One of the competing companies is called Meerkat, and until a few weeks ago many believed it would be the industry leader. Now that title belongs to Periscope, which was acquired prior to launch by Twitter in January, and just last week the highly-publicized mobile app was released to the public.
Pericope, like Meerkat, works by allowing users to live broadcast their life to the world by downloading the iOS appand connecting through Twitter. Your followers get a push notification and can watch your livestream, all free of charge.
Here’s what the founders of Periscope had to say about the inspiration for this product:
Just over a year ago, we became fascinated by the idea of discovering the world through someone else’s eyes. What if you could see through the eyes of a protester in Ukraine? Or watch the sunrise from a hot air balloon in Cappadocia? It may sound crazy, but we wanted to build the closest thing to teleportation. While there are many ways to discover events and places, we realized there is no better way to experience a place right nowthan through live video. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but live video can take you someplace and show you around.
For broadcasters, Periscope lets you share an experience with others. Press a button, and instantly notify your followers that you’re live. Whether you’re witnessing your daughter’s first steps or a newsworthy event, Periscope offers an audience and the power of a shared experience. Most mobile broadcasting tools feel far from live. Broadcasters on Periscope are directly connected to their audience, able to feel their presence and interact. Going live on Periscope means more than a blinking red dot.
For viewers, Periscope gives you a new set of eyes and ears. Travel the world and step into someone else’s shoes. See what they see, hear what they hear, and hopefully feel what they feel. Watching a broadcast isn’t a passive experience like television. On Periscope, viewers influence the broadcaster by sending messages, and expressing their love by tapping the screen to send hearts.”
While adoption of this new social media format is still on the rise, now is as good atime as there will ever be for musicians to signup and begin building their community. Unlike several recent social media platforms that quickly rose in popularity only to disappear seemingly overnight, Periscope (and Meerkat) offers something that actual changes the way we are able to connect with one another. It’s not about profiles and photo-swapping, but cultivating instantaneous communities around events happening all over the world in real time. It’s about engaging with others, regardless of location, to experience life in a truly unique way with very few barriers to entry. Like Facebook and Twitter before it, Periscope has found a way to make the world seem a bit smaller, and in doing so the founders created a scalable business model that will likely see large growth in the months ahead.
We have said this many times before, but every musician needs to view their career like that of a small business. They may have the highest quality products and the best customer service, but unless they know how to market and publicize their efforts they will find establishing a lasting presence in the industry next to impossible. The age of social media has made it incredibly easy for anyone to become a successful marketer as long as they know how to engage with people online, and with the rise of Periscope there is yet another way for brands, bands, and people to connect and raise awareness for their work. The ways to do this are essentially limitless, but we have gathered five ideas that will go a long way toward further engaging with fans through the use of live broadcasting:
Weekly Updates (Same time, different place)
There are a number of artists who currently make and release updates for fans on a weekly or monthly basis, but the vast majority of them rely on YouTube to host this content. Furthermore, they spend days or weeks recording content, then several more hours editing everything together before sharing said recaps with fans. With the rise of services like Periscope and Meerkat, musicians can now broadcast their updates in real time directly to whatever fans choose to tune in as long as they are somewhere with cell service. Instead of spending hours recording and editing, artists can establish a regular broadcast schedule and spend for more time marketing their appearances. Both services catalog every recording, so anyone who misses a broadcast will be able to catch up at their own pace. This means everyone who would have watched on YouTube will still be able to tune in when they’re able while those who are able to watch live can now directly engage with the artist in real time. Double win.
Scenes from the road/Scenes from the studio
There is no career like that of a musician on the rise. From spending hundreds of hours on the open road, to playing clubs that look like rejected sets from the last Quentin Tarantino film, and even time spent in the studio (wherever that may be), there are hundreds or even thousands of sights musicians see that the vast majority of their fans will never have a chance to witness. The immediacy of Periscope allows for musicians to share their perspective on life, be it while hanging backstage before a gig in Iowa or in the midst of pre-production for their next studio album, with the power of their cell phone. There is no need for a laptop that limits mobility, or a state-of-the-art camera whose footage will require a large amount of extra work to make perfect for the internet. Musicians can (and should) turn on Periscope periodically, if only for five or ten minutes, to allow fans to dive a bit deeper into their reality. What does the half day drive across rural Texas in mid-July look like? Artists can show their fans with only a few seconds worth of effort. What about the view of the crowd from the main stage at Coachella? Again, in just a few seconds that view can be shared with the world? What about the first time you hear the first edit of your new single? Periscope makes sharing the reaction on your face, as well as the sound you are hearing, a breeze.
I didn’t really cover this in the introduction, but Periscope and Meerkat both allow for viewers to engage with broadcasters. This makes live chats, regardless of geographic location, incredibly simple. Whether it’s a planned event or something musicians do while killing time between sound check and the start of a show, live chats allow fans around the globe to see and interact with artists. The ease of setup and launch makes it possible to field questions regularly, which in turn create more opportunities for fans to engage with their favorite artists. Maybe a fan can’t make the show today, but thanks to the freedom provided by the platform they may have another opportunity to ask their question sometime in the near future. It’s up to the artist to decide how often they make themselves available, of course, but with such ease of connectivity the decision to not engage with fans on a regular basis seems a bit foolish.
Surprise acoustic performances
Due to the sometimes poor sound quality that comes with recording concerts from the audience, it may be a while before Periscope works all that well for artists hoping to share their live performance with fans. In the meantime, musicians can make the most of the platform by hosting impromptu acoustic performances for fans. Have one member, or even an onlooker, hold a phone set to broadcast while the band performs something stripped down for anyone able to tune in. The video will be catalogued for prosperity, but those able to witness in real time will feel part of something special. They may wake up with a musician’s song in their head and the knowledge that artists will no be performing anywhere near them for months, but in a moment’s notice they can be connected to a performance happening anywhere in the world. That kind of instant gratification is hard to come by in any industry, and it definitely should not be taken for granted.
This one will require musicians to think outside the box a bit, but it is worth the effort. While on tour, musicians can use Periscope to broadcast their location while exploring a city or town prior to an event. This broadcast serves as a clue for a scavenger, and fans in the area can then use the broadcast to find the musician and collect their reward (concert tickets, merchandise, etc). This could be a great way to build additional interest in a show, as well as sell a few last minute tickets. The opportunity to get free stuff will be more than enough to hook fans, but getting to meet their favorite musician will add another level of excitement to the whole affair.
James Shotwell is the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. He has over a decade of music industry experience and spend the majority of his free time writing about various aspects of the entertainment business. If you need another talking head in your life, please consider following him on Twitter. You should also follow Haulix on Twitter.