After springing up by chance, or out of necessity, during spring's covid-19 lockdowns, livestream concerts have since managed to carve out a niche in the cultural calendar. In fact, livestream shows are now a flourishing business, that music industry giants like Ticketmaster count on cashing in on.
And so Ticketmaster, has announced the global launch of a new service specially dedicated to selling tickets for livestream shows. The platform, which operates in 10 languages, has apparently already sold tickets for virtual events to fans in more than 180 countries. Many turned to the Live Nation company's ticketing site to get tickets for Niall Horan's latest virtual show, streamed live from the Royal Albert Hall in London in November. The virtual show proved a hit for the former One Direction member, with ticket sales topping 125,000.
According to Ticketmaster, artists such as RBD, Megan Thee Stallion, Mika, Glass Animals, Biffy Clyro and Dermot Kennedy experienced similar success recently with shows streamed online. "Our technology quickly pivoted to selling streaming tickets at scale, and the acceleration in artists going virtual to engage has been remarkable, so too is the readiness of fans to pay to access their favorite artists in this way," explained David Marcus, now EVP of Global Music, heading the Global Music Team working on the ticketing platform.
"The beauty of virtual shows is that we're seeing global viewing -- performances in London or LA are selling tickets to fans in New Zealand, Spain or Singapore, it's revolutionizing the way artists can connect. Nothing will replace the live experience, but this represents a new form of entertainment with its own rewards, and it's definitely something that will remain for years to come," he continues.
The future of "live" music?
Ticketmaster isn't the only company banking on a bright future for livestream concerts. The Universal Music Group and the Korean production company YG Entertainment recently invested in KBYK Live, a joint venture created by Big Hit Entertainment and the American streaming service provider Kiswe. The aim of this investment is to promote their artists via the KBYK Live platform, which last year hosted two livestream concerts by superstar band, BTS. The events, titled "MAP OF THE SOUL ON:E" and "BANG BANG CON The Live," were followed by some 993,000 and 756,000 fans of the K-pop kings, respectively.
Live Nation isn't missing out on the thriving market for livestream shows either, since the American giant recently became the majority shareholder in Veeps. This start-up, founded by musicians Joel and Benji Madden, broadcast almost a thousand musical performances online in 2020. And, according to Veeps, these livestreams generated more than $10 million for their partner artists. "This partnership is a demonstration that premium, ticketed live streams have earned themselves a permanent place in the verticals of every artist business," said Joel Madden when the partnership was announced.
This investment above all lets Live Nation take up position in a sector that's on the up, generating $600 million last year according to MIDiA Research. But does livestreaming have what it takes to become a serious business model, capable of surviving the return of "real-life" shows? Michael Rapino, the president and CEO of the American multinational seems to think so. "Livestreaming is a great complement to our core business, and essentially gives any show an unlimited capacity. Looking to the future, livestreams will continue to unlock access for fans -- whether they are tuning into a sold-out show in their hometown or watching their favorite artist play in a city halfway around the world," he said in a statement.