A-Live And Streaming
Streaming is the new live.
So, how does a band survive pandemic/lock-downs, when most of the venues have closed? Depending where you are in the world some venus are opening up but with crowd restrictions. This in turn puts pressure on the venues, bar turnover is down due to smaller audiences allowed in at any one time, less meals ordered (if they serve food) through the kitchen etc.
Yet the venue wants to try and get back to being a venue and return live music. But how can they afford it, when their turnover is a fraction of what it used to be? Even when things were good paying for bands has always been a gamble and a lot of venues would turn to door deals or a small guarantee verses a percentage of the bar. This has never been great for the musicians and most times you end up playing for very little.
Australia (Aus) is open for business but not at full capacity in all venues yet. Theatres are doing well, especially mid-size Theatres. Because of the lock-downs and loss of income, people have been starved of entertainment and are ready for being entertained again but they still are cautious on price. Small to midsize Theatres offer that.
Here in Aus, this has really opened up tribute acts again big time! They are selling out all around the country playing small to midsize Theatres and the audiences are lapping it up.
But what about the independent music scene? Well, it wasn't good before Covid,so you can imagine it's worse now. There's never been a lot of money offered to original bands, as mentioned earlier, most venues resort to the bring your own crowd and put on a door charge, or we will pay you 10/15% of the beer and wine takings.
As much as I hate this deal, I also understand that most venues can't afford to pay $600-$800 a band per night. Their running costs are huge, with staffing, the amount they have to pay for alcohol taxes, liquor license, insurance etc.
Trying to get out and play live again is so important to a band/artists craft, keeping that live performance fitness up is key and right now we are back out the trying to book some shows ourselves, regardless of if there's money or not, we just want to play.
Now, thanks to this pandemic, many artist have turned to live streaming their performances. This is now becoming huge, throughout the world, because of the necessity and desperation of an artist needing to perform. One because they just might earn a few dollars and two to tame that need to play. A musician that can't perform is like a bear in a cage being poked with a stick.
Welter has jumped onto this streaming trend, what we have found is that the streaming world is 90% solo or duo acts, mainly because it's so much easier as far as equipment needed and set up, compared to trying to stream a full band but we have persevered and have invested in the equipment needed. The other is, which is no different to venue gigs, there's only one to two mouths to feed, not four or five or more, so you don't need to make as much in tips or donations, which most acts have a link to a paypal tip jar.
There's a lot of these types of acts now hitting the dedicated streaming platforms like Twitch or Sessions because there's more of a captive crowd on those platforms, some acts, not many but some, are making a sizable income out of it but the downside to these platforms is the 30% to 50% cut they take from your donations, plus you can wait up to 2-3 months to get paid, the other is how long and how often you have to stream. I have seen many acts streaming for 8 hours, 3 to 4 times a week, I think that's insane.
We have decided for the time being to keep streaming on Facebook and if someone wants to tip us, we have a tip/donations page on our shop site, this way the tipper knows that the money is going to Welter and not some third party first.
So what does the future hold? Personally I think streaming is here to stay, Covid is not going away anytime soon. Lets face it, why lug and load your gear into a shitty little venue for no money, to play to a hand full of people, when you can potentially play in front of thousands of new fans from all around the world. I mean, even if you filled the place it's still just a hundred or so that you play for, yes there's a different energy in front of a live audience, instant gratification and as an artist that's what we all love and we won't ever stop playing a venue gig, just for that reason alone...A camera doesn't scream and applaud you.
But the potential exposure in streaming live, is a game changer for independent bands that you just don't get playing at the local. "Streaming is the new live" and it sure ain't going away anytime soon. So we intend to embrace it and mix it up with some live shows, let's face it we need the venue shows to keep our egos in check :)