Deezer appeals to the digital stage

The French streaming service joins the concert streaming platform as a “major investor”. Others are also betting that digital concerts will continue to be in demand after the pandemic.

Jan Vogler (right) belongs to the founding trio of Dreamstage.

DDigital concerts – whether streamed live or pre-produced – have inevitably moved more into the focus of the music world in the wake of the pandemic. A great opportunity for existing platforms and at the same time an incentive for new providers in the segment such as Dreamstage; founded in summer 2020 by Jan Vogler, cellist and director of the Dresden Music Festival, former Bertelsmann board member and Sony Music manager Thomas Hesse and Scott Chasin, a former technology director at McAfee.

The trio is now getting a new partner with the music streaming service Deezer, as both companies announced on Wednesday afternoon. Nothing was known about financial details, but Deezer would be a “major investor”, and Deezer boss Hans-Holger Albrecht and CFO Laurent Cordonnier will be part of the Dreamstage board in the future, the French company said when asked. The participation should contribute to the further roll-out of Dreamstage and “to expand the content orientation and to gain market share”.

With 16 million monthly active users more than a year ago, Deezer is a rather smaller streaming service behind Spotify, Apple and Amazon Music. Market leader Spotify had 356 million monthly active users at the end of the first quarter of 2021. One of Deezer’s core investors is the holding company of oligarch Leonard “Len” Blavatnik, Access Industries, which among other things also holds the majority in the music company Warner Music. The service was last valued at 1.3 billion euros.

Are streaming shows worthwhile even after Corona?

In addition to Stageit, Veeps or Maestro, Dreamstage is one of various concert streaming platforms that give artists the opportunity to sell tickets for their performances. In addition, depending on the offer, there are also options for interaction with fans, various freely selectable camera settings or an integrated fan article shop. According to the company, more than 50 digital concerts have now taken place via Dreamstage, and competitors are likely to have significantly more in some cases. Dreamstage itself always emphasizes the high quality of the shows: “We have found a partner who normally only does very large broadcasts and provides us with his technology for every concert,” said Thomas Hesse in an interview with FAZ Wer last July Netflix is ​​used to get a comparable quality.

At the beginning of the crisis, many artists initially used Instagram, Facebook, Twitch or Youtube to keep in touch with their fans with small appearances and, if necessary, to collect donations. However, the quality of these videos mostly left a lot to be desired and it was often emphasized that the stimulus evaporated quickly. In the meantime, various large and also smaller acts of various genres have noticeably dared to attend professionally produced and paid streaming concerts. Many series of events, some of which are non-commercial, have also arisen to at least offer artists a stage in the pandemic.

Whether such a show pays off for musicians depends not only on the number of paying viewers but also on the effort involved. Depending on the size of the production and the desired staging, for example with 3D effects or virtual reality, a concert can quickly cost a high five-, six- or even seven-figure sum. For superstars like Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa or BTS, such production costs naturally represent a rather low financial risk in view of the number of viewers to be expected. For lesser-known artists, it is naturally much more difficult to weigh them up.

BTS reached almost a million fans digitally

Hardly anyone in the industry sees the digital versions as an equivalent substitute for normal concerts. But it’s not just Deezer and Dreamstage that are counting on them to function as a supplement after the pandemic. The advantages are obvious: after all, even a world tour can only attract a limited number of fans. With a broadcast of one or more shows, possibly also produced in parallel, an unlimited number of additional fans from other regions can be reached. Various industry giants also rely on this.

Live Nation, for example, the largest concert organizer in the world, took over the majority of the Veeps platform at the beginning of the year. In April, the company announced that it would equip 60 concert venues with the technology required for live streams. Sony Music, in turn, participated in Maestro’s most recent financing round. This platform featured Billie Eilish’s opulent streaming concert last fall.

Universal Music has also discovered the field for itself. The largest music company in the world invested in the live streaming platform Venewlive together with YG Entertainment, a South Korean music company. The South Korean agency Hybe (formerly Big Hit Entertainment), which is best known as a partner of BTS, is also involved in this. The two streaming shows of the K-Pop stars also took place on Venewlive. The first was watched by 765,000 paying fans and the second was 993,000.