Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, musicians offering livestreams have been exploring the different ways to make money from them. Paid ticketing has tended to be restricted to the smaller livestreaming companies, while on the bigger social/video platforms (Facebook/Instagram, YouTube and Twitch) it’s been more about free streams and revenue from virtual item sales and/or merchandise.
So, here’s news from Facebook. “Today we’re launching the ability for businesses, creators, educators and media publishers to earn money from online events,” it announced on Friday. “Now Page owners can create an online event, set a price, promote the event, collect payment and host the event, all in one place.”
The launch covers 20 countries, ranging from the US, UK, Germany and France to Mexico, Brazil, India and Singapore (the full list is here) and will be available to pages that qualify for Facebook’s ‘partner monetisation policies’. The social network said it will not be taking a cut of any revenues from paid events for “at least the next year”. That means 100% of the money will go to creators. Well, usually…
Yes, there’s a twist, and it saw Facebook rejoining the pile-on over Apple’s in-app purchases policies. “We asked Apple to reduce its 30% App Store tax or allow us to offer Facebook Pay so we could absorb all costs for businesses struggling during Covid-19,” claimed Facebook’s blog post announcing paid events. “Unfortunately, they dismissed both our requests and SMBs will only be paid 70% of their hard-earned revenue.”
Ouch. Although we’re not sure that for an artist selling tickets for a livestream on Facebook, and used to the economics of the physical concerts market, a 30% fee (and one only applying to fans who book from their iOS devices) will feel that scandalous. The more important question, if we’re talking about percentages, is how many of artists’ fans on Facebook will be up for paying for livestreams. That’ll vary between artists, so the best way to find out will be to try it.