Screenshot of NoonChorus
Bully, Angel Olsen, Waxahatchee & More Are Hosting Livestreams On The Little-Known Platform NoonChorus—Here's Why
The novel coronavirus continues to decimate the live music industry. With concerts unlikely to return until 2021, Pollstar currently estimates a $8.9 billion loss in revenue—a harrowing number likely to grow without government intervention and a vaccine that is well distributed and broadly deployed. A survey conducted in June from the newly formed Independent Venue Association (NIVA), predicts the potential for 90% of independent music venues to shutter in the coming months.
Devoid of a primary revenue stream, touring musicians and management are now reckoning with an industry resembling nothing that’s come before it. Once considered an atypical marketing tool, livestream performances have since made their case for being part of a new normal. "Next year is looking bleak—as long as my artists and I can come up with ways to create interesting experiences, there is value in that. People need music beamed into their homes at this time," Christian Stavros of Little Operation Management (Angel Olsen, Devendra Banhart) tells us. Following an onset of free, lower-quality and glitch-laden streams hosted on Instagram or Facebook this spring, many artists began to seek platforms that left traditional revenue streams (ticket sales, merch, etc.) intact.
Launched in the wake of the pandemic by brothers Andrew and Alex Jensen, NoonChorus has quickly positioned itself as a premier white-label, ticketed livestream platform catering to indie musicians. With a focus on community, custom viewing experiences and superior customer support, NoonChorus upholds an artist-first mentality akin to Bandcamp. "First and foremost, what we are providing is a sense that we are not a tech company—we pride ourselves on taking time to walk artists through the steps they can take to maximize ticket sales and build the experience they had in mind," Jensen says.
By April, NoonChorus had hosted 46 streams from artists including Bully, Yo La Tengo, and Waxahatchee with over 30,000 tickets sold and $500,000 in sales. The platform is free to use, with artists keeping 100% of gross ticket and merch sales. NoonChorus makes their money from an added-on ticket fee. Jensen, who carries a decade's worth of experience in the music festival industry believes an added paywall avoids the "digital busking" feel of other platforms while protecting video content, adding both monetary value to the performance and a "perceived value" that you are getting something special, and most important, that you are helping the artist.
Ryan Matteson of Ten Atoms Management spent hours on the phone and email with different platforms before connecting with Jensen ahead of a Bully livestream. "It came down to who had the best team, venue and shared vision for a path to success. We talked to everyone before we made a decision. NoonChorus was the only one that checked all three boxes for me," he added. The success of that event set the stage for a long-term partnership including multiple performances from Ten Atoms artists Whitney and Japanese Breakfast. Matteson reports "zero interest" in hosting livestream performances elsewhere at this time.
Dedicated account managers for each artist, attention to detail and round-the-clock artist support have also cemented NoonChorus as a destination for multi-concert series. Cosmic Streams—a run of performances in special venues around Asheville, N.C.—from singer-songwriter Angel Olsen is gearing up for its third iteration. Devendra Banhart recently announced OLA, a four-part worldwide livestream series shot in different locales with special guest collaborators, each of which will be hosted on NoonChorus. Despite inevitable "livestream fatigue," Jensen reports that many of their best performing events have been part of larger ticket packages.
"What really stood out to me was their customer service, it’s been so direct and immediate. They are also very transparent about who is buying tickets, where they are buying them from, and tracking that information," Stavros shared.
Combined with tailor-made viewing options and the ability to connect existing merch-fulfillment services, artists have complete control of the concert experience they wish to create. From a management perspective, Stavros feels strongly that "what’s cool" about NoonChrous is that "there aren’t a lot of bells and whistles to the site unless you want there to be."
Putting artists first is paying off in spades for NoonChorus. They’ve managed to cultivate a music community on a digital platform that is entirely new territory for artists and fans alike. Expecting a savvy entrepreneur group to take hold over the livestream marketplace, music blogger David Walker was elated to stumble across NoonChorus. Convinced their service is currently "the best way to do a live streaming event," Walker hopes more artists will consider this type of performance.
NoonChorus is also dedicated to ensuring independent venues are part of said community. Venues can partner with them in two ways, either co-promoting an event or offering and selling tickets to original content from their venues, whether they are using them as soundstages or at limited capacities. As venues reopen under different mandates across the country, Jensen sees this an opportunity. "If venues nationwide are allowed to be at 25%, 50% capacity—we know how razor-thin the margins are for them. To be able to augment or make up ticket sales through streaming that concert to select groups of people could really help make up for that lost capacity," he added.
Well aware that nothing can replace the collective power and respite of live music, NoonChorus instead offers an elegant stop-gap with potential for long-term implementation. In a time marked by trepidation and lack of connection, NoonChorus is a tremendous source of hope and an opportunity for artists. With the quality of their content drastically improving month-to-month, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better livestream experience in 2020.