Beats Music Veteran Pushes a New Kind of Live Music Gig Economy
(Bloomberg) -- Spotify Technology SA got hundreds of millions of people hooked on streaming without achieving its other big ambition: to break the hold of the big music labels and let artists sell their work direct to fans.
Swedish music industry veteran Joel Broms Brosjo, who co-founded Spotify-backed Soundtrack Your Brand and was part of the team that founded streaming platform Beats Music, is pushing that elusive vision once again, this time in the field of live-streamed concerts.
Thousands of musicians have been playing online concerts from their bedrooms, studios and garages to try to survive the collapse in income from touring and doing gigs, raising money via fan engagement tools such as Bandcamp and Patreon. Broms Brosjo says the habit will endure after venues reopen.
He’s launching a service called Doors for artists to curate and perform online concerts, communicate with fans and manage ticket sales and royalties in one place. By addressing a problem that’s bedeviled the nascent industry -- a lack of consistently high-quality shows that thousands of viewers can access simultaneously -- Broms Brosjo hopes to solve another: convincing them to pay for it.
“There really was no serious platform around to enable the inevitable digital transformation of the ticketed event market,” Broms Brosjo, who is chief executive of Live Doors AB, said in an interview.
The service is doing a soft launch Wednesday and officially goes live on April 19 after raising $1.8 million in November from a mix of artists, entrepreneurs and music producers. Pinterest Inc. co-founder Evan Sharp is an early backer, according to people familiar with the matter. It plans to raise additional funds to develop the service during the summer.
Life on Tour
Musicians make around three-quarters of their income from ticket sales, according to Broms Brosjo and live music ticket revenues were close to $23 billion in 2019. U.S. consumers spent $610 million on virtual concerts in 2020, more than downloads and CDs, according to research by MusicWatch.
It’s easy to set up a live stream on Facebook, Twitch or YouTube to get attention for your work, but also harder to make a decent income from it.
Right now it’s often a lot like busking, with performers encouraging fans to donate if they like the music. If the audience reaches a level that should trigger significant streaming royalties, recouping that money can be difficult as the big ad-funded tech platforms often lack the rights to broadcast the music in the first place.
Broms Brosjo says Doors will go a step further than dedicated live-streaming platforms like Stageit and Crowdcast by offering more advanced ticketing and enabling artists to sell worldwide with tax and copyright reporting, moderator tools and customizable event design.
“We provide a one-stop shop for engagement, ticketing, broadcasting, reporting and payment,” he said.
Much of the work around Doors focused on the infrastructure to bring streams in high audio and image quality to thousands of paying fans with very low transmission delays.
Broms Bosjo said Doors will send 70% of its revenue to the performers after compensating performance rights and collective management organizations.
Giant music companies such as Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group still dominate the industry, but the idea of putting musicians in full control of their output and distribution has been gaining ground thanks to new tools that let independent artists distribute their work and collect royalties.
Last month Apple Inc. led a $50 million investment round in UnitedMasters, a startup that lets artists upload their songs to streaming services while circumventing record labels. In January, Live Nation Entertainment Inc. bought a majority stake in Los Angeles-based Doors rival Veeps for an undisclosed sum.
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