their livestream research.
Livestreams have been ubiquitous throughout the pandemic – but you've got to know where to look to find them.
Since March 25, more than 43,000 livestream event listings have been added to official Bandsintown artist pages. But that massive total number hasn’t been evenly spread across the artist community, as a whopping 75% of livestreams have been by “buzzing” artists (those with 10,000 or fewer Bandsintown trackers), compared to only 4% by “top” artists (those with 250,001 or more). Stripped of the touring industry’s infrastructure that allows for high production value and the potential to gross millions of dollars each week, arena and stadium headliners have largely held off from embracing livestreams.
The potential to monetize livestreams may even the playing field.
While most streams have been free, the tides may be turning and therefore opening the door for more A-listers to participate. From Veeps to Driift to Facebook’s new paid initiative, platforms are adjusting to the new live music economy, allowing artists to charge for livestreams. And fans are meeting the moment as well – 80% of surveyed consumers said they are willing to pay for livestreams, up 10% from Bandsintown’s previous poll in April.
Livestreaming can scale an artist’s performance from local to global.
While 62% of the livestreams tracked by Bandsintown have been broadcast from the U.S., the format allows a more open, global approach to fan engagement than ever before. Bandsintown’s consumer research says, “They enjoy being able to watch streams from around the world, no longer limited to only bands that stop in their area.”
Artists are getting creative in order to make livestreaming a sustainable part of their careers.
The 43,000 total livestreams recorded on Bandsintown.com came via 14,000 artists, averaging to about three livestreams per artist throughout the last five months. But that ratio may grow in the coming months, as 70% of artists said they plan to increase the number of livestreams they perform over the next 6-12 months. More specifically, 30% of artists said they plan on increasing their livestream frequency to once a week.
It may not be imminent, but the return of traditional concerts will be met with open arms.
Venues, artists, and fans will all need to consider our collective health risk when returning to live events, but given proper safety protocols, 66% of those interviewed by Bandsintown say they would attend a live concert even if there was not a vaccine widely available. That response is essentially identical to the 65%-positive response in their April survey.