On April 28, 2020, Chris Carrabba and the Dashboard Confessional team did something that countless artists across the world were doing in the weeks before and the (many) months to follow: fired up the cameras and played a show for fans to enjoy from the comfort of their own home — at the time, the only shows happening.
What made this stream special in the moment for those fans is what has made countless streams special over the last 15 months. It provided entertainment, connection, distraction — whatever they needed to navigate some uncertain times. And what made this livestream special for us at Single Music? It was our entrance into the wild world of ticketing and hosting virtual shows, starting a special new chapter in our mission of connecting bands and fans.
Fast forward a year (wow) and we’ve now supported over 400 livestreams, selling more than 750,000 tickets for artists like Jimmy Eat World, Young The Giant, Maren Morris, Underoath, Billy Strings, Marcus King Band, Ben Rector, Needtobreathe, All Time Low, Dashboard Confessional, Bob Weir, Allen Stone, Noah Gundersen, New Found Glory, Michael Franti, St Paul & The Broken Bones, Falling In Reverse, Consequence of Sound’s “Protect Live Music” Festival, Foy Vance, Ingrid Michaelson, The Hold Steady, Andrew McMahon, Puscifer & many dozens more.
Our approach to streaming has always revolved around a simple question: Why send fans somewhere else to watch a private livestream when you already have a beautiful Shopify store with merch & music available? Hosting shows directly within an existing Shopify store made sense to us, and has since proven to be a financial no-brainer for artists.
From the start, we focused on digital content being bundled with physical merchandise. Early in “COVID times” we noticed a trend of livestream platforms with a percentage-of-sales business model, which we had a hard time swallowing. Why should a streaming company get a portion of your t-shirt sales (a question we’re still asking, by the way)? By focusing on tickets+physical as a single transaction for livestream concerts, artists partnered with Single Music have inverted the typical model of purchasing on the way “out”, to 60% buying merch on the way “in.”
We take zero cut of physical merchandise. It doesn’t belong to us, so why should we get paid for it? Our flat fee rate of $1 per ticket sold keeps more money in artists pockets than a percentage model of 10-15% of gross revenue.
Has it worked? We sure think so. In the last 12 months, during what could arguably be the darkest year in history for touring acts, we’ve helped generate over $20 million for artists, venues, promoters and agencies using practical tools in this direct-to-fan sales model.
We’re proud of these accomplishments - but we, like you, are asking the logical question: what’s next? What’s the future of livestreams? Nothing will replace the experience of a live show, and we’re all anxious to get back to them. But there’s little doubt that streaming has embedded itself as part of the industry’s future. This tool for meaningful fan connections wasn’t invented by COVID (though accelerated and refined, for certain) — and it’s not going away in a post-pandemic world.
Shows will not just resume, they’ll now find a way to happen at a faster rate than even before. Artists will continue (or begin) to invite fans to join live tour dates virtually. They’ll promote upcoming tours or conduct meet-and-greets in online hangout sessions. “Tour cycles” may forever change as artists now know how easily they can reach fans in less accessible areas of countries, and they’ll serve those areas virtually when off the road. There will always be a place for unique experiences that just aren’t possible to produce on stage.
In a year when live music was put on hold, the industry rallied to ensure that the show(s) did, indeed, go on, and we’re proud and honored to be a part of that. We’d like to extend a sincere thanks to all the artists who have trusted us with their livestreams this year, and through those artists, all the fans who tuned in. Whether you’re gearing up to surf the rail in person, or content to keep rocking in your PJs, we hope to see you at a show real soon!
— Tommy Stalknecht, CEO & Founder of Single Music
Learn more about our Livestream Ticketing feature here