Facebook is introducing a new feature allowing page owners to charge access to Facebook Live video events. A great new resource for live artists seeking an income stream? Or is it another shameless corporate cash-in, exploiting already cash-starved creatives?
Facebook Live Updates
A raft of updates was announced this month to Facebook, along with new features to help you live stream and connect more easily. What jumped out at us were the new Facebook Live and Facebook Event features. It seems you’ll now be able to mark your event pages as “online-only” and in addition to this, add a Facebook Live stream.
What we see as most controversial is that pages will now be able to charge for access to live events: “To support creators and small businesses, we plan to add the ability for Pages to charge for access to events with Live videos on Facebook”. Yup, Facebook has effectively now moved into the ticketing business for live shows!
The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly forced a lot of us to seek alternative revenue streams; losing income from traditional live shows has hurt many of us hard. Clearly a lot of artists have turned to live streaming in order to publicise their music and promote their music.
So I get money from my livestreams? That’s great right?
Here’s the crunch. So far, Facebook hasn’t told us what percentage cut they’ll be taking per paid event. It seems extremely unlikely to us that they’ll be offering their platform and streaming bandwidth for free. After all, they are a business! We wait with bated breath on whether this will be a great potential income stream for all of us, or if it’s another cynical corporate cash-grab.
One thing’s for sure: the music business has always found a way of monetising the creative output of musicians and performers. If that’s a relationship with an equitable split of profits, everyone wins. Let’s hope this doesn’t turn into the streaming industry model; none of us wants to “give away” our art to make others rich.
What are your thoughts? Is this a great opportunity for live performers? Or will artists be once again leveraged for corporate profits? Let us know in the comments!