With $2.8 billion in ticket sales already lost, artists are facing a cash crunch like never before. To combat this, platforms like Show4Me have become a popular alternative, enabling musicians to perform live shows, with social distancing measures in place.
But how useful are such platforms? And are they the future of the industry? To find out more, FinalBoss decided to chat with Show4Me‘s Chief Business Development Officer Yuriy Sylovanyuk.
(the below interview has been edited for clarity)
FinalBoss: Can you tell me in numbers how big an impact the coronavirus has had on the music industry?
Yuriy Sylovanyuk: I believe it’s too early to estimate the impact on the music industry. The biggest area that is impacted is live events, because obviously you cannot have any gatherings. These events are the biggest revenue stream for artists, bigger than other streams like streaming and music sales. So naturally, we have seen a huge impact on incomes. That’s why our company, as well as others, are trying to figure out how to help out artists, irrespective of what platform they use. This is why we created the online concerts tool, it allows artists to do live gigs without leaving their home so that they can make money and interact with fans.
FB: Have you seen a sudden growth in the last 1-2 months of Show4Me?
Yuriy: Absolutely. A lot of people have moved online, listening, watching and interacting with online tools. We have seen an increase in fans and artists, globally.
FB: Let’s just go back about a year or so, say this time in 2019. If you had started a live-streaming platform then, do you think it would have been a sustainable business model?
Yuiry: In 2019, we had an idea, of doing live concerts virtually, but there was no urgency then because we had a lot of live events. So virtual concerts wasn’t a big thing. Now, however, we see great potential in the idea, so we are now thinking of developing some new functionalities for virtual shows. These virtual gigs have become quite popular, and even a lot of games have now incorporated live concerts. I am not sure if you heard, but recently Fortnite held a live concert. They are all thinking about live events, for players and fans, so this is a great idea and a new way to monetise artists’ work.
FB: Great, so what about technology like AR and VR? Do you see a lot of promise here and do you believe that such technology will become mainstream in a few years time?
Yuriy: Absolutely. The coronavirus and lockdowns prove that we need to adapt to the new environment. That’s the new normal, and AR and VR are the future. We may not like it now, but the technology is moving forward. With faster internet and these new technologies, we can have any concert, right on our mobile phones. I believe in a year or two there will be lightweight glasses with high-quality video and sound, and we just need to work on the software and content for that.
FB: That sounds fantastic. What are the other tools and technologies Show4Me is looking to adopt on these lines?
Yuriy: Well we are working on virtual concerts, and we are working on incorporating AR and VR features into these concerts. Once you have artists with great content, with a few additional equipment, they can create a whole VR environment. So fans can be present in their homes, or on their stage and watch the concert within the reach of their hand.
FB: On that note, now that digital concerts have become a thing, do you believe we will go back at some point to a bar/pub or concert venue to listen to music? Or is physical attendance a dead thing?
Yuriy: I believe that both these methods will exists simultaneously. Some people will still want to go to a bar or pub because they love the interaction, where they can stand next to their artists, shake hands and talk to their friends. But there will be fans who prefer to maintain social distancing. Not just because of coronavirus, but because there are so many people who would prefer to stay in the comfort of their home and watch a show. By using AR and VR, we can provide this comfort to any part of the world. That helps people to attend any event, around the globe without leaving their home. These tickets will also be cheaper, making it much more affordable. Not like live shows in London or LA, where you would pay sky-high prices of thousands of dollars. Now you can get that ticket for say 10 bucks.
FB: So how do artists benefit from this? If ticket costs are reduced, won’t that affect their earnings?
Yuriy: It’s not that simple. While there will be a price drop, they will get millions of new fans who will watch that concert for as low as 10 bucks or even a dollar. They will make much more from the tickets, so it will be more beneficial.
FB: Show4Me isn’t the only company in this business. So are you worried that artists might jump ship, and sign exclusive contracts with other companies, similar to what’s happening with the streaming industry? Are you worried that it might happen and affect Show4Me?
Yuriy: This is a possibility, but we aren’t afraid of the competition. I endorse competition because it pushes us to create something new and better for artists and for fans. It enables us to create new services. We are also different because we are an ecosystem. We have a rich variety of services to suit any music genre, geography and payment system. Our platform has a huge variety of artists and fans. We also believe we have a more beneficial monetisation system, better than the streaming services.
FB: Anything else you want to add that we might have skipped over?
Yuriy: I believe the current model is really unfair, because 95% of all the revenue generated is generated by just 5% of artists. That means that all the rest, they don’t make enough money to make a living from music. So they need other revenue streams to do what they love. That’s why we created Show4Me, a revolutionary way to monetise music. Our crowdfunded shows, backed by fans funds help artists to put on shows without the risk of losing money. They can also create an album backed by fans funds, which is a great way to support artists directly. It is also great for fans, to interact with artists in a deeper, more engaging way like close friends.
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