“Moving into a hybrid model, shows will move from live in a physical venue to live in both a physical and virtual venue” – Marisol Segal, Head of Digital Partnerships, AEG Presents (USA) 

It goes without saying that we all miss the thrill of live concerts in packed venues and at festivals. An entire industry, the artist community and their fans are eagerly waiting for live concerts to resume. Moving forward through this unprecedented global pandemic, the future may not, however, involve a return to ‘normal’.

A new normal is being bootstrapped and co-created as we speak by artists, consumers, start-ups, platforms and the whole music ecosystem, with livestreaming and virtual live experiences playing a key role.

In this exclusive interview, part of the exclusive Midem whitepaper named Livestream and Virtual Live Experience: Exploring the New Frontier of Live Music, get unique insights from Marisol Segal, head of digital partnerships at AEG Presents.

On mobile, download the full whitepaper at the bottom of the page 

WP Livestream

>What are the key factors for a Livestream Concert to become a success and how would you measure it? 

Marisol Segal:  First, give fans a great show (key factor for livestreams as well as physical shows). For a livestream, this isn’t only about the performance. The virtual venue experience and things you can’t control like internet connection all contribute to giving fans a great show. Because we’re in a digital environment, we can look at ways to measure fan sentiment during and shortly following the show to measure success. The rest varies depending on whether your livestreaming free or paid, ticketed events.

Second,  ROI (paid livestreams). If  I’m selling tickets, it’s more about driving revenue than marketing. We’re in the livestreams wild west so using what we know so far is all we have to guide us. Standard revenue generators (tickets, merch, VIP) don’t vary from physical to digital. However, a virtual venue means no capacity limitations so you have limitless tickets to sell. Album/song streams and physical ticket sales for upcoming shows can add to revenue potential. In the end of the day, measuring success is answering the question “did everyone involved earn the revenue they were hoping from the event? with a yes”.

Third, marketing (free livestreams). During the stream, metrics to measure success include concurrent viewers, average watch time, chat and social media sentiment. If you have data from past events, that will help you generate a benchmark to measure against. If not, look at similar artists to set a benchmark. In addition to stream metrics, I’d layer in album/song streams, artist webpage uniques and social media followers/visits to gauge overall success.

>Do you see Virtual Live Experience as a sustainable economy in the near future?

Marisol Segal: There are plenty of studies and trends pointing us in the direction of a real future for this medium. We got a major acceleration boost due to the pandemic, but we’ve still got a way to go. We’re going to get there, but what we’re doing now is building and when we’re back to life in-person, we’ll have a better idea of how far along we really are.

On mobile, download the full whitepaper at the bottom of the page 

> Livestream Concerts are obviously here to say in a form or another. How do you prepare for the expected « hybridisation » of concerts as a global Live Music player (venue equipment, windowing, cross-selling…)? 

Marisol Segal: This is the big question. Moving into a hybrid model, shows will move from live in a physical venue to live in both a physical and virtual venue. It’s a new function with a lot of unknown that need to plug into a longstanding business that has a clear understanding of how it operates. If you want to do this well, it’s not just something you can decide to do overnight. There’s a lot to consider.

Licensing. Managing rights clearances (maybe globally) and limited clarity on rates to build a sustainable model make this a big one that needs to be thought through. This level of licensing is not the primary function of the physical event business.

Venue readiness. As we come back to physical shows, live will become a more active part of the paid livestreaming conversation so reliable high-speed internet will become crucial. In addition, necessary production equipment, set-up and on-going maintenance requirements are considerations that come at a real cost, with no clear ROI at this stage.

Video Platform. Agility, usability, quality and stability come to mind here. UI/UX, ability to support a large number of concurents and high-quality audio/video are the basics and not everyone can do these well yet. Audience engagement is also critical but it’s definitely still an area of experimentation that can vary depending on the artist and event. In the end, we need to ensure we can deliver at the same quality level a fan expects when they are watching a show at a physical venue. Outside variables like a fan’s internet connectivity make this a wild card.

Ticketing. Melding the purchase of physical and virtual show tickets into a single ticketing platform makes sense for consumers but comes with its own challenges. These platforms were built with physical events in mind.

Marketing. Paid livestreams are still in consumer education phase. We need to think about how to market hybrid events to successfully sell tickets while also managing the fact that not all fans have the same technical know-how yet.

Video production. So many directions to go here. If you’re talking a smaller number of shows from the bigger artist tours, that’s a custom set up you’ll work through case by case. When you get into a high volume of shows that make this a scale business, you need to think about turnkey solutions that still provide for a high-quality show.

Financial and Operational. This is a compliment and incremental revenue driver to the concert business and many of these considerations come with major financial implications that could make economic sustainability difficult. Without a clear idea of the revenue impact once physical shows return, you need to be thoughtful about how to prioritize all consideration factors.

To geo-block or to not geo-block. This is all about merging this new paid livestream model with the primary physical event model. Some shows will have the ability to livestream nationally or even globally while others may need to be geo-blocked-in order to only serve the market area where the physical show is also taking place. A major benefit of livestreaming is no capacity limits. Geo-blocking would limit the number of tickets you can sell which may negatively impact your ability to drive revenue that meets the ROI required for success.

On mobile, download the full whitepaper at the bottom of the page 


Learn from key players from the global music industry and get their insights about virtual live experience in this exclusive Midem whitepaper that captures the essence of the current trends and take a look “behind the scenes” to unveil the key dynamics that will shape the future of music in the digital age.

These discussions will continue at Midem 2021 during the Live Summit and Midemlab “Live Music Experiences” pitch session.

Read more…

On mobile, download the full whitepaper at the bottom of the page 

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