Lessons from the Keep Listening Livestreams

Lessons from the Keep Listening Livestreams
Keep ListeningJuly 6, 2020

We launched Sofar’s listening room ten days after we canceled live shows. It was a real pivot from putting on shows in hundreds of cities to showcasing just one livestream a day, especially never having done them before but finding a way to support artists financially and connect them with their fans pushed us to get up and running as quickly as possible. 

Fast forward 100 days, and we’ve now put on 100 livestreams, featuring amazing performances from up-and-coming, independent artists of all genres from all over the globe. 

Now that we’ve put on 100 shows, what have we learned along the way?

Audiences from far and wide will join a show.

It’s a powerful way to bring people together globally. We’ve had people tune in from Russia, Costa Rica, Mexico, France, Germany, Turkey, the United States, Poland, Argentina, the UK, Colombia, Belgium,Italy and more. Overall, 45,000 have viewed the shows live on our website with hundreds tuning in live and thousands more watching on YouTube. Around 340,000 have viewed the listening room videos in total.

People are super generous.

There have been fantastic performances and some genuine surprises along the way.  One artist, Scarypoolparty from Los Angeles, made $10,000 in donations. The average artist has earned around $500 per show, including the $100 fee from Sofar. Overall, donations direct to artists have reached $38,000. 

Less is more.

We started out thinking we’d scale up, but we’ve found that one show a day is working best for audiences who seem to prefer 3pm ET/8pm UK for tuning in. This gives us the opportunity to make sure each artist feels supported and that we can give them our focus.

Advance soundchecks are essential.

Artists having to be their own sound engineer, learn new tech and perform at the same time can be daunting, so three days before their show, we put a producer in touch with the artist to understand their setup, test the tech and talk about run of show so they feel comfortable on the day they go live. 

Our artists and community are amazing.

Ok, we already knew that, but seeing artists starting to learn and use this technology on the fly, then in turn shout out to our producers in the way that they would for a sound person in a ‘real show’ makes us feel really inspired by our community.

We’ve had some unusual challenges along the way — the supply chain for equipment has been sketchy at best — but 100 shows down with a ton more exciting ones to come, we hope you can join us as we carry on into the summer and beyond.

Header image is of The Bloom Experience by Bailey Elizabeth Rogers