At the beginning of the epidemic, Sofar Sounds – Which one He made a name and business by holding “secret concerts and intimate concerts”.It seemed like one of the worst-positioned businesses for survival in the music industry — featuring emerging artists for an invited, engaged audience: many of their shows are set in people’s homes. Yet they not only survived the pandemic, they hosted multiple livestreams, and they say they even managed to pay artists more than $1.5 million over the course of the pandemic, to the nearly 3,000 artists whose scheduled shows were canceled due to the lockdown. And after a year-long unpretentious rise, they’re now putting on more shows than ever before.
“Obviously we’re very impressed – but the artists Really “We did a survey with them and found that over 70% of them lost more than half of the money they earned and over 90% of them lost almost all of their money,” says CEO Jim Lucchese, who joined the company in February 2019. obviously they didn’t get all the concerts and their money. We had 3,000 artists that we had to cancel.
“So I sent them a note and said, ‘Here’s the money for your shows, the money we usually pay, take that as an advance,’ thinking we’ll be back in a few months. But as things went on, we said, ‘Basically keep this money as a grant’. It also launched a formal grant program for artists.
The company has managed to survive through Listening Room live-streamed concerts (where artists hold 100% of donations, around $450 on average) and through investors and sponsors, as well as expanding Lucchese’s artist services planned long before the pandemic.
In February 2021, Sofar acquired Seated, an artist services company that provides touring artists tools and services to connect directly with fans through listings to promote their non-Sofar shows and products. It has also expanded its live streaming offerings to include more bespoke options and VIP packages – during the pandemic these have taken the form of everything from virtual birthday parties to corporate team building events.
“Lists are a self-serving tool, but what we call ‘Fan Rewards’ and VIP experiences are not,” says Lucchese. “This is an operationally hands-on process where we work with artists and executives to create custom VIP experiences, then develop some technology and provide services to bring them to life. It can be anything from early access tickets to a meet and greet or a completely bespoke fan experience.
While it has done so relatively quietly, the company has taken these expansions into the real world since the pandemic lifted, experimenting with different (and higher-paying) show formats beyond the usual template with three artists playing on sets of 20-25 minutes. traditional areas (paying an average of $1,000). The company expects to hold 10,000 shows in approximately 400 cities by the end of 2023; other formats usually pay more than $1,000.
Since the pandemic, Sofar says it has paid artists more than $30 million directly to perform at Sofar shows and run fan rewards or VIP campaigns through the company.
“Now that we hope to see the pandemic behind us, we still have a larger and more vibrant, conscious business than before,” Lucchese said.