Virtual Music Venues
The Philadelphia Orchestra, Stage 317 in Farmingdale, Marie's Crisis, Club Cumming, and House of Yes are examples of venues presently offering virtual events, in the wake of COVID-19. Most of these platforms are streaming live on their websites, social media platforms, and chat applications like Zoom. Examples of best practices for hosting a virtual concert online include monetizing the event, extending the reach, and promoting the event.
I. Venues Offering Virtual Events
Tiny Desk at Home Concerts
- Tiny Desk at Home Concerts has transformed NPR’s small studio space to work as a live streaming platform to support various artists during COVID-19 quarantine. Bob Boilen, who creates and hosts NPR's All Songs Considered, will also host the Tiny Desk at Home Concerts.
- Artists are encouraged to record a set of songs spanning 15-20 minutes using the devices in their homes, including performing behind a desk of their choosing. Various artists, including Kirby, Baby Rose, Sa-Roc, Lara Downes, etc., have emulated the idea of Tiny Desk at Home Concert.
- Once the performances end, the songs are then archived on YouTube. Kirby's performance on June 11, 2020, attracted more than 15,000 views on NPR's Music channel on YouTube.
- The songs and performances are live streamed free on the NPR website and various streaming platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
Virtual Philadelphia Orchestra
- The Philadelphia Orchestra is another venue that has gone virtual as well through their website, "Virtual Philadelphia Orchestra." Every Thursday, the organization shares a previously unreleased or past Philadelphia Orchestra performance.
- The William Penn Foundation, partly funds the Virtual Philadelphia Orchestra, while Wells Fargo supports the Virtual Philadelphia Orchestra — LEARN initiatives.
- Users can either donate to the website or buy tickets; however, the website does not indicate the exact price for the virtual events tickets. The events are also marketed on the Philadelphia Orchestra website and social media platforms like Facebook.
- Users can live stream performances on the Philadelphia Orchestra website or Facebook. A recent performance on the platform dubbed, "HearTOGETHER: A Healing Conversation in Music and Words," garnered 27k views on Facebook and 518 comments.
Stage 317 in Farmingdale
- Stage 317 in Farmingdale has also launched a virtual concert series, dubbed "Feeding Farmingdale." It markets its events on its website and across its social media platforms.
- Stage 317, a venue inside 317 Main Street restaurant, invites local bands to perform to no audience while streaming live on Facebook Live.
- The virtual venue accepts donations to buy food for needy families in Farmingdale. A recent stream on Facebook — 'DRIVE The Cars Tribute' attracted 37 views and two likes.
- Unfortunately, the virtual concert does not provide tickets but accepts donations from users.
- The Lincoln Center recently launched 'Lincoln Center At Home,' for live streaming performances and pop-up classes. These performances and classes can be streamed and accessed from the Lincoln Center website.
- The platform also provides on-demand events, which primarily feature recent and older performances from renowned musicians and artists.
- Lincoln Center at Home advertises its events on its website and social media pages. The virtual performances aim at providing many households in the U.S. with creative entertainment options during COVID-19 quarantine.
- The Lincoln Center at Home does not issue tickets; instead, it encourages people to donate towards their course, which they are already funding by the Fountain Fund.
- Marie's Crisis is currently open as a piano bar following the COVID-19 stay at home policy. Every night, Marie's Crisis features talented pianists who live stream their sets to Marie's Crisis fans on Facebook Live.
- Interested individuals apply to join Marie's Crisis group on Facebook to live stream the sets. The pianists play for hours and usually take requests from the listeners.
- Marie's Crisis website includes one option for reserving reservations; therefore, it is likely advertising its pianist performances on social media, and specifically to its members since its Facebook group is closed (for private members only).
- Pianists receive tips from the fans via Venmo and other online payment platforms. The schedule for the next performances is also shared online across numerous websites.
- Nowadays, a popular New York City dance club has also gone virtual to continue entertaining its fans during COVID-19 quarantine.
- The venue has created a subcategory on its website for live streaming. It advertises its scheduled events on its website and social media — Facebook and Twitter.
- Just like other virtual venues, Nowadays encourages its viewers and listeners to donate via Patreon to support artists, and Nowadays Staff Help Venmo to support the staff.
- Nowaday's DJs deliver the much-needed entertainment for fans to enjoy indoors. Other events streamed live include basic DJ tutorials and sets.
House of Yes
- House of Yes in New York City has also transformed its venue to host virtual dance parties and other music and dance concerts online.
- The venue hosts ticketed events and accepts donations via Cashapp, PayPal and Venmo.
- The events are also advertised on the company website and social media pages.
- House of Yes uses the Zoom platform to host its events and capped the attendance of its last performance at 100.
- Club Cumming is among the many venues in New York City that are working hard to keep their fans entertained in their homes online.
- "Resident performers and DJs at Club Cumming" ensure the club's schedule runs normal and online. The club advertises its events via its website and Facebook.
- Every Saturday afternoon, one of the club's DJ — Bright Light streams popular 1980s-themed tea dance via Facebook.
- Fans can donate to the club to support its various courses, including Black Lives Matter, its staff, and talent. Accepted payment options include Visa, PayPal, Discover, MasterCard, etc.
II. Best Practices for Hosting a Virtual Concert Online
- Monetizing virtual events allows the host to charge all attendees registration fees. Platforms like Zoom, which have a PayPal integration, provide a seamless payment structure for the host and all attendees.
- Payment options help to reduce the worries of event planners and hosts regarding generating income; therefore, organizers can focus more on delivering a memorable event.
- Integrating PayPal and other online payment platforms to a virtual event ensure that when users are registering for an event, they are redirected to PayPal to pay for the event before they receive instructions on how to join the concert.
- Overall, monetizing an event helps to drive revenue for the host.
- Despite the numerous tools available for hosting virtual events, their reach is limited.
- In this regard, several platforms can extend the reach of a virtual event hosted on a platform like Zoom.
- Platforms like Zoom can be shared and broadcasted across other custom live stream integrations, social media platforms like "Facebook Live, Facebook Workplace, and YouTube Live."
- Integrations with other platforms ensure that some users can stream an event via social media platforms, which extend the reach of the event effortlessly, considering the massive followership on platforms like Facebook.
- Creating an event and waiting for people to attend can be a fallacy; however, creating and promoting an event increases the likelihood of many people attending.
- On that note, experts advise virtual event planners to identify the primary selling points the event has to offer attendees. Such selling points include "a noteworthy speaker, skill-sharing, an opportunity to network," etc.
- Depending on an event's key selling point, the value proposition must be communicated clearly in the marketing of the event. The promotions also need to start earlier because "registrations appear to increase two-to-three weeks before an event," according to Adobe.
- It is essential to share the event on social media, especially when targeting to run ads. Consider the effectiveness of LinkedIn’s InMail ads in sending invitations versus impersonal sponsored posts.
Monetize Your Event
Broaden the Reach of the Event
Promote the Event
In identifying the additional venues offering virtual events, your research team started by exploring local and national newspapers on virtual events, including those with information on the rise of virtual events, following the COVID-19 pandemic. We examined events databases like Eventbrite to identify examples of past and upcoming virtual events venues. The team focused more on examples published in media reports, such as Vox, Newsday, Wairnetworks, Patch, and Timeout. These resources featured examples of venues that have now gone virtual during COVID-19 quarantine. We also expounded on each example identified through continued research to uncover more details about each venue. Regarding information about the best practices for hosting a virtual concert online, we focused on expert reports by leading virtual events platforms like Zoom and social media marketing platforms like Hootsuite, event ticketing system like 1krowd, and business media outlets like Forbes.