There’s no doubt about it – live streaming is changing the face of the internet as we know it. The emergence of new technology, as well as an increase in the number of competitors throughout the marketplace, has led to the growth of a wide variety of new platforms, all of which allow users to stream different types of media content. Statista reports that, as of January 2017, 63% of 18-34 in the US alone are watching some form of live streaming on social media, with 42% of the same demographic creating the content.
Whilst these numbers are impressive, they also indicate that there is still a fair amount of untapped potential in the market and, with the rising popularity of platforms such as YouTube Live, the market looks set to continue growing for the foreseeable future. Live streaming has helped transform the fortunes of an already lucrative gaming market and, with the emergence of events such as live concert streaming, the technology has attempted the same sort of thing within the music industry over the last few years.
The Abundance of Live Gaming
If you needed convincing of just how big of an impact live streaming has had on the gaming industry, then you need to look no further than the world of professional gaming. Found from DaCast infographic It’s now possible to earn a living by streaming yourself playing popular MMO games such as Starcraft and Hearthstone and, with some of the top players earning a reported $300,000 dollars a year, there’s a lot to be said for embracing your inner geek and taking your video gaming a lot more seriously.
There are numerous other examples of different websites and platforms which are successfully embracing live streaming technology. A number of betting sites, like gambling sites like Betway Casino, are now offering an immersive blackjack experiences, which use start-of-the-art live video technology to allow users to compete against the dealer from the comfort of their own home. Even social media giant Facebook looks keen on acquiring a piece of the live gaming pie for itself after recently announcing that it plans on taking on Amazon’s hugely successful live streaming platform Twitch head on.
What about the Music Industry?
Music streaming has been around for as long as most people can remember, owing to the popularity of platforms such as Spotify but the concept of live streaming with regards to the industry is a fairly new one. Whilst multinational video hosting service Vevo put on around 30 live shows a year as of 2014, it’s fair to say that live concert streaming is yet to really take off within the music industry and there are a number of potential reasons for this.
It’s no secret that replicating the experience associated with attending a live concert is a tricky task as most of the appeal with regards to live music is experiencing the atmosphere and ambience created by likeminded people who share the same musical interests. Much of this would undoubtedly be lost when watching a concert alone in your front room and with the world’s biggest concert organizing company Live Nation recently announcing that it’s revenue was up by 11% last year alone, it seems that live concerts are making more money than ever.
Another pretty substantial barrier with regards to the live video streaming of music is securing the rights to performances. Record labels are seemingly reluctant to allow live concerts to be streamed unless there is any real financial benefit to them doing so and even bands such as American alt-rockers The Pixies, who first toured back in 1986 and now manage their own live content, remain unconvinced about live video streaming as a whole. The band’s manager Richard Jones even went so far as to recently comment that he sees the whole experience as “more of a promotional thing than an income source”.
You could also argue that the advantages associated with concert streaming are almost exclusive to the fans as opposed to the musicians themselves. Fans would no longer need to reside in a city where their favourite act was touring and would be able to watch the show from the safety of their own home, as opposed to braving what can often be a fairly claustrophobic music venue full of flailing arms and dancing drunkards.
All Is Not Lost
The gaming industry as a whole has had a lot more time to figure out the intricacies and problems associated with live streaming than the music industry and it’s possible that the latter just needs more time to iron out some of the finer details. After all, subscription-based services such as Qello are working hard to bring live concert experiences to fans for just $7.99 a month and, just last year, David Bowie’s tribute concert was streamed live to critical acclaim for fans unable to attend the New York shows.
If companies can find a way to make concert streaming a more profitable business model than it currently is then there’s no telling what the future holds. It’s entirely plausible that live streaming could become a more practical and financially viable alternative to touring for some musical acts but we are currently a long way away from this and a fair bit has to change if live streaming is to have any place within the future of the music industry.