Live on the Web: How Live Streaming can enhance the experience for concert-goers, artists and fans (and your bottom line too).

Way back in 2003, Dave Ferri and his crew did their very first Live Stream from Orchard Studio. Non-stop Canadian bands and artists performed live for people around the world.  It was such a huge success that OrchardTV was born and continues to showcase amazing talent (such as Lighthouse, Sass Jordan, Dragonette, Big Sugar and more) to this day.

As music streaming has become ever present in the consumer marketplace, we asked Dave a few questions about how Live Streaming can apply and enhance the live music experience as well as the live music business.

Photo credit to Colin Sharpe, used by permission from the WSO. Dave Ferri, OrchardTV (left), Chris Hadfield (centre), and Dan Ellison, Camera Operator (right).

Photo credit to Colin Sharpe, used by permission from the WSO.
Dave Ferri, OrchardTV (left), Chris Hadfield (centre), and Dan Ellison, Camera Operator (right).

How can live streaming enhance the live music experience for concertgoers and fans? What are the different uses / methods / applications of Live Streaming for live music?

Well, I think everyone in the universe knows that there is nothing like being at an actual event. Nothing beats being there, BUT if you can’t be there… then let’s watch it. Your options become TV or the Internet.

The cost to put your event on TV is massive, whereas the cost to get your event on the internet is considerably more affordable. TV is limited to just a local area, while Live Streaming is world-wide… the power is phenomenal.

The technological advances in Live Streaming in just the last few years have brought the costs down to very low levels. YouTube is the greatest example of this.  Heavy technical operations, that only 4 or 5 years ago costs tens of thousands of dollars to achieve — YouTube now does for FREE.

What you want your Live Stream to do is to connect artists directly with their fanbase.  Live Streaming allows two-way connectivity. Fans and Viewers can chat, tweet, email, to the artists – and the artists can respond live back to the fans.

Chat Apps [for example] allow fans to become a family: messaging each other, commenting on the shows, sharing their likes (and dislikes) with their community. Imagine me, Dave, sitting in my house in Norval, Ontario [watching a live stream of Gregg Allman], and Gregg Allman says Live from the concert stage “Dave requested this song from way up in Canada, and we’re gonna do it for him right now.”

Once again – engaging the fans. This is what [live streaming] is all about.

The other very cool thing about Live Streaming is allowing the fans at home to see things online that would never be seen even if they attended the concert. We did this many times with the Allman Brothers Band. We placed a camera at the guitar tech’s station letting the guitar freaks at home watch the techs polish and tune the guitars behind the scenes. Getting them ready to hand off to their guitar gods waiting on stage. Where else could a fan see this?

We also strapped a camera to Butch Trucks head so fans could watch the Allman Brothers Band Live from the Beacon Theatre in NYC from the drummers point of view. Watching the musicians in front of him, watching his drum sticks hit the drums, and looking out into the crowds going crazy.  Where else could you see that?

Viewers at home had the option to watch the live show, or to watch one of these specially placed cameras.  [Orchard TV in 2011-2012] was the first Live Stream to have these options called “channels”.

Why would you want to live stream a live music event?

Direct connections with your fans/audience… I believe to be the main reason to Live Stream. A very close second would be the Pay Per View scenario.


Butch Trucks of the Allman Brothers with Head Camera. Photo Credit: Derek McCabe.

Once again, I will use the Allman Brothers as an example.

Back in 2011 we set up Pay Per view for their concert series in NYC.  Before the Allman Brothers set one foot on stage, they had sold over $177,000 worth of internet subscriptions (and that was 4 years ago). Imagine today with the advancements into mobile phones and tablets, as well as computers and internet ready TV’s…a major tour could be doing this EVERY single night.

Charge $4.99 per night, or $9.99 per night — something reasonable.  Look at the added potential revenue.  The other crazy thing about this is often bigger shows have camera people, directors, video production equipment on site, as the show is being fed to screens around each venue. All they need to do is take that feed, stick it into an encoder and fly it up to YouTube.

Artists [and promoters] may be missing out by not doing this, when half the streaming work is already being done every night. If a Mark Knopfler, or Jeff Beck, or Paul McCartney show did this every night, and charged $9.99… how many nights would you watch?

Can Live Streaming be used for promo as well as the event itself?

Live Streaming is an excellent way to promote anything. A new CD, an upcoming tour, adding a new member to the band whatever you have to promote there is NO better way to do it.

Why?  Once again because you are connecting directly to your fan base. You’re giving them the option to see artists in a light they have never seen before – every fan, every market – worldwide.

The Allman Brothers did this exact thing, from their rehearsal hall in Macon Georgia. While getting ready for their NYC concert series they decided to speak directly to the fans. It was a huge success and all the fans got to hear from, and ask questions to, their preferred member of the band.

Even the manager got involved.

The Allmans spent hours live chatting and answering questions. It was remarkable.

Is there ever any concern of cannibalizing the live concert market? If they can see it live on the internet, why would they come to the show?
I have one answer for you. If that was the case, why would they ever broadcast a hockey game?