By Catherine Lyons
As music fans from across the country (and world) pour into New Orleans for the start of Jazz Fest, Ross Hinkle and his team at Liveset are creating ways for the concert to come to you (without the hassle of parking and muddy festival grounds).
Started in 2010, Liveset live streams concerts in “handsome HD,” using state-of-the-art technology that allows for high-quality video at a lower cost.
The business model is simple. Liveset doesn’t charge the artist up front, but instead splits all profit that comes from selling the full-length concert on their website, charging to watch it live, and subscriptions to their site.
“Billions of dollars have been lost in the music industry, since the start of Napster in 1999,” Hinkle said. “But touring revenue is a bright spot for artists. We are helping artists expand their audience by providing them a high quality digital venue with unlimited fan capacity.”
Since its founding last year, Liveset has live-streamed concerts of local New Orleans artists Theresa Andersson and Ben Kweller. Hinkle says he and his colleague, Rachel Puckett, seek out artists who want to engage their fans and tell a story.
“We want to partner with an artist who wants to engage their fans and help us build our audience through their fans by experimenting online and with social media,” Hinkle said. “We want a show with a compelling story.”
Hinkle says that Liveset wants to stream not only exciting concerts, but also compelling Behind the Scenes content that brings the artists closer to their fans.
The team at LaunchPad Ignition saw promise in Hinkle’s idea and business plan, and accepted Liveset into the startup accelerator program (part of President Obama’s Startup America program). Over the past seven weeks, Liveset has undergone hours of scrutiny, advice, suggestions, and critiques from successful entrepreneurs like John Elstrott of Whole Foods, Jen Medbery of Drop the Chalk and Robbie Vitrano of NakedPizza.
“It’s been a tremendous benefit to be part of the program,” Hinkle said. “We are much farther along than we would have been. The mentors were engaged all the time, constantly helping us. They invested a serious amount of time and really know what they’re doing. They pointed out things we don’t see by being so close to it.”
Launchpad Ignition culminates next Thursday as the six participating companies make their pitch to a roomful of potential investors at Launch Fest (we’ll have coverage here on NolaVie). Hinkle says that each company has been practicing from day one, getting advice and critiques from knowledgeable parties. Still, his mantra for the next few days will be practice, practice, practice (and more practice).
“We will try to tell a compelling story about the problem that exists and our innovative solution,” Hinkle said. “The problem is a music fan can’t make it to a show, and from the artist’s perspective, the music industry is in disarray. Our solution is providing an entirely new revenue stream from a live concert.”
Though Hinkle, a former private equity firm employee in New York, makes his living through online concerts, he is still excited about the live music experience of Jazz Fest, and looks forward to hopefully being a part of next year’s festival.
“I think we’ll be well positioned to do this next year,” Hinkle said. For now, he’s enjoying being an innovative part of the music industry in a “music town.”
“We want to stew our ideas in the New Orleans gumbo, and soak up this city’s artistic talent,” he said.
For more information on Liveset, check out their website at http://liveset.com/.