Image Credit: Martin de Arriba

Concert recommendation platform Bandsintown now offers exclusive online gigs from big acts for $10 a month.

As everyone well knows, musicians have suffered a heartbreaking loss of income since gigs and live tours were shelved last March. Monetising online live music performances is one way of clawing back some revenue from the grim situation, and Bandsintown’s latest venture seeks to streamline watching concerts from home. Bandsintown PLUS collects livestreams in a calendar of events that can be accessed easily, with a focus on supporting artists, in exchange for a flat monthly rate from subscribers.

After an initial free seven-day trial, your $9.99 gets you access to at least 25 concerts a month. (That’s $0.3996 a gig, mathematics fans.) The company said the new venture ‘democratises and revolutionises the live music experience, directly supporting artists in the process.’ Bandsintown PLUS has announced a debut monthly schedule for January and February that so far includes Phoebe Bridgers, Little Dragon, Fleet Foxes, Claud, and more. Subscribers will also have access to exclusive concerts on other platforms.

In 2020 Bandsintown quickly evolved from a service that pointed people in the direction of live gigs to showing where concerts were being livestreamed instead. Managing Partner Fabrice Sergent said:

Touring artists have been economically ravaged by Covid-19’s restrictions. Bandsintown PLUS is a chance to help innovate the industry, creating new sources of revenue for artists, while deepening connections with their fans.

Fabrice Sergent, Managing Partner of Bandsintown

Bandsintown is the latest company to take the next step with regards to streaming performances, with companies like MelodyVR and Apple making big investments. Launching a new subscription service puts a lot of faith in the idea that livestreaming will continue to be popular even once restrictions are lifted post-pandemic. Everyone misses live gigs so much it’s hard to imagine turning down the magical opportunity to see a band play in front of you in real life. It’s obviously a question that Bandsintown have considered though, with Sergent noting that the new service is ‘an opportunity to break the barriers of cost and location that have historically hindered live music experiences.’ If you can’t afford to get to a gig, you can watch it on your phone instead, and platforms like Bandsintown PLUS want to make it easy. As well as exclusive concerts, they also promise ‘Q+As, live chats and exclusive interviews [to] connect artists and fans’, covering more bases and offering exclusive perks to entice signups.

After an initial flurry of free streams as musicians, bored or missing their fans, flocked to Instagram Live and other platforms at the beginning of the pandemic, resourceful artists soon realised the potential and need to charge for their newfound line of work. The monetisation of livestreaming soon caught on with Bandzoogle, who aid artists in ticketing their events, noting that between April and November 2020 artists made $200,000 from ticket sales over 1,300 virtual concerts. Looking back over 2020, Billboard reported that, according to Bandsintown’s figures, back in June ticketed livestreams accounted for less than two percent of the total number of daily broadcasts but by November they accounted for more than half.

For as long as livestreaming gigs is the only option, subscription services like Bandsintown PLUS seem a solid way for musicians to make some money, even if the magic of real-life interactions with your favourite band isn’t quite there.

Full list of performers on Bandsintown PLUS so far: Adeline, Adrianne Lenker of Big Thief’s first ever solo livestream, Bakai, Brijean, Bye Beneco, Chrome Sparks, Chromeo, Claud, Diamond Thug, Empress Of, Fleet Foxes (Robin Pecknold Solo), Flying Lotus, HONEYMOAN, Ian Isiah, James Hersey, Jeff Tweedy Of Wilco with a full band and rare fan Q&A, Joe Bonamassa, Little Dragon, Local Natives, Lomelda, mau from nowhere, Mindchatter, Misty Mtn, Mt. Joy, odie, Phoebe Bridgers, Poolside, Prequell, Rexx Life Raj, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Sam Himself, Scarypoolparty, Sir Chloe, Soccer Mommy, Toro y Moi (DJ Set), Trevor Hall, Tycho, Wallows, We the Commas, and former Bandsintown Big Break alumni Omar Apollo with special guest Q, along with more to be announced.