There are already streaming services for almost everything, except for live shows such as concerts, theater or performance art. Four company founders create with true-live! now such a platform is part of a project of the IT cluster with the support of the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria. […]
Sports, series, movies – there are already countless streaming services for this, some of which also broadcast live. What is missing is a digital streaming platform for live shows such as concerts, circus, readings, theater, opera or performance art. Four company founders create with true-live! now they are developing such a platform in a project of the IT cluster of the Upper Austrian location agency Business Upper Austria with the support of the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria. Jörg Pfaffenzeller is one of the four managing directors of True GmbH, a musician himself and tells the story of the origin of the streaming platform in an interview.
How did the idea for this project come about?
You want to see an artist, but there is no time or you are too far away. Pain. At home you have the flatscreen with good picture and sound quality. It would be so easy … Occasionally big concerts, festivals etc. are offered on the big streaming platforms. What is missing is a dedicated streaming service for all forms, genres and sizes of professional performance culture. The many outstanding artists, but also the cultural places where the great variety of artistic performances takes place, remain digitally invisible until now.
From the point of view of the music fan, there is no digital place where you can get the shows of your favorite artists from your favorite club “on demand” and / or “real live”. With live art and culture, there is still no high-quality content and therefore dissatisfied fans. We therefore offer a platform that has a well-known good user experience such as Netflix or DAZN. Namely: Editorially supervised music program. Artists, locations – accredited – deliver good quality with our support (technology and training packages). The new Netflix or DAZN for live shows – concerts, theater, opera, cabaret, circus, reading and more.
How do you assess the economic potential?
The market is big: in 2021, the music industry’s worldwide turnover was 25.9 billion US dollars with double-digit growth rates. Spotify has 138 million subscribers. 90 Percent of the streams come from “only” 100,000 artists. Each individual listens to a maximum of 100 different artists, die-hard fans maybe ten. The music market is very diverse. It’s not like it used to be, where the record stores were full. The cake is divided into many more – this has made streaming possible. And the streaming market is growing.
How far along is the project?
The platform has been in beta for half a year. One location in London, one German and two from Austria are partners. With 30 streamed performances, 2,500 spectators were already present live. We all come from the industry – musicians, web specialists, technicians, data specialists – and we know what the needs are. Our platform has already spread around the Austrian music scene. Artists such as Hubert von Goisern or Parov Stelar have encouraged us to stay tuned.
The platform is up and running, now it’s time to roll out. The next challenges are then sales – the acquisition of channel partners – and online marketing in order to attract more users. We also need to create human resources. We want to start in the D-A-CH space. From there to the EU in the next five years. And then worldwide, if possible. Ambitious goals, we know that.
How do you want to tackle or manage this?
Now it is time to convince the arts and culture. The artists do not have to be afraid that they will no longer have real viewers. Where the attention is, where the camera is, the live audience is and remains. The Finnish metal scene has shown that it is the biggest in Finland, but most of the fans live in South America. And this also works across borders in sports. So why not in the world of art and culture as well?
What have been the biggest challenges so far?
The biggest technical challenge: The platform needs an insane amount of data. Streaming itself is very complex and must be maintained by the channel partners themselves. That’s what we’ve done so far. But for thousands we can not create the concert streamings. The channel partners have to do this themselves. And that has to be as simple as using Facebook. Programming this was the biggest challenge that AWS Amazon has mastered.
The realization of this platform after a directed interaction of many participants: artists, organizers, web programmers, AI programmers, film and sound technicians, cameramen, directors, editors, streaming technicians, IT technicians, software developers, social media experts, marketing experts, lawyers, management consultants. Our cluster cooperation with specialists and experts from all necessary disciplines, coupled with good project management, can lead to the success of our streaming platform with rapidly growing content and viral distribution.
It’s true-live! chargeable?
So far, access is free. This is to be converted into a subscription and ticketing system. The payment model behind it is also challenging. There is still a bit to go until the rollout. But we’re pretty close. We hope that the art and cultural industry will join in and set up an additional digital business model.
Why have the “big ones” not yet dared to approach?
There were isolated attempts. Amazon, for example, has recorded artists in studios. But the soul is missing. It lacks the essence of live culture. Why do we go to concerts? It’s the tingle, the tension, being there live. Amazon was too sterile. The initial investment is usually a hurdle. And the know-how. With our technology packages and training packages, even a small cultural association manages to make cool streamings. So far, there has been no one to support the organizers.
Everyone has approached the artists so far, but they are not the key from our point of view. Art and cultural organizers have a lot to do – it has to be easy to set this up. The billing system must also be easy, with analysis, etc. Everything automated – that’s what we offer with the platform. Away from shaky mobile phone videos – towards good quality in picture and sound.
How was the cooperation in the project team?
That was a very good cooperation. The funding we received with the help of the IT cluster has helped us massively, above all, this has made it possible to cooperate with IT experts. The research institute of Dr. Ullrich Bodenhofer has made a great contribution to making our recommendation work – this is a very sophisticated system and was very important for making sure that we are already so far. We still have a long way to go, but the market maturity is there. We are incredibly happy about the support of Business Upper Austria!
Who is your target group? Will the users be your customers?
We will need a mixture of small and large – we are not addressing the artists directly. The organizers are the professionals. Most of the revenue goes to the organizers.
Special features of true-live!
- Best possible streaming quality through optimized codecs and algorithms
- High ease of use and wide availability – Apps for all platforms: Smart TV, Android, Apple, Web…
- Development of a vision profiling engine based on AI with the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria – Intelligent algorithms suggest suitable shows according to one’s viewing habits, according to artist, location, city, age, gender, profession, season, weather, etc.
- Not only commercial top, but all artistically relevant acts
- Editorial team ensures quality assurance and balance of content
- Features such as trailers, photos, description Background information allow fans to immerse themselves in the original cultural scene
- Chat and community tools