Subscription models and small venues the future
AS ARTISTES and musicians try to manage the situation brought on by COVID-19’s stranglehold on the world and its economy, in the interim, many have resorted to hosting live-stream events. But that only succeeds to a point. Performers retain their audience’s attention, but continue to lose out on potential revenue earnings. So, as live music events around the world reschedule their dates deep into 2021, it has become clearer that there needs to be a more permanent, income-generating solution for the time being.
That answer is on social media.
Daddi Barnz, director at Soul Circle Music/Chronixx Music Group, who has been paying keen attention to shifts in the global music economy, believes that Silicon Valley reactions could create income streams for all the players whose livelihood depends on performing for masses.
According to Digital Music News, streaming platforms like Twitch saw major growth in the past two months, as musicians who lost work during the outbreak took to the gamer-dominated site for refuge. Facebook will respond to that migration by making changes to monetise its own live-stream platform.
While it has not yet been announced how the Facebook Live payment system will work or what commission rates may be, Barnz opines that the reggae industry should utilise the monetised platform, particularly disc jockeys who have sustained online parties since “outside stop keep,” with the only cost of admission being a strong Wi-Fi connection.
“I believe it should help them to access the new ‘entrance fee’ to virtual parties on Facebook to give another income stream. The DJs have copyright issues. A lot of them have been posting, ‘I am not the owner of this copyright material, I have no intentions of infringing.’ I’ve seen that on over 100 deejays’ captions, right beside their money-pull-up PayPal or CashApp tags,” Barnz observed.
Currently, donation links are live on streams that benefit non-profit groups. “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,” an announcement from Facebook reads.
Still, that solution can only be temporary, especially for musicians, vocalists, roadies, and the sound and light engineers whose fulfilment comes from standing in the flesh, on a stage, connecting to a live, loud and applauding audience.
As he keeps watch, Barnz does not anticipate that concerts and other such gatherings will become viable income streams in the near future. As it relates to show postponements and cancellations, “I’ve seen where what was previously rescheduled for late summer and fall (September to October), all of those shows got rescheduled, and are starting to get cancelled now,” he told The Gleaner.
Dates are being pushed further back, into 2021. Locally, we’ve seen such a decision taken with Joe Bogdanovich, owner of the Reggae Sumfest brand.
Based on discussions with international contacts and his own observation of the shifting industry, Barnz suggests a renewed approach that engages roadies, stage hands, production crews and all others whose success depended on sold-out clubs, arenas or stadium concerts. To eventually reintroduce live music performances, promoters will have to radically alter their approach. “Multiple nights, 100-person capacity, small venues will be a norm for now, going forward,” Barnz said.
This suggestion comes as he sees European territories begin easing their COVID-19 cautionary instructions bit by bit. He advises that other music industry professionals be watchful as well, noting that Jamaica could take cues from how the international community initiates their bounce back into action.
“I’ve gotten words that barbershops in Portugal reopened this week. One of my agents said he went for a haircut, but he had to wear a mask and take social-distancing precautionary measures. We, as agents, management or representatives, should study the market daily. Changes occur by the second. We will have to assess more often,” he said.