How we will enhance dwell streaming: Mike Schabel
On the one hand, this development is a great sign for our industry as it gives us the opportunity to create novel experiences that bridge the live music gap between artists and their fans at home who cannot experience a live concert in person, a multitude of Reasons (e.g. limited tickets on a date in a specific city and / or affordability). At the same time, the evolving contract between artists and fans for interactive events also provides the opportunity to develop new revenue models that can help us bring live music to a new audience. On the other hand, a developing space is also vulnerable. If live streaming is going to be a new source of income for artists and experience for fans in the future – and not just a hack that got us through the pandemic – then we’ll deliver on our consumer promise of great interactive live experiences that actually work and are worth paying for, is business critical.
Here are three things everyone in the room should think about to make sure we keep our promises to fans and artists.
Technology is only successful when it is accountable
As an industry, we push the envelope to create new, rewarding experiences. Delivering an interactive concert experience is challenging, however, as the territory always comes with growing pains as you scale new technology applications. In addition, the technology is most fragile at the edges where one provider interferes with another. The key to overcoming the breakthrough tax lies in accountability.
In our space we saw artists, event producers and a dizzying array of technology providers (e.g. ticketing / payment / taxes, live-live and tape-to-live video streaming, AR / VR / XR video, marketing, merchandise , Fan engagement providers and customer support) come together in a short amount of time to create truly ambitious interactive music events. But regardless of whether these events use new solutions or existing technologies are repurposed for the occasion, the money has to stop somewhere. Just as artists, event producers, providers and venues delimit responsibility in the physical world, we have to define clear areas of responsibility in the online concert space. By defining and articulating accountability as early as possible in the process, with a clear single technology owner for the livestream experience, we can avoid embarrassing failures during the show.
Testing keeps promises
Whether it’s a live stream, interactive chat, or new moderation software, the only way to know if it’s working on the show is to test like crazy before the show. Simply put, there is no excuse for providing an untested or under-tested solution.
Of course, artists intuitively understand the need to test because they live and die through rehearsal. In fact, this is what makes the recent failures in this area so frustrating. Artists know that their fans expect a flawless show, which is why artists don’t step on stage without having rehearsed every sound, dance step and light change.
As technologists, we can learn a lot from artists here. We need to apply the same rigor to the technologies that power live streaming concerts that artists apply to their rehearsals. Because unlike other technology applications, there is no room for troubleshooting during the show.
Remember, the stakes are very high
Ask an artist and he will tell you that you are only as good as your last show. The same goes for technology providers who support live streaming concerts. There are a lot of great companies out there working in this field, but we can’t afford to give our ambitions or egos the experience that artists promise their fans.
We have to be honest about what we can and cannot deliver. The concert may be virtual, but we have to keep it real. If a show element can’t be delivered to the fan as promised, or is risky because it’s new and untested, then that’s not a promise neither of us should make, especially when we are feeling overwhelming pressure to close the inevitable last minute meet requirements after the shipment. Ultimately, it’s best to be more conservative about the promises we make because under and over-fulfilling are key to meeting and exceeding fan expectations in the short term and helping this area achieve its full sales growth potential over the year to achieve in the long run.
Music can make livestreams right – but only if we work together to deliver high quality experiences that are guaranteed to work every time and ensure artists can meet their fans’ expectations.
Mike Schabel is the Chief Executive Officer & President of Kiswe, the interactive video company. Previously, he was General Manager Small Cells Business at Alcatel-Lucent and General Manager and Co-Founder of the Wireless Network Guardian at Alcatel-Lucent.