The Covid-19 pandemic isn’t over yet, but bigger fish in the worlds of live and streaming music are already circling the most promising startups in the livestreaming space.
We have seen Live Nation take a majority stake in Veeps, and (see below) Dice acquiring Boiler Room. Now Deezer is making its second livestreaming investment in a matter of months: acquiring a minority stake in livestreaming production and promotion firm Driift.
This follows Deezer’s similar move with livestreaming startup Dreamstage – the company founded by former Sony Music digital boss Thomas Hesse – in May. “Deezer will leverage its technology and expertise to actively support Driift’s future growth, including the roll-out of new products and offerings,” is how Deezer described the impact of its second deal.
‘Livestreaming’ can feel like an awkward category term for Driift, as many of its biggest concerts have been pre-recorded. Still, it has made an impact, selling more than 600k tickets for livestreams by artists including Nick Cave, Kylie Minogue, Andrea Bocelli and Laura Marling, as well as the Glastonbury Festival’s ‘Live at Worthy Farm’ event. The latter infamously ran into some technical issues with viewers getting access.
“While it was totally out of our control, since a 3rd party supplier was providing that service, we had to take responsibility for it in the eyes of the ticket buyers and industry. That was a brutal blow,” Driift CEO Ric Salmon told Music Ally in an interview to be published later this month as part of our Q3 startups report.
“But we learnt a huge amount from it, and realise we can’t be reliant on third-party tech that we don’t control. Needless to say we’ve now built a solution and it will not happen again.”
Deezer’s investment will help Driift continue to build out its technology and company. The streaming service joins Beggars Group as a minority owner of Driift, although ATC Management remains its majority shareholder.
One interesting wrinkle in today’s news is that Driift was also the partner for Spotify’s experiment with pre-recorded livestreams in May and June this year. Driift produced five concerts, by The Black Keys, Rag’n’Bone Man, Bleachers, Leon Bridges and Girl in Red, with Spotify sending out targeted marketing to fans of the artists for the $15 tickets.
Rather than ask whether Spotify will still work with Driift now that a rival has a stake in it, we’re looking at the bigger picture. What IS the strategic plan of the big DSPs for integrating live (or pre-recorded) concerts into their services.
Deezer hasn’t yet said what it plans to do with Dreamstage and now Driift; Amazon Music has been forging ever-closer links with its sister service Twitch; Apple Music has put on a number of livestreams including album launch events and its partnership with Verzuz; and YouTube Music has obvious capabilities here too. There will be more significant partnerships, investments and even acquisitions to come.