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TECH BREAK: Facebook to introduce paid livestreams for musicians and other creators

Thursday May 14 2020

Facebook is set to provide a new way for performers to earn money on the platform. PHOTO| FILE

Facebook is set to provide a new way for performers to earn money on the platform. PHOTO| FILE 

HILLARY KIMUYU
By HILLARY KIMUYU
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Facebook is set to provide a new way for performers to earn money on the platform.

The social networking service is adding more features for Facebook Live real-time videos, including a way to charge for access to content.

This comes as the landscape for streaming has changed dramatically in the past weeks and months, as the world locks down and clubs and venues remain closed.

Users can soon set up ‘online-only’ events and users can ‘purchase access’ in advance, and non-profits can add a donate button to their stream.

“To support creators and small businesses, we plan to add the ability for pages to charge for access to events with live videos on Facebook – anything from online performances to classes to professional conferences,” the announcement reads in part.

In an announcement titled “Introducing Messenger Rooms and more ways to connect when you’re apart,” the company also announced that it will be expanding its “Stars” tipping system to musicians.

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In it, a performer can receive “tips” when users send them a “Star”.

The company did not specify when that option will become available or provide further details, including whether there is a limit on how much a performer can charge or whether Facebook will charge a fee or percentage.

As the coronavirus forces people into their homes, a new breed of the influencer is emerging online.

With the new reality of social distancing, public figures and creators are now connecting with their communities and engaging with them in new and creative ways.

Social media platforms including YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram are reaching out to their creators to continue to make engaging videos during the lockdown as users turn to social media for entertainment.

Facebook, along with Instagram Live, has become a go-to platform for musicians livestreaming since the coronavirus lockdown cancelled virtually every music tour across the globe, but monetising those streams has not been an option, except for donations to certain non-profit organizations.

While livestreaming as a business is in its embryonic stages, musicians have found other ways to both monetize them and connect with fans and there is plenty more to come in the months ahead, as the coronavirus lockdown continues with no clear date when live concerts will again be a safe option for fans or musicians.

The Koroga Festival for the first time ever staged a virtual concert featuring Distruction Boyz from Durban a week ago. The event was streamed live on their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Sol Generation also held a zoom call and sang a song together pushing the popularity of the brands to new heights. Sauti Sol has also been posting videos on their personal Instagram accounts just to keep their fans in the loop of all things entertainment and where among the first ones in Kenya to hold a concert for their fans on Instagram.

It doesn’t stop there. Artists like Nyashinski have been able to have pre-concerts and even release albums right on YouTube.

Moving on to the international space, the likes of Sam Smith are doing covers of their own songs on YouTube. He notes that he wants to give his fans the feeling of a private concert right in their own homes.

Some of the biggest names in the global music industry joined forces to celebrate healthcare workers across the globe in a televised concert.

The biggest social media concert was “One World: Together at Home” which was not-a-fundraiser, not-a-telethon but an all-star concert was a genuinely heartfelt and effective moment for people to come together, and celebrate health workers at the front line fighting Covid-19.

The concert was organised by the Global Citizen movement and the World Health Organization (WHO).

New technology has made it possible to conduct augmented reality shows, in which artist avatars are projected onto a stage or scenery, as well as full-on virtual reality concerts.

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