INSIGHTS

What are the key most valuable features for a Concert Livestream?

First of all, as a Music fan 1st I have to say that I personally miss the thrill of concerts & summer festivals as most of you do. 

Now, why launching this informal survey to find out what are the most valuable Live-Streamed / Virtual Concerts features? 

Basically because this is my work with TheLynk to capture key innovation & usage trends in the Music field and translate them into actionable intelligence & strategic recommendations for my clients as an advisor. Also because I’ve been interested in that topic for years, starting with a pilot project at EMI in 2006 to livestream concerts from the label venue in Paris through a java mobile app. Back to the Future…

So livestreaming is obviously not new. But COVID19 crisis has dramatically accelerated adoption of this new breed of virtual Live Experience. A new market? A bubble? A threat? 

A lot questions emerge from this spontaneous rise or come-back of livestreaming, as the ecosystem seems not be structured yet from business, legal or even artistic perspectives. 

Here, with this quick survey which I shared to my professional network globally, I wanted to focus on how to enhance Concert Livestream User Experience with Monetization capacity in sight. Generating sustainable value before struggling to bridge a potential gap. 

This piece of collective intelligence is designed to contribute to the on-going sectoral reflexion around livestreaming. It goes along with benchmarks & reports I’ve been conducted for leading players of the industry over the past months. It was also inspired by all insights gathered during the #NextStageChallenge hackathon / acceleration which TheLynk co-organized with a collective of European Music & Tech innovation driven organizations. 

Enough talking, let’s come to the results based on 250+ entries. 

Here are few remarks

Immersive Sound is #1 most wanted feature according to Music & Tech Professionals. What does it tells us ? 

  • Live Streaming is an AUDIOVISUAL performance. AUDIO / SOUND will be key driver of EMOTION and so engagement for the future online Live Experience. Think about closing your eyes during a real live gig…
  • If it is so obvious, why no platform deployed such feature at scale? Well, there are some bottlenecks on the way to adoption: integration, equipment for both producers & users, distribution / network. Cooperation with Telcos could be instrumental moving forward with use of 5G for instance. 
  • TV might become “hype” again, gathering family members back together in the Living Room, bringing Sound Systems & Home Entertainment manufacturers in the conversation

Social Dimension is not anymore a nice to have

  • GlobalSocial Media or Video platforms like Facebook, Twitch or Youtube have been so far the natural destination points for Live-streamed gigs for both confined Artists & Fans. Usability, Free Access, Fan Engagement and Social Conversation: all-in-one. Wait…
  • If Social Interaction is now a basic features of “free” global platforms, how to leverage Social Conversation & Participation in alternative platforms ? New forms of interactions can be explored like “group chats”, “on request”, emoticons or virtual personalization items. 
  • Again it goes down to the question of usability and added-value. Does it bring something that will keep fans engaged and does it bring some social “noise” to the performance? 

Why we should look at cross-sectoral innovation with Gaming & E-Sport ? 

  • Extended Reality (XR) and Gamification are not high on the list. However, if we look at the latest growth figures of livestreaming since lockdown, Online Gaming is clearly leading the way. Usage first.
  • Beyond the Travis Scott one-off experience, there is a real interest in considering game engine like Unreal or Unity as a powerful tool for Music Creators & Producers to push the boundaries of stage design & fan interactions. Latest Investment from Sony Corp in Epic Games is not a low signal. 

Additional features suggested by the community: 

  • HD Sound: Focus on Quality before 3D / Spatial Sound
  • Windowing : content to be available only for 24h / 48h in order to manage “Scarcity”
  • Art Direction: live-streamed gigs needs to be a “spectacle” 

To conclude or especially to open the conversation, here are some key change drivers to consider moving forward: 

  • USABILITY: the answer cannot be just a compilation of all of the above. Successful platforms or productions will have to be SEAMLESS from a User Experience perspective as well as from an Integration perspective across the Industry. 
  • HYBRIDATION: livestreaming should be considered not a disruption of Live Music but as a potential extension of the experience with synergies to be develop around two pillars: AUDIENCE MANAGEMENT & ARTIST SERVICES 
  • CURATION: if a growing numbers of Live performances will be accessible online, it will mean that the next generation of successful platform cannot be only about distribution & tech. Recommandation / Prescription will be a strategic component. 
  • SUSTAINABILITY: brave new livestreaming startups or platforms are popping-up now every 2 weeks. What do they need to make a difference and turn their promise into long term value to be shared across the ecosystem? Music Industry is a rewarding but complex business and the rights management aspect of livestreaming may appear to new entrants like an “unsolved mystery”. This is why an Industry level dialog would be needed now in order to level the playing field. With both entrepreneurial and creative mindset. 
  • EXPERIMENTATION: what we can learn from the lean Startup model is the ability of those types of organizations to test and learn. Garage mode. Artist are another kind of inventors. Garage days revisited. This sounds cool and all about synergies. But in practice, innovation is still a process with tenacious frictions. Startups hardly get access to a stage or content. Music Industry people on the ground including Artists cannot sometimes keep pace with all cutting-edge solutions available. This might be the time to go beyond the fear (or the pitch) of DISRUPTION and adopt a more hands-on approach of Innovation. By facilitating Experimentation and running more Proof of Concepts initiatives. 

Last but not least, as pointed in the results of this insightful survey: 

THIS IS ABOUT MUSIC #1ST !

Art Direction and Fan Engagement should be the driving forces that will orchestrate technologies & features. 

I would like to thank all individual contributors and organizations who spread this survey to their community. 

If you are interested to discuss this further and explore potential collaborations, please reach out

Keep on Rockin’

Yvan Boudillet

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