It's fair to say that the way we consume live entertainment hasn't changed that much in the past 10 years and it's even fairer to say the way musicians and bands make money nowadays is severely limited, to more established artists but also more heavily, emerging artists. With the rising popularity of YouTube and Spotify, artists are seeing less and less of the financial rewards for their time and work. Well, in comes NETGIGS, and, as put on their website, 'NETGIGS is an online platform that connects bands and other live performers to their fans and other audiences worldwide in high definition video and audio quality on any internet connected device. Customers can watch live and/or archived performances on demand. Bands and performers and even venues who can have dedicated channels of their own get paid a percentage of the revenue generated from pay per view, subscriptions and sales.' So to get a bit more Information on this I sat down for a chat with Joe Mac (General Manager) and Nicole Pilkington (Marketing Manager) to see just what NETGIGS is all about. What made you want to create the NETGIGS platform?
Joe - "Well for the past few years I've been working in and promoting the local South Australian Music scene. I was the founder and general manager of ISA Radio. We were an online radio station and we ran for just over a year and a half. We were Adelaide's first online radio station for independent musicians. We streamed SA music 24/7, we ran weekly top 10 charts for local musicians. We also had a recording studio where we took in bands, we recorded music videos and a hip hop music show called 'The Crib'. We found out over the next 12-18 months that there was a lot of engagement with the videos, there were far more people watching the videos then listening to the radio show because now with Spotify people have whatever music they want right at their fingers so they're really not listening to online radio. Our videos collectively got over 500,000 views so we spent about 12 months wondering how we could actually change things for musicians in terms of exposure and in terms of earning money and it needed to focus around a video component. That's when we put our heads together and created NETGIGS and we are now taking that to the world because there's just so much in it for musicians. Spotify has made recorded music basically worthless with about 0.006 cents per play so with 10,000 plays on Spotify the musician will receive a check for $60 where as given that 90% of our net revenue goes to the musicians, 10,000 plays will net a musician $30,000. We are out there creating a revenue stream for musicians, exposure for musicians and giving a global audience a means of experiencing live music when they can't make it to the show in person" Now can you tell us a little about the NETGIGS pay-per view service itself?
Nicole - "So NETGIGS is a pay-per view service, so there is no subscription you can just sign up and go and pay as you go rather then having to commit to an on-going payment.
Joe - "And there are multiple option as you go. On each show there is a 3-4 minute trailer that people can watch and gauge whether that show is for them, and then for the shows themselves there are two options, you can either rent the show for 48 hours and watch it once or twice (or more) or you can buy it for a couple dollars more and then it stays in your NETGIGS library forever"
Saying that what would you now say the best features of NETGIGS and the service are?
Joe - "Well the fact that you can experience a live performance as it happens in high definition as it happens from anywhere in the world!"
Nicole - "Coming from Adelaide there are many tours that don't come here. You have a whole host of kids in particular that love music and love live music but they're limited in that they can't go because the venues are restricted to over 18s due to licensing and also people who can’t go due to the show being sold out which is another major key point so now the venue and artists aren't restricted to how many people the venue can hold. Also shift workers are another group who can’t physically be at the show but they can now be able to appreciate a show, once, twice or as many times as they want. You also have the people who do make it to the show and they love live music and they love the band and they will always be the first to get tickets and now instead of standing there throughout the show recording it with their iPhone because they love the show and want to re-live it they can now just stand back, enjoy the show and then re-live it as many times as they want on NETGIGS" What is the technology behind this project?
Joe - "We have developed our own streaming service because the Facebook streaming service is pretty terrible actually. It isn't great quality, resolution is crap, there are lots of drop outs, so to bring streaming to the world, in high definition, quality high definition, we had to do a number of things; A, we had to build our own video streaming platform, which would not only stream with no drop outs but also sell pay-per view tickets, and B, we had to create our own production team for actually filming and creating the shows and we have built these over the past 12 months. It’s taken time to refine it and now our production equipment is on par if not better with TV production studios. The audio going out on the NETGIGS show has been mixed to TV quality sound. Our cameras our high definition and our platform NETGIGS allows us to put it all together with no drop outs. An audience member at home can watch a NETGIGS show on their phone, tablet or computer and there won’t be any lag or drop outs like you would have on any other streaming service" Where do you see yourselves taking NETGIGS in the future, what are the long term goals?
Joe - "We will be taking the company internationally, we have companies in Australia, The US, Ireland and currently working towards Hong Kong. We have music licensing deals all over the world, we have major venue partners in Australia and Ireland and we are launching in Korea in September/October, and launching in Ireland in February with one of the biggest gigs in the country. We are taking NETGIGS to a global level for being THE platform for experiencing live music" "NETGIGS will pay their artists 500x more on average then Spotify" Are there any major hurdles when getting into the markets of other countries with this type of service?
Nicole - "A lot of it had been based on existing connections. Joe and also Bart our sound engineer have been life-long musicians who have reconnected with a lot of people over seas but there's definitely some challenges particularly from my point of view in a marketing perspective. There are a lot of different cultures to consider, there's different economies to consider, there's lots of different variables involved in going international but I think it’s definitely worth pursuing it and facing those challenges head on"
Joe- "On top of the marketing aspect there are also a lot of challenges just with different legislation in different countries. Our Chief Financial Officer Scott is responsible for our international companies and is in charge of making sure we are complying with all the different laws in all the different countries and negotiating our music licenses. It is a lot of work but we've made a lot of progress"
Nicole - "With the challenges comes the rewards. We talk a lot about emerging artists from South Australia well they now have a global platform where they can reach an international audience. We have developed a merch store where they can sell any number of clothing merch items to people all across the world, so if people see their show on NETGIGS and want to invest in them as part of their life style. So as much as the challenges are definitely there the rewards are even greater"
Joe - "And we have also set up the NETGIGS foundation which is a not for profit organization to fund emerging artists to help them with industry advice and assistance, and also give grants for the likes of recording, video clips, touring and other promotional activities. What the NETGIGS foundation is doing is encouraging emerging artists to help build the musical industry" Now before I go Why do you think NETGIGS would be so important in this day and age to Artists and performers? Joe - "It’s about giving musicians a revenue stream because in today's world Spotify and YouTube have taken away the revenue streams that use to exist. 20-15 years ago it was CDs. Musicians could spend 10-15k recording an album and actually reap the financial rewards for having it on CD. Even 10 years ago with iTunes and Google Play, musicians could still spend 10k recording an album, release it on iTunes and people would actually buy it, creating revenue for them. Now in 2018, if people want to check out a band’s music, they get it on Spotify or they get it on YouTube and the band gets next to nothing. With NETGIGS we are creating a viable income stream for musicians and NETGIGS will pay their artists 500x more on average then Spotify. This is an income that is actually sustainable to live on so that musicians can create more art for audiences". A huge thank you to Joe and Nicole for sitting down and chatting to me all about NETGIGS! You can see what NETGIGS are all about on their website and be sure to check out their first on demand event at Fowlers in Adelaide on the 24th of August! https://www.NETGIGS.com/our-team/