Virtual online concerts? Virtual tickets? Lap concerts? (Ok, “Laptop concerts” but we couldn’t resist.) What does it all mean? It means that online shows are helping artists – indie and mainstream – to use the Internet to recoup some of the revenue that the very same Internet helped to reduce, while allowing fans to live stream concerts by their favourite artists from the comfort of their couch.
To be sure, the Internet has helped to undercut the income of performers in many different ways, not the least of which is through music piracy. (Read here how illegally downloading music really does take money right out of the artists’ pocket.)
But with virtual concert venues becoming more popular, artists are able to put on concerts for much less money, retaining more of the revenue. And fans are loving the option, even giving tips above and beyond the price of the virtual ticket.
Observes musician Christine Lavin, in an interview with NPR, “I’m intrigued with the idea that the Internet, that has really hurt a lot of us financially, has now opened up a new avenue for ways we can make some of that money back by connecting us to audience members who are not in the same town where we are.”
Lavin has an upcoming concert on ConcertWindow at the end of this month.
And it isn’t just the indie artists who are using these sites. For example, this week iRocke is hosting a Bela Fleck concert.
Evan Lowenstein, founder of Stage It, says that he has seen bigger artists earn more than $50,000 for a half-hour online concert. In addition, the systems usually don’t charge the artist for staging the event – the venues make their money from advertising and a cut of the ticket sales.
Tickets range from $5 to $10, a fraction of the cost for a live concert ticket, and fans often voluntarily pay more than the ticket price, in support of their favourite performers.
Says Dan Gurney, a founder of ConcertWindow.com, in that NPR interview, “This is how the music industry is going to grow again: It’s through flipping that equation and asking people, ‘How much is music worth to you and how much do you want to support it?'”
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