The musician's dilemma
Performers in the music industry have long relied on live concerts to build and sustain a following. Live shows can be the ultimate way to engage, impress, and surprise fans, not to mention the best way to drive revenue. So when the option to produce a live show is removed from the equation, what are we left with? The next best option would be to livestream your show, right? However, we’ve seen so many “flops” in regards to livestreamed concerts. Depending on your experience and the team you have to work with (or lack thereof) you may run into some of these same livestream “no-no’s”. These include poor sound quality, slow internet connection, less-than-adequate lighting, and the absence of performance structure. The main thing you should be concerned about is finding a way to earn money through these livestreams.
The Fabulous Equinox Orchestra figured out how to do this in a way that greatly impressed us! The FEO is the creation of two life-long best friends, Jeremy Davis and Clay Johnson. Originally from Louisiana, the duo recently relocated to Savannah, Georgia with their 17-piece band, and they haven’t stopped playing music. They’ve covered all the bases from private parties and weddings to sold-out theaters across the US. These guys know what they’re doing.
Jeremy and Clay have teamed up with us, Eventgroove.com, completely change how they deliver music to their fans. They got creative. Long-time users of our Eventgroove Events platform, The Fabulous Equinox Orchestra came up with a way to move all of their performances to a virtual format with our platform. They’ve hacked the system to market and monetize their new weekly livestream concerts.
Lucky for all of us, these guys are sharing their secrets to driving not only higher engagement from virtual concert attendees, but how to monetize them beyond what they even thought possible! Check out what they did and how you can apply the same strategy to your livestream music performances.
How they changed course
FEO breaks down its approach to virtual performances into 3 parts: marketing, ticketing and monetization, and production. Address these areas of focus thoroughly, and you’ll be smooth sailing.
Part 1: Marketing
Marketing for livestream shows can be tricky. It’s not “business as usual”. Especially if this is a new channel for you, you’ll need to get the word out there to your existing fans and beyond and create excitement for your upcoming shows. There are endless ways to market in today’s world, but the FEO group has identified three marketing strategies that are crucial to livestream success.
Along with standard marketing techniques, it’s also important to employ a strong “walk-up marketing” effort. Push hard on social media the day of and even 2 hours before you’re set to go live. A typical livestream viewer might decide or remember to tune in just before they sit down to dinner that night. You have to remind potential viewers that there is a show coming up! Even though shows like yours are typically marked on people’s social calendars, they can get lost in the clutter of social media notifications and busy schedules. Last-minute marketing is important to make sure people actually log on at the right time.
Ask the local and regional news to tell your story. What makes your group special? What do you have to offer and why should people care? Ask local theaters to offer your show as a free musical gift to their patrons and supporters. Local businesses like to support other local businesses. Implore your neighbors to spread the word. Not only is this a chance to market your event, it’s also an opportunity to network and build relationships with important figures in your local community. You never know where a simple introduction could lead.
Email can be a super cost-effective way to engage your most engaged followers. Make sure to email all your past ticket purchasers, fans, and any email lists you have to let them know about your upcoming livestream. Tell them about the show, what they can expect, and why it’s a must-see! Ask them to tune in and share with their friends. Perhaps offer some band swag to the 5 fans that share your event the most.
Part 2: Ticketing and monetizing
In most cases, livestreaming is free. This means low overhead and an increase in the potential reach of your performance. Facebook, YouTube & Twitch are popular choices for free livestreaming.
Turn your all-access livestream into a money-maker. Too many times we’ve seen shoddy attempts at driving Venmo or Paypal tips with a sad piece of lined paper with a username handle written in black marker. The fact is: if you ask for tips, you will get tips. Is that really what you’re after? Probably not. Five dollars here and there won’t pay the bills. Think bigger.
Sell virtual tickets and make it easy for patrons to purchase them. Use a straightforward event hosting platform, like Eventgroove.com, if you don’t have another ticketing system.
Even though viewers can tune in completely free, virtual tickets give your viewers the opportunity to support you. With Eventgroove, there is no limit to the types of tickets you can offer. Try offering tickets with tiered costs. Sell tickets for $20, $50, $100, $750, $1000, $3500 (see example above). Do NOT sell tickets for $5 or $10. Let the folks who can’t afford these prices just enjoy and be blessed by your show.
Remind viewers throughout the show that they have an opportunity to purchase virtual tickets.
If you’re using Facebook Live, pin your event page link to the top of the livestream comments so viewers can easily locate the link and go directly to your event page to purchase a ticket. Post the link in the comments every 20 minutes (this is why it’s good to have a moderator!).
People are now motivated to purchase tickets for a different, bigger reason. They love you. They love your product. They know artists and theaters are suffering. They want to support you. They want to bless you. Let them.
Keep the ticket window open for several days after you livestream. Patrons will watch and purchase tickets several days after your live event.
Part 3: Production
This is an area that is pretty flexible. Bottom line: the equipment you use to produce your livestream performance will directly affect the quality and caliber of your event. The pixelated show with spotty connection and poor lighting just won’t garner the viewership that most musicians are looking for. You put an extreme amount of time, effort, and love into your music. Put the same level of care into delivering that music to your fans.
⚜️ If you’re just starting out, keep it simple. You can start with a simple iPhone and tripod setup.
⚜️ Ensure flattering lighting and sound.
⚜️ Make your virtual stage visually appealing.
⚜️ Keep the show to under an hour unless you can hold an audience longer.
⚜️ Software (OBS is what Equinox is using)
⚜️ Make sure your internet signal is strong. Run a speed test the day of the show.
Test Your Broadcast.
Just like for your in-person live shows, doing a dry run is a must. Test your broadcast on a private Facebook page that only you can see. Then go back and watch it. Make adjustments to lighting, sound, and camera angles as needed.
During Your Show.
Start the livestream 10 minutes early. This will allow time for viewers to tune in so you won’t be playing in cyberspace. Acknowledge and thank viewers as they log on. Let them know they have an opportunity to support you by purchasing a virtual ticket. Show them how to do this. You can also share the stream to personal pages during this “pre-game” time in order to spread your reach as far as possible.
After the first few songs, step closer to the camera and address the audience. Read the comments that have been filtering in as you’ve been playing. Thank viewers for watching, and remind them of the opportunity to purchase a ticket.
Plan your next event
Jeremy and Clay have taken Eventgroove’s technology and made it work for them. On overtime. Listen to what they have to say about their experience with our platform for the last 10+ years here.
Like everything else, you may not be great on your first go. That’s not a reason to call it quits. Go back and watch your livestream after the fact. Read the comments and take note of any feedback you receive from viewers. Create something genuine to connect with your audience. And of course, call on us for more tips!
Ready to dive in? Use our Virtual Events Checklist to start planning!
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