Spotify Is Livestreaming Virtual Concerts Now — And Charging for It

Spotify livestreaming
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Spotify livestreaming
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Photo Credit: Zachary Smith

Spotify is getting into livestreaming virtual concerts as the world begins to re-open.

The music industry has been struck particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Artists who survive by touring have been forced to find new ways to make money – primarily online. Twitch and SoundCloud partnered to make that easier, but now Spotify is entering the ring.

Spotify has announced a new live-streaming virtual concert experience to rival Fortnite and Roblox. The streaming service has announced the first of a series of what it is calling pre-recorded live shows. The Black Keys, Rag’n’Bone Man, Bleachers’ Jack Antonoff, Leon Bridges, and girl in red are just a few of the artists in the line-up.

Spotify is letting the artists choose the spot for the pre-recorded show. That means live-show venues in the case of The Black Keys, or something a little more intimate for others.

“We have always been a band that loves to play live in venues of all shapes and sizes,” The Black Keys said in a press release about the new Spotify live streams. “The past year has been tough for musicians and fans alike, so we wanted to find a way to share this live performance of songs from our new project, Delta Kream, from a place we love, the Blue Front Cafe, the oldest active juke joint in America. We’re excited to be a part of this new initiative with Spotify that will give fans a great way to connect with their favorite artists.”

Each Spotify livestream show will run for 40-75 minutes and will cost $15 per show.

The price seems kind of high for a pre-recorded session, since many indie bands offer these on their Patreon pages for a few bucks. Spotify is billing the series as an intimate look at the artists – but Spotify can sell unlimited tickets to these intimate streams.

Another question in the back of my mind is how much of the cover fee is going to the artists? Spotify didn’t disclose the revenue split with its line-up, which is questionable. Out of all the music streaming services today, Spotify and YouTube continue to pay the least per stream. In fact, Spotify has actively rejected adopting the penny-per-stream rate being pushed by some activists in the UK and the US.

When TechCrunch reached out to clarify how much artists will get, a Spotify spokesperson simply said: “All artists will receive a guaranteed fee for their participation in the livestream.”