Getting fans out to see a band play a live show has always been about getting people off their couches. A handful of good local concert-finding apps exist, but the problem is obvious—what’s the chance you’ll make the effort to see a show by a band you haven’t heard about?
Turntable Live thinks the answer is to bring the show to the user by having them participate in their own homes. Cofounder Billy Chasen says, "We go beyond just a live stream. We built something that is two-way and truly interactive."
Taking an inherently in-person experience and virtualizing it is all about getting the risk/reward factor right; the show can’t be too expensive or people won’t risk trying out a new band. Turntable is setting the minimum at $3 to catch a live streaming show and adding interactive value the founders say live shows can’t match. Streaming shows doesn’t have to be better than a live experience—they just have to be better than the disappointment of getting lost going to the venue, standing next to a couple making out, or getting a drink spilled on you. According to Turntable Live’s theory of live music fandom, people are just looking for an excuse to participate.
Turntable Live is a pivot. Originally, the startup did "avatar based collaborative listening experiences," and now it’s taking things one step closer to real life. You might think it would be competing with live shows themselves, but Chasen thinks of it more like Kickstarter, which helps to fund projects that otherwise wouldn’t meet the critical mass to go into production. "Our model is that any band can set up a show and if they sell enough tickets, the show will happen," he says.
YouTube is also edging into the world of live events with its Music Awards, but Chasen says this is a different type of phenomenon—more participatory. "YouTube is a great site that we use all the time to post archival footage and behind-the-scenes videos," he says, adding, "we also use Ustream for our stream. They are both great tools and allow us to focus and build the interactive part of our service."