Move Over, Twitch — Musicians Can Now Charge for Facebook Live Events

Facebook live events
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Facebook live events
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Photo Credit: Priscilla Du Preez

Musicians will now be able to monetize their appearances thanks to Facebook Live Events.

The new Live Events feature launched on Friday for businesses in the United States, as well as 19 other countries. Head of Facebook App Fidji Simo says the feature was developed quickly to cater to the public’s needs during the pandemic. Twitch made a similar pivot, partnering with SoundCloud to onboard musicians to its platform.

Musicians will be able to host large gatherings using Facebook Live and charge an entry fee. The event can be promoted online, like any live stream. Facebook collects the payment and hosts the event, paying the artist after the event is over.

Some of the paid events that were organized during the beta period include talks, podcast recordings, cooking classes, meet-and-greets, and fitness classes. But it’s not hard to see how musicians could use it as a tool to support themselves during the pandemic.

“With social distancing mandates still in place, many businesses and creators are bringing their events and services online to connect with existing customers and reach new ones,” Simo wrote. “People are also relying on live video and interactive experiences more when they can’t come together physically.”

Facebook Live Events will not collect any fees from paid events for the next year. That means 100% of the proceeds (not taken by Apple) will go to artists. Facebook made sure to highlight that fact on its blog.

“We asked Apple to reduce its 30% App Store tax or allow us to offer Facebook Pay so we could absorb all costs for businesses struggling during COVID-19. Unfortunately, they dismissed both our requests, and SMBs will only be paid 70% of their hard-earned revenue. Because this is complicated, as long as Facebook is waiving its fees, we will make all fees clear in our products,” the blog post reads.

A screenshot shows the iOS version of Facebook Live Events includes an additional disclaimer “Apple takes 30% of this purchase.” The message on Android reads, “Facebook doesn’t take a fee from this purchase.” That’s because Google decided to waive its 30% of transactions.

While the new feature will certainly help musicians, it also places pressure on Apple. This is yet another app that is impacted by the 30% tax. Does Apple deserve 30% of an iPhone user’s $5 donation to her favorite DJ? When you compound that by millions, it’s easy to see why the App Store tax needs to be revised.

4 Responses

  1. SiFr

    Never let it be said that you won’t take Facebook’s bait. I guess this is what happens when you think Facebook is helping artists rather than using them to collect behavioral data on all their “fans” which Facebook then exploits for a lot more profit than any artists will ever make by using Facebook. But hey, if any starving artists want to do a billionaire’s dirty work at no charge, who’s to stop them?

  2. Johnny

    I have a long list of friends who are among the 800 MILLION Amateur musicians who are all wasting their time making new music, while thinking they can all get rich doing so. Maybe they should first talk to the 60% of Pro musicians who have quit the music business before they waste their time making music for YouTube, Spotify and Facebook! The era of dreadful music is upon us!

    • Ace Prair

      Hey Man.

      Making music is no waist of time! Only the record labels and radio shows have the power to making money for you.
      If you make a deal, rest to it and make your profit.
      Not everyone is getting famous, it is spending money and the politics of the music radio scene and records labels #spinningyoursongs. That will brings you where you want to be.

      This is just a hard world.