Beyond the raw data and consumption research surrounding the burgeoning world of live streamed music, how do artists and fans feel about it? Bandsintown, the go-to platform for live and streaming music discovery, recently surveyed thousands of fans and hundreds of artists to track just that.
Bandsintown has an abiding interest in live streaming's evolution. The platform dove into live streaming when live music was put on pause worldwide this March, as a way to advocate for artists and engage fans. Since then, it has seen more than 43,000 live streams by 14,000 artists promoted on its platform, as well as having hosted more than 530 artists on its own Bandsintown LIVE channel with 30mil cumulative unique viewers. A leader in the space, its data have been cited by major industry and business analysts, including Billboard, Pollstar, and GoldmanSachs.
"While streaming is not a substitute for playing live, artists say it's good for them in many ways," explains Bandsintown managing partner Fabrice Sergent, "including strengthening their connection with fans, earning much-needed revenue, and building a global audience. We have led by example to encourage artists and fans to explore live streaming and take it seriously."
The survey findings show steady, healthy growth in live stream creation. 75% of artists have live streamed a performance this year, up from 45% in April. 30% are planning to live stream at least once a week in the coming months with 70% hoping to increase the frequency of their live streams.
Fans are embracing this new way to connect with their favorite performers. 73% of respondents have tuned in to a live stream, up from a mere 33.8% before the pandemic. Many of these livestreams featured emerging or mid-career artists rather than super stars: 75% of the livestreams promoted via its platform were for artists with fewer than 10,000 followers on Bandsintown.
"Live streaming as a medium feels very intimate and unstaged the way many artists chose to approach it," reflects Sergent. "Fans feel an authentic connection while getting the same excitement and pleasure of hearing their favorite music performed live as they might at an in-person show. There is a lot of space for innovation and creativity, but the connection will always be essential."
Though accelerated by quarantine, the growth of live streaming promises to shift the way many fans interact with their favorite musicians' live performances, even after in-person concerts return. More than 60% of fans surveyed said they planned to continue watching live streams, even once venues reopen. In-person live shows remain powerfully appealing to many fans, however, and 66% of them responded that they were willing to consider attending a live event, even without a vaccine or cure for COVID-19.
"Live streams have become part of people's musical lives, and that will hold true after the pandemic has wound down,"says Sergent. "We foresee a future after lockdowns and limited in-person shows, where fans may choose to stream some highly produced concerts, to spend time watching more informal streamed moments of other artists, and attend shows in person for artists who truly matter to them. There will be a mix of options and choices, and it will open up new opportunities for both music lovers and musicians."
One fascinating gap between fan interest and artist implementation, however, appears when the survey touches on monetization. A lot more fans were eager to pay for a live stream experience than artists may realize. A growing number of fans are willing to buy access, give tips, or snap up merch during live streams. 80% of fans surveyed wanted to support live streaming artists this way, up by 15% from April's survey. Artists are just starting, however, to offer these opportunities: Only around 22% of artists have asked fans to pay for access or contribute tips.
"Here's an interesting case where responses seem to show that far more people would pay in some way to enjoy live streams than artists might suspect," Sergeant comments. "We at Bandsintown have focused on building tools to make this aspect easier for artists to implement. The market is ripe for a more highly monetized approach to this medium."
Bandsintown Livestreaming Attitude Survey at a glance
Fans started watching--and don't intend to stop
- 33.8% of fans had watched a live stream before COVID
- By August 2020 : 73%
- 60% of them plan to continue watching live stream when in-person events return.
Artists jumped into livestreaming--and want to keep going
- In April, only 45% of the artists had performed live streams,
- By August 2020, 75% did live streams
- 70% plan to increase the number of live streams in the next 6 months
Fans are willing to pay, something artists need to understand
- 80% of the fans are willing to pay in August 2020, up from 70% in April
- Fans are excited to pay and support artists at a time when over 80% of the streams are free
Survey was conducted in August 2020. Responses were received from 5,500 fans and 450 artists.