How to Run a Best In-Class Livestream Event

"You start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible, and then suddenly you’re doing the impossible.”

To steal a quote from Francis of Assisi, I think nothing better represents the challenges faced by the live-entertainment industry this year. On the backdrop of uncertainty, artists continue to up the ante when it comes to how they’re re-engaging their fans. Most notable is the surge of interest in paid Livestream events, with Bandsintown reporting a 577% increase between July 1st and September 30th. However, while paid Livestream events are a great way to reach fans and increase revenue, they can fall flat when you don’t keep your fans in mind.

The use of Livestreaming has transformed since the beginning of the pandemic from a bandaid solution, to a technological feat that connects fans to music and artists in new ways. Billie Eilish and Travis Scott have blown fans away with XR fuelled performances, and while these huge artists have access to more resources than most, there’s lots to learn from their successes. We've put together 5 tips that any band or artist can do to pull off a successful Livestream event.

A Roadmap to Livestream Success

1. It Starts With Authenticity

Authenticity is foundational to a fan-centric livestream, just as it is to creating a strong fan base. Just about anyone can stand in front of a camera and stream live - the differentiating factor for artists is in building a story that is authentic to their journey and brand. The motivation and message behind a livestream can really make an impact with fans, so artists need to be thoughtful about the event that they’re staging.

Billie Eilish tapped into live streaming as a means for her artistic expression and dug in deep creating a beautiful, dark world for her fans. Her boldness played off because she invited fans into her unique world - one that they are loyal to.

If you don’t have the type of cash that can fund a digital recreation of your inner artistic world, you can still engage fans with an authentic story. Devin Townsend started performing Livestream concerts in April, with all proceeds and tips going towards medical charities. While his streams were more traditional, he stayed true to his brand and his fans throughout - giving them weird camera angles and inviting them into his quirky, good-guy world.

Both streams were successful because each artist controlled their messaging, had strategic motivations and stayed authentic to their brands.

2. Promote Promote Promote

There’s a saying, “If you build it, they will come” but only if fans hear about it. 2020 is a digital jungle, and it takes strategic planning and effort to be heard amongst all the noise. Pre-event promotion is essential across all your social channels at the very least, and the more effort you put into creating hype around your Livestream, the more likely it is to be a success. Stay creative with your promotion and meet fans where they’re at. Plan with your partners and sponsors to have choreographed digital activations across the board, and get fans to participate in building hype around the event.

Tools: Spotify continues to be a powerhouse tool, and this year we have seen artists digging in deep with the platform. Eilish used Spotify Canvas to tease fans with elements of her livestream before it’s release and invited top fans on Spotify to an ltd merch sale before the show. Along the same vein, Brandy and TI required a Spotify pre-save before fans could enter their campaigns, promoting their streams while capturing fan data in the process. Ltd Merch can also be used as a promotional tool in and of itself. Linkin Park and Lamb of God approached their live streams a little differently and integrated their merch sales with tickets. If fans bought a piece of their promotional merch, they’d also have a ticket into the Livestream.

Partnerships: Building out digital activation campaigns with partners is another great way to create hype around your digital event, and collect data. Campaigns like “spin to wins” or “giveaways” will entice fans to share more about the livestream in the days leading up to it, and managing your messaging across multiple partners gets you closer to more fans.

Cross-Platform Marketing: The reality is, we live in a pay-to-play world now and if you plan to cut through the noise of algorithms, you need to make sure your event promo is actually being seen by your fans. Ensure you have a cross-platform promotional strategy that includes both organic and paid social, email and SMS (if you have a database of numbers you can legally message). Don't have an SMS strategy? Now is a good time to start building one.

Moral of the story? Your promotion should match the effort you put into your livestream if you want eyeballs and fans to get excited about it.

3. Plan the Full Fan Experience Journey

Your fans are paying for an experience - blow them away with it. A livestream doesn’t have to be just the main performance, in fact, we encourage it not to be. An immersive fan experience should try to mimic the experience of fans going to an actual show, with pre-show and post-show opportunities.

Staging Room: Eilish focused her “staging room” around topics important to her, and set up experiences for fans that decided to tune in early. Not only did she set up a voting room, but she pre-recorded videos starting an hour before the show. These videos included Gucci’s new campaign, a teaser for her Apple TV + documentary, and more opportunities to purchase merch - allowing her to create her own gated advertising event. Beyond that, she also dug into things that would create a story for her fans, including interviews with her crew, addresses from Jameela Jamil, Alicia Keys and Lizzo, and interactive quizzes. Introducing UGC here is another way to engage with your community by shouting out different fans and displaying videos and photos from your global audience. Eilish blew her fans away by creating a community experience before the actual event, and this idea of pre-recorded videos and content is something that many artists should consider.

Post-Show: Mariana’s Trench decided to pull together their community post-show, by participating in a live Q&A session with fans tuned into their livestream. They invited fans into their homes and shared stories that were a perfect mix of excitement and nostalgia alike.
Another idea is encouraging fans to take videos/photos of their experience during the livestream with their friends, to call-back to them after the event with other digital campaigns.

The amount of livestreams put on by artists has been growing rapidly, stand out by creating community moments before and after your main event.

4. Content to Commerce

Merchandise. It’s been mentioned twice already, so we’ll keep it short and sweet, but it’s an important consideration during your livestream. While your fans are in your livestream, leverage their attention to promote important milestones and exclusives like merchandise. Your livestream has likely drawn in your highest quality leads, so use the chance to upsell them and shout out future projects. Keep in mind that these fans deserve special attention, so if you’re promoting merch, it’s a good idea to make it exclusive to livestream attendees.

Make the merch experience seamless during your livestream, so it’s as simple as clicking a few buttons. Peach Pit did a fantastic job promoting exclusive merch to their most loyal fans during their livestream, and were able to reach a 50% conversion rate by making it easy for fans to purchase during the show. They also shouted out their tour dates for 2021, letting fans know to keep up-to-date with them over the coming months.

5. Make your Stream Interactive

We’ve reached the point where cold-hard-cash can make a difference in the product you present to fans, but creative outreach can bridge the gap. While planning your livestream, think about how you want your fans to think, feel and engage with you - while XR tech isn’t available to everyone, you can leverage other interactions. Chatrooms and opportunities for fans to communicate with each other is an essential element to creating community during your event, using both global and private chat rooms. Allow fans to show their enthusiasm with 'make noise' buttons, and donation jars. Invite fans to participate in polls for next songs, or trivia to take them back through your artist journey. Think about your production - multiple camera angles can give fans more control over their viewing experience, or a specific event location might speak volumes to fans. Consider building a storyline to your stream as well.

Joji created multiple sets for his livestream where he combined his comedic background with stunning vocals and quirky skits. While he didn’t have the dramatic overlays Eilish did, he created a world for his fans by tapping into his previous talents as a Youtube phenomenon. Breaking up his song and sets in a way that spoke to his history was a great way to pay tribute to the fans who’ve followed his entire journey.

Interaction with fans during your livestream can come in many different forms, and there are possibilities for artists across different resource brackets.

Key Takeaways

Fan interest in paid livestreaming events are piqued so deliver them an amazing experience by considering the following:

  • Stay authentic to your brand and fan base

  • Invest in pre-promotion and get creative

  • Put on a purposeful pre-show and post-show to nurture your fan community

  • Make merch opportunities more seamless

  • Think about your overall fan experience when planning your Livestream - make it fan-focused

Eager to create an interactive livestreaming experience? Contact Us for a free consultation on how you can implement an immersive livestreaming experience for your fans with Tradable Bits


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