Another instance of music’s impossible question; How can we do the live music industry justice in the current pandemic landscape? Brian Stollery from Launch has some ideas.
Last week we met with Brian Stollery, current co-founder of Launch.TV, to chat about his new venture, live-music solutions, and the future of virtual events.
(Could be more here maybe?)
Here’s what you need to know:
The Problem with Current Streaming Services
As with a majority of live streaming hosting sites and events, the artist remains undercut. Brian and Vinnie discuss how while it’s seemingly cheap to conduct a livestream, (think Instagram, Twitch, YouTube) the winner still falls in the hosting platform for payout.
So what can artists do if they want to remove the middleman? Between cloud computing, encoding, and other technical logistic costs, options are limited.
As Brian describes it, “Artists just want to show up and play.” For the average musician who doesn’t have knockout marketing budgets, setting up high fidelity video streams for an artist externally is expensive and unrealistic for most.
LaunchTV vs Streaming Alternatives
Launch is a live-streaming music membership service, producing online concerts and music programming featuring emergent artists and veteran talent from around the world. Launch is a differentiator because it truly puts the artist first. While most events would charge artists to partake, Launch does the opposite by charging the consumer. Launch’s split is competitive, offering a 50/50 payout between the Launch team and artists when hosted on their site. Launch offers a number of the features familiar to your average livestream and more, including live chat, merchandise, embedded video and more.
Applying to Launch is encouraged to all musicians regardless of apparent readiness of the artist. Their team reads all incoming requests and is willing to provide general mentorship for artists who need guidance in making their performance stream ready.
Artists in particular should be excited about streaming competitors like Launch as they are making the execution of live events significantly more worthwhile for artists needs and finances.
Live Events into 2020-2021 & Strategic Improvisation
The question was asked whether most festival planners know how to properly plan many of the events we know and love. From his experience, Brian advised us to proceed cautiously.
At this point, most are familiar with Netflix’s acclaimed documentary Fyre Festival. As more events appear on the horizon for this and next year, artists and fans are expressing skepticism Not only are they skeptical about the likelihood for events to take place, they’re equally concerned whether or not the planners are experienced to run an event of this magnitude.
“There’s a chance that every event you’ve ever known at some point resembles the Fyre Festival.” - Claims Brian. He likes to think of his experience in this space as “strategic improvisation,” and that all strong festival planners are skilled in.
For artists considering live events, it might be worthwhile to do your homework on their team to rid yourself of the headache of a poorly planned event.
Booking Agents are NOT your Enemy
The podcast discussed the idea that booking agents, at least the good ones, should not be treated as your enemy. Most booking agents work with the artist in question because they are motivated by their success and love the music. While this may be contrary to belief, their percentage share from shows was described as “laughably small.”
Future Shock in the Music Arms Race
Future shock as referenced on the podcast is societal disease from exponential tech advancement. It doesn’t take a genius to recognize that big data and tech companies have a sense of control over the information you are fed and what they know about you. The problem for musicians is that being offline today is rarely an option for successful promotion. It’s important to keep in mind that in the grand scheme of the internet, we are all still in infancy. Brian and Vinnie discussed taking steps back and managing your use and consumption of media to effectively push your brand without having devices and platforms have control over you. This is bonus for sites like Launch which are completely independent from social media.
Mystery as the New Celebrity
Future shock and social media isn’t the only topic worrying the two. In fact, both agreed that the new future for musicians might include a level of exclusivity that doesn’t include social media at all. We’ve seen successful artists navigate this route, such as Kendrick Lamar, who deploys little to no online presence. It’s easy to imagine that with current noise levels, fans might value those who say less to nothing at all. While there’s no one size fits all for strategy, this approach could be considered granted it fits your brand and strategy for your project.
What do you think? Please let us know if the comments below and tune in each week to Music Industry Chat Podcast for more. New episodes are released every Tuesday!
WRITTEN BY: Zach S. Sapita
Brian Stollery (30) has worn several hats in music. Earning his credentials first in film and at Relix Magazine, Brian has grown into a multi-instrumentalist, booking agent, and now co-founder and CEO of Launch.TV. To learn more about Brain’s full story and the extended version of the podcast,, check out the recording here: https://open.spotify.com/show/33uG3d6nnSPbed6IhzrUKP?si=wjOz5_YAT3-19nk1Vn2gvA
Brian Stollery: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brian-stollery-98318027/
Launch TV: https://www.launchglobal.co/
Vinnie Hines: https://www.instagram.com/ac_vinnie/