The New Content Play: Strategies From Billie to BTS; Norah To Etheridge

The New Content

Strategies From Billie to BTS; Norah To Etheridge


There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to live-stream concerts, which gives artists a range of options and the chance to make the medium their own.

Mega stars like Billie Eilish and BTS have opted to limit their livestream appearances during the pandemic to one or two ticketed concerts (756,000 fans viewed BTS’ livestream in June, with tickets starting at $26) while going all out on production, including Eilish’s virtual world of “Where Do We Go? The Livestream” in October featuring a supersized spider and hungry shark.  

For acts like Norah Jones, the cozy intimacy of her living room performances and the weekly consistently is part of the appeal as she continues streaming free mini sets each Thursday via Facebook since March. The sets – which highlight Jones’ artistry and bring attention to worthy charities in each post – nabbed the top spot by an artist on Pollstar’s Q3 chart with more than 6.9 million views. 

Melissa Etheridge (above) was also streaming early in the pandemic, with 58 free performances on Facebook March-May totaling 7.3 million views. 

“What’s important is her relationship with her fans,” manager Deb Klein of Primary Wave Talent Management says. “Performing, the way it makes her feel, the way it makes them feel – it’s a very symbiotic two-way street. … Melissa wanted to be consistent. And I think this goes back to her early career where she played the bars and was there five nights a week and she did three sets a night.” 

Etheridge continued that work ethic by launching Etheridge TV, a subscription featuring five one-hour livestreams and talk shows each week (Cover Song Tuesday, Linda and Me, Mamma’s Choice, Friday Night Videos, and the Saturday Night Concert) filmed in her home studio. Since June she’s had 1,000 monthly subscribers per month at $50, along with selling a couple of thousand single tickets per month for $10. And she’s just introduced a VIP option for fans to attend soundcheck and virtually go backstage for a one-on-one meet and greet.  

Livestreaming also helps up-and-coming artists get their names out there, like 30-year-old blues singer/songwriter Jackie Venson, who ranked No. 9 on the Top 50 Livestreamers Chart for Q3 with 1.58 million views.

“I’d rather do a stream for 100,000 people for free and have 100,000 people know who I am [rather] than maybe sell 75 tickets at $10 a ticket. 100,000 people seeing me? That’s immeasurable,” Venson said. “When the world comes back on, one of those people might have been a promoter that’s gonna pay me 20 Gs to headline a festival. … I’m just trying to get people to hear my stuff, man.”

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