How to Make Money From Virtual Concerts
The coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on the global economy and one of the most impacted sectors is the live events industry – the very industry that brings your favorite artists and idols to your city. Based on a survey of 5,600 self-employed individuals who work in this sector, 71% of them are deeply concerned if they could pay their bill while 46% of those surveyed already felt the impact of COVID-19 from loss of income. Some predict the outbreak will sustain itself for 6 months, while others fear it will last longer.
Although some artists have gone live online by running their own little virtual concerts, many of these free online events are merely casual live streams that do not do justice to the millions of dollars paid by fans to attend the actual offline version. As what they always say, “Experience is everything!”
In order to sustain everyone who makes live events as part of their livelihood, there’s a critical need to find effective ways to derive actual income from online concerts. Here are some practical suggestions while we wait for the virus storm to clear.
Don’t Think Of Virtual Concerts As Concerts
The very common sense that most of us would think of is by wrapping the entire offline concert and dump it into an online stream. Do not fall into this premise. Digital media experience is uniquely different than the experience of attending a concert.
Remember that the revenue derived from online events can never be on par with the revenue from an actual concert, just like paying for cable TV to watch Super Bowl in the comfort of your home is a lot cheaper than buying a ticket to the actual event. The same goes for the cost as well. It’s a lot cheaper to run a live online show but this doesn’t mean you should perform in your pajamas in your backyard. In order to get your fans to bridge that penny gap (the willingness to pay for an online service), you need to deliver sufficient value to make them want to pay.
Online streaming does offer many advantages such as fan interaction and beyond the stage experience that artists should exploit.
Interaction Is Key
Ever wonder how BTS took the entertainment world by storm? The straight-forward answer is via social media. The actual fact is they took advantage of what social media could offer – a channel for their diehard fans to interact with them (all the way down to a personal level) and offering behind the scenes access to their everyday lives. You should do the same for your online concert. Here’re some ideas.
- Interact with your audience via live chat. YouTube live stream comes built-in with this. Answer their chats, comments and even let them make song requests. An example would be, “The first person who could tell me the name of my dog gets to make a song request.” If you’re too busy talking and singing, get your lighting guy to reply the chats. I’m assuming there’d be less need for lighting for a live stream concert say in your own studio.
- Bring them for a live tour around your home or studio. You can plan on this. Draw the line between what is private and what is accessible to your fans. But make sure you tidy up before you shooting live.
- Pay homage to your crew. Introduce your entire tour team to your audience.
Run a Fundraising Drive
Instead of asking your fans to pay for tickets, turn it into a donation drive. A jazz band called Skerik Band made more money from their virtual concert than they would have made in their last three shows on their tour.
A bunch of Nashville musicians took matters into their own hands by running a virtual concert called Corona Concert No. 1 on Facebook. Donations are done via their GoFundMe page. To date, they’ve raised over $5,000 out of their $10,000 target.
Consider Different Business Models
Monetizing is always difficult for online services and that includes online events. However, some have succeeded in this area such as the thousands of YouTubers around the world who are monetizing from ads and paid subscriptions like Patreon. Popular online gamers are even making a living live-streaming their gameplays on Twitch.
In South Korea, a famous online streaming platform called Afreecatv offers individuals to live stream basically anything and be rewarded with virtual balloons that they could convert to actual cash (minus a percentage taken by the platform). According to Afreecatv 2019 financial report, they paid almost $20 million in commissions in that year alone to all their online streamers, popularly known as BJs (broadcasting jockeys). If you get lucky, you could get $100,000 worth of virtual balloons from an adoring fan!
Focus on Growing Your Pre-Sale or Waiting List For Your Upcoming Album
If you’re releasing a new album soon, it’s fitting to use your virtual show to get fans to sign-up on your waiting list or pre-sale list. Anyway, it’s only a click away! Offer some previews to your upcoming album, just like what Bono did.
Get More Ticket Sales For Your Rescheduled Concert
Looking at the bright side of things, since your concerts have been postponed, now is your chance to sell more tickets to your rescheduled events. Now, you got plenty of time to sell, sell and sell. Continue to remind your online audience about the rescheduled dates and remind them to remind their friends that you are coming to their cities for a big visit soon!
Now, let’s just say there’s a fan who is desperate to attend your postponed concert but couldn’t get their friend, parent, or spouse to go together. Well, perhaps you could say a few personal words online to change their mind. And make sure you ask that fan to share that very clip of you urging their partner to attend. YouTube lets you copy a link to jump into a specific point in time in your video. Your effort could go a long way.
Split Your Online Concert Into Different Experiences
Online concerts should not be just about the songs and music. It can also be about the experience you want to share with your fans. You could consider having different sections in your 2-hour long live stream, where in some intervals, you could be interacting with your fans or bring them around your favorite places. How about meeting your cat or family. Take them out for a spin in your Ferrari. Go creative!
Make It Personal
The last concert I went to was a Bon Jovi concert which I felt was nothing different than watching a pre-recorded video of the band playing on stage. The entire concert was short of a live experience that I was expecting. I supposed artists could try to bring their live performances down to a more personal level. Yes, I am no way close to being a rockstar although I was part of three rock bands during my college years but as a fan, I would surely appreciate little personal gestures that my idols are willing to do for me. For example, liking or retweeting posts by your fans does go a long way. Artists could apply the same personal touch in virtual concerts too.
This article was first published on IQ Magazine website.