Festival Summit: Streaming & artist engagement
Chair: Jake Beaumont-Nesbitt, IMMF
Ruth Barlow, Beggars Group (UK)
Andras Berta, Sziget/Yourope (HU)
Rob Challice, CODA Agency (UK)
Ben Challis, Glastonbury Festival (UK)
Lars-Oliver Vogt, Live Nation (DE)
Artists are looking into multiple income streams today. One of them could be the exploitation of live streams and recorded streams. However, clearing online streaming rights isn’t the easiest thing to do, and a service like YouTube may reach an artist’s target audience but does not pay for the artist’s content.
The festival promoters on the panel emphasised the promotion that a well-produced festival after-movie could generate for all involved. The managers and agents on the panel were a bit sceptical about the actual benefits for artists, claiming that such videos chiefly enhanced the festival brand. Vogt was of the opinion that artists had to be looked at as brands as well, and that mere exposure was helpful, especially for lesser-known bands.
Barlow pointed out that there were cases in which she’d happily allow a festival to use her artists’ footage for free if the reach is indeed wide enough. She then said, however, how difficult it was to get the actual numbers from the festivals.
Challice pointed out that some festivals simply added a very vaguely worded broadcasting rights clause to their artist offerings, which didn’t help. Clearing rights can be a time-consuming, fastidious task after all. Barlow added that when artists played a festival, they were usually in the middle of a campaign, and if all festivals wanted the rights to broadcast their concerts, it may cannibalise the actual campaign efforts.
Barlow and Challice were much more fond of a system like the BBC in the UK, who have blanket licences with all the rights holders and have a “proven audience.” They were happy to put their artists on stage at Glastonbury, which has a deal in place with the BBC. And even though the festival pays substandard fees and the income the BBC licence generates is negligible, the exposure artists got from playing the event more than made up for it.
Berta said he couldn’t help but think of the BBC as a dinosaur. “I want to go after the fans. Where they are, that’s where I want to be.”
To which Vogt agreed, emphasising that the BBC was a phenomenon. “In most markets, public broadcasters are dead. We’re selling tickets to 14 to 25 year olds on average. And we need to be out there, on the media they use daily.”
He added that if one didn’t participate on YouTube, Facebook or Snapchat for example, fans would go find the video of “some asshole recorded with his mobile phone, that looks shit and doesn’t do anyone any favours.”
Challice concluded that agents have evolved from the gatekeepers for live into gatekeepers for a lot of additional revenue streams, although it could be questioned whether revenues are actually generated. Challis for example said that Glastonbury had been approached by a couple of major streaming services who wanted to stream the event, but that there was no money involved. “If someone approaches us with a brand that want to benefit from the content, we want to get paid.”
“Absolutely,” added Barlow. Berta, on the one hand, had a hard time understanding the caution with which the other panellists approached the usage of artists’ concert footage. On the other hand, he was pleased that a conversation about the topic had finally got going.