Best Tips to Monetize Live Stream Performances & Connect with Fans
Your fans need to experience live music for than ever. Especially in times like these, when COVID-19 has shut down live events. They crave live shows and they’re stuck at home. But this creates a major opportunity for musicians. We’ve all seen major artists putting out Live Stream performances for free on Facebook Live. Fans are getting used to, and enjoying, watching their favorite artist on a Live Stream performance. Even once concerts finally come back, we expect to see this trend continuing onward.
Live Stream performances allows fans to watch from any device, even on their own TV at home. They save a fortune, because they can make drinks at home and skip the bar tab, don’t have to pay for transportation or parking, and parents don’t need to hire a babysitter. It’s safe to say, Live Stream is here to stay. Which is great news for independent bands and rappers!
Some artists fear that asking their fans to pay for a Live Stream performance during COVID-19 will be ill received. But when Anberlin put on a pay-per-view live stream most fans were stoked to be able to pay and support the band. I saw one fan complain and comment that the show should be free, but several Anberlin fans quickly replied defending the band’s decision!
We’ve also found that charging fans for a Live Stream performance vs. giving it away for free has several key benefits:
- The artist can spend more time preparing a special, unique, and exciting set because they truly want their fans to “get their moneys worth.”
- Fans are more primed to tip the artist during the performance if they paid to get in. The cheapskates and mild fans that jump in for only 1 song of a free Live Stream and then leave, are not nearly as likely to tip the artist.
- The drop off rate of fans leaving after a few songs is eliminated. Fans value what they pay for and stick around for the entire Live Stream.
- Setting a pay-per-view ticket price creates more value in the fans’ mind and they see your Live Stream as a “real show” and not just some free gimmick.
STILL AFRAID TO CHARGE FANS?
If you’re worried about charging for your Live Stream performances during COVID-19 you can always charge a low ticket price or tell fans you’re donating a portion of each ticket to an organization you care about.
SO, WHEN SHOULD YOU LIVE STREAM FOR FREE?
In my opinion, if you plan to monetize your Live Stream performances, you should stop performing full shows for free. Instead, use your free Live Streams as a marketing mechanism to drive virtual ticket sales for your upcoming pay-per-view Live Stream. Go on Facebook Live and play 1 song, do a quick Q&A or AMA (ask me anything), promote the upcoming pay-per-view Live Stream and explain why it’s going to be so special and something that’s not to be missed. Play 1 more song, and maybe share a contest. Use your free Live Streams to connect with fans, tease them with a song or two, and to get them excited for the REAL upcoming Live Stream event. That’s the best way to drive virtual ticket sales. You can even record your promo video and use it for your Facebook ads. Artists that are continuously doing Live Streams for free are leaving a lot of money on the table – and unless you’re a famous major artist, you probably need to generate some income to keep your music career going.
BEST TIPS FOR SELLING YOUR LIVE STREAM TO FANS
- Make the show special! Make it interactive and let fans vote on your setlist. Play a fan favorite album front to back. Think about how you can make your Live Stream unique and different than a normal live show. Bring in a guest musician, play different instruments or rework some of your songs. Could you do a medley of songs or work in covers? Play some unreleased tracks. Tell stories, explain the lyrics, what if you spent 5 minutes showcasing a new song you’re writing and bring them in on your songwriting process? The sky is the limit. But the more creative you are, the more tickets you’ll sell and the more likely fans are to come back for more.
- Don’t just plan 1 Live Stream, make it a series. All of your marketing should promote your Live Stream series, be it 2 shows per month, 1 show per month. The goal is to get your die-hard fans coming back over and over and presenting new and different sets for each show.
- Create a Donations Goal. If fans know your donations goal is $200 during the Live Stream, they’ll be much more likely to tip you to help you reach your goal. Share what your goal is for, is it for studio time? Is it to help pay your rent so you don’t have to sell your favorite guitar? Now is your time to connect with fans. They love your music and they want to support you.
- Set the “Stage.” Don’t just sit in your living room. Create a cool backdrop and lighting, or pick a unique place for the show. You can create the space so that your Live Stream has the vibe you want. The more thought you put into it, the more fans will rave about it to their friends.
- Be Yourself! Onstage a venue you typically don’t have the time to connect with fans, you just play your songs back to back. Plan out what you want to say ahead of time, but show your fans who YOU are. This is an intimate backstage experience. You have the potential build more loyalty and rapport with your fans in a Live Stream than you normally can at a music venue.
- Run Facebook Ads. Live Streams are all about online promotion, that’s it. You only need 7-10 days lead time to promote it. Unlike a real-world club show, you won’t need 3 months to put up flyers or hit the streets. You should run Facebook/Instagram ads to your fans and track the ROI with your FB tracking pixel. Live Stream shows can literally be the most profitable shows you’ve ever played, if you do it right. If you have more than 250 fans on your email list you can take advantage of the Facebook Lookalike ads. Facebook will use it’s machine learning to find people that are a 99% match to your existing fan base and serve ads to those people. Look on YouTube for how to run Facebook Lookalike ads if you are not already doing those.
YOU ARE A CREATIVE!
We as music artists are creators. It’s in our blood, we write lyrics, we tell stories, we create beautiful melodies and layers of sonic goodness. So when you start to Live Stream put the same thought and creativity into the fan experience as you do when you write a song!
Make sure to choose a Live Stream platform that is musician focused, has a fair payout structure, gives you a ton of support (Live Streaming can be complicated to figure out), and doesn’t have any upfront costs. Afton LiveStream launches soon and you can find more information on how we plan to help artists here. We hope no matter which platform you choose, that you use our tips to connect with your fans, financially support your art, and have a lot of fun in the process!
The Afton Tickets LiveStream platform will focus on major artists, promoters, and event organizers. Ryan Kintz is a musician, event organizer, promoter, and die-hard music fan. Afton has booked over 15,000 shows in 70+ cities in the U.S. and Canada.