Live Nation and Veeps are outfitting 60 Live Nation-operated music venues across the U.S. with audio and visual tech to optimize livestreams, the concert giant and livestreaming startup announced on Wednesday. The move brings what the two companies are calling “turnkey livestreaming” to the venues, which will allow performing artists the ability to livestream a show while playing for an attending audience at the same time.
Participating venues include the Wiltern in Los Angeles, the Fillmore in San Francisco and Philadelphia, the House of Blues in New Orleans and Chicago, and the Shoreline Amphitheater and Gorge Amphitheater in California and Washington. The Wiltern has already been outfitted for livestreams and hosted a few virtual concerts last year; it will host 10 more from artists, including Young Thug, Young M.A, and Freddie Gibbs from May to July, with tickets for the livestreams set for $15.
More from Rolling Stone
“Artists and fans are eager to get back to shows, and livestreams will continue to unlock opportunities for them to connect more than ever before,” Michael Rapino, Live Nation’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “Veeps is the best at what they do, with Benji and Joel (Madden) tapping into their own experience as artists to help other artists thrive, and we look forward to bringing this innovative idea to life in these iconic venues.”
Livestreaming has seen major growth amid the pandemic as audiences have been stuck at home and live events have been indefinitely on hold. During the beginning of quarantine, many prominent musicians were doing casual shows from their living rooms shot on their smartphones — but as the platforms for livestreaming quickly matured, their performances evolved into higher-quality premium shows shot from studios and unique locales, with artists typically charging fans for access to the streams. If done properly, as artists ranging from indie darlings like Waxahatchee to major global acts like BTS have shown, a fully virtual livestream can be very lucrative because of the lack of in-person costs involved.
Joel and Benji Madden, twin brothers and founding members of pop punk band Good Charlotte, founded Veeps in 2016 mainly as a VIP services company for live shows while also offering livestreaming capabilities for artists. They pivoted significantly toward livestreaming after the pandemic started. Live Nation, which had said on investor calls throughout 2020 that it was looking further into livestreaming opportunities for its business, bought a majority stake in the company in January. Veeps paid artists over $10 million from their ticket sales on Veeps last year, the company says.
As the industry grows more confident in a return for major shows as early as this fall, many artists, agents and managers have said that livestreaming will remain a part of their business model, whether through virtual meet and greets, unique online concerts, or — in cases like the new Live Nation offering — hybridized shows for full audiences that also have a virtual component for people who can’t attend.
”Amongst artists, it’s often said that the one side of our careers that truly belongs to us is touring,” Joel Madden said in a statement. “We’ve already seen how livestream shows drive engagement across every other area of an artist’s business and the added ticket revenue will allow them to re-invest in their art and make what they’re offering their fans even better. It’s a real dream come true for us at Veeps and our mission to help empower artists in their careers.”
See where your favorite artists and songs rank on the Rolling Stone Charts.