New streaming platform backed by Simon Cowell gives lifeline to music artists
Thousands of artists have signed up to the platform which, in addition to Simon Cowell, is backed by Prince's former manager Kiran Sharma and BBC iPlayer founder Ben Lavender.
Lounges.tv is an ad-free platform where artists can share exclusive content with fans via live, interactive streaming and video-on-demand.
In contrast to the many streaming platforms that rely on a conventional ad-based revenue model Lounges.tv's creator-first revenue model presents a fairer and faster way for musicians, and creators more generally, to monetise their content online. Creators keep 80% of all their streaming income and are paid within 24 hours of their content appearing on Lounges.tv.
This week three artists have spoken about how Lounges.tv has helped them earn money and connect with fans.
Janet Devlin has been making a living as a singer for over a decade and last year supported Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe and his band, The Gentlemen Barbers, on their tour of Australia.
The 29-year-old singer, who previously appeared on The X Factor, says Simon Cowell’s backing of Lounges.tv is a great sign for artists looking to build their careers on the platform.
She says: “Simon Cowell is a backer of talent. Through his shows he has supported artists and he's doing the same thing by backing Lounges.tv - providing musicians with a platform to be recognised and rewarded for their talents. It's up to us to put in the work though!”
She now livestreams two live performances per month on Lounges.tv, after joining the platform in 2023. Generous fans from all over the world have been supporting the Northern Ireland native, who now lives in north London, by buying tickets for her online gigs on Lounges.tv and tipping her during her performances.
“I first started streaming online nearly ten years ago when I was completely broke and living off just £25 a week,” Janet recalls. “I'm on all social media platforms now but when it comes to performing, I just use Lounges. It's a great way to increase my earnings, especially through tips, and to deepen my relationships with my fans and tippers via the live chat during gigs.
“When I look at tips alongside the other income I make as a musician, like my live gigs in venues and selling merchandise, they all add up and help me to put the proverbial bread on the table. One generous fan even once tipped me £300 during a live performance on Lounges.”
One of the Lounges.tv's earliest adopters is Josh Barry, a veteran singer-songwriter who has written and toured with the likes of Rudimental, Nile Rogers, Gorgon City and the Martinez Brothers.
The 30-year-old says: “Lounges.tv puts us artists in the driver's seat. With the challenges of lockdown, musicians like me struggled because there was no existing streaming platform that could offer a sustainable income, no one could perform gigs in venues, and Rishi Sunak even suggested we all 'find other jobs'.
“Now I can go out and do gigs, and I can also play music in my living room and stream it on Lounges.tv. It's great to have a platform that gives creative control back to musicians, and is a professional environment where we can earn money and engage with fans around the world.“
Award-winning Scottish singer-songwriter Paul Carella – recently back from a tour of the US east coast where he played alongside Briana Buckmaster, Billy Moran, Jason Manns and Hayden Lee and Richard Speight Jr. – also livestreams from his home in Brighton twice a week to connect with his fans around the globe. His Lounges.tv gigs help him generate income between tours.
The 35-year-old artist, originally from Glasgow and known to his fans as 'The Captain' says: “Lounges is a spectacular way to reach my fanbase who live all over the world and can't always get to my gigs. I'd been using a streaming platform in the US for a long time, but when I found about a UK-based platform that paid artists within 24 hours of a gig, I thought I'd give it a try.
“It's been a fantastic platform to use and it's an important part of my income now. Musicians don't make a lot of money outside of touring, unless we have a new album out or merchandise, so having a consistent income through my Lounges.tv online shows allows me to continue living off my music between touring, and right now the online shows are helping me raise funds to record my next album in LA. From my experience a significant amount of money can be generated from playing online shows, especially from tips.”
Alongside increasing an artist's earning capacity, livestreams and on-demand videos on Lounges.tv can significantly expand an artist's reach and discoverability and can provide a platform for musicians to visually express their artistry. Livestreams also allow creators to chat in real time with their viewers, who can give feedback, ask questions, and make song requests during performances.
As well as artists, the platform caters to a diverse range of creators, including comedians, fitness trainers, chefs and educators.
There are three ways creators can get funded by fans via the platform:
The tipping function, which allows viewers to make financial contributions (tips) to artists during their online performances (it's fun for creators and viewers see the tips and tippers flagged during the live chat)
Ticket sales for creators' online gigs
Pay-per-view for any video content creators share via their Lounges.tv channels.
Simon Cowell says: “What really drew me in to this platform is that it supports emerging talent. The artists literally get paid within 24 hours and take 80 per cent of the revenue – brilliant.“
Scott Green, Lounges.tv Co-Founder and CEO adds: “There's a wealth of talent out there and we believe that – whether you've got 10 followers or 100,000 followers – you should be able to generate income from your hard work and creativity.
“I find it really heartening to hear incredible artists talking about how the platform has made a difference to their lives – and to their bank balances. This is exactly what we set out to do when we created Lounges.tv. It's our mission to democratise content creation – and that means making sure that talented creators have access to a have a fair platform where they can share their content, get discovered and make a living.
“The creators who join us know that the platform represents an exciting departure from the conventional ad-centric model that values creators according to how many ad views and followers they can amass. We are in the business of making sure that talent that gets rewarded, which is why we don't rely on ads but instead give creators a number of fan-funding options – tickets, tips or pay-per-view. It's so great to see artists taking control!”
The harsh reality of the music industry – in statistics
Research shows 54% of musicians in the UK earn an annual income of less than £21,000, with many (44%) saying a lack of income means a career in music is 'unsustainable'. Among content creators more broadly, it is becoming harder than ever for them to get their work seen online. With a staggering 3.7 million new videos flooding YouTube and 34 million TikToks uploaded daily, almost three quarters (72%) of content creators say they made less than £393 ($500 USD) in the last 12 months.
Artists are not the only ones facing challenges – the UK's grassroots music venues are closing at an unprecedented rate, according to a report from the Music Venue Trust. In the last 12 months, 125 venues have closed – a rate of two per week. And 38% of the venues that are still open report making a financial loss in 2023, despite seeing an increased demand for tickets.
It's against this industry backdrop that Lounges.tv is aiming to shake up the content creation industry, to the benefit of creators – and venues – who want to livestream to a broader audience, get discovered and earn money.It's against this industry backdrop that Lounges.tv is aiming to shake up the content creation industry, to the benefit of creators – and venues – who want to livestream to a broader audience, get discovered and earn money.
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