Just because others have tried something and failed doesn’t make it a bad idea.
That’s the philosophy behind Concert Window, a New York-based startup that launched today. The company provides live streams of concerts for $3 a show, splitting the revenue with artists and venues. It’s a new source of income for artists, who now make the majority of their profits from performing anyways, and accretive to venues. It’s also a novel solution to a problem others have been unable to crack.
After realizing there was no place online to watch concerts every night, co-founder (and musician) Dan Gurney began to study what options had been tried and abandoned in the past. “It’s not like its a crazy idea,” he says.
Both YouTube and Hulu have done live concerts, for example. And both quickly realized that sending a full production team to film a concert is prohibitively expensive.
So Concert Window automated that part. The team installs its recording system into a venue. The technology Gurney, co-founder Forrest O’Connor, and developer Jon Daily created stops and starts recording automatically, so webcasts require no production teams or technical skills besides a Wifi connection on the part of the venue owner. The site now offers social networking features and ticketing.
The idea is that fans of small bands who might not be in their city or able to make it to shows can still watch them from home. I’m certain plenty of my friends across the country would pay three measly dollars, if only out of pure curiousity, to check out one of my band’s shows, if I advertised it on Facebook. Now apply that to bands that tour regularly, have much bigger fan bases, and a major presence on social media.
Concert Window splits revenue with the venue and artist by thirds. For them, it’s new money with nothing to lose. Of course, nothing is that simple. There are rights issues to deal with, which Concert Window circumvents by only livestreaming, and not archiving.
Long term, Concert Window wants to be the platform that any venue in the country can use to livestream and monetize its shows. There are half a million concert venues in the States, Gurney says. That requires the ability to scale up the installation process, which are now in New York, Massachusetts, Texas, Maine, Tennessee, New Hampshire, and California. For now, Concert Window will remain a curated network, differentiating its services from, say Livestream, which offers up live events of all types (including PandoMonthly events). Concert Window launches with a handful of folk and rock venues on board including Le Poisson Rouge in New York.
The company has been generating revenue since it launched this spring with five venues; now Gurney will focus on expanding Concert Window’s footprint. Gurney built the front end of the site, teaching himself to code in the process, alongside back-end developer Daily, with a small seed funding from friends and family. He’s recently closed a six figure follow-on round, which will enable him to install systems in new venues and begin iterating on the website.