Earlier this year, Florida metalcore stalwarts Underoath issued a series of three livestream shows, with each one featuring a full album performance of their holy triumvirate of records from 2004-2008 (though we’d love to see the band take on 2010’s Disambiguation eventually). The band offered ticketed and special merch options at many price ranges, and given the Internet and their fanbases’s response to them, they were very well-received.
Now, it appears the band made the most of a bad situation – bringing in over $800,000 for those three shows. While it’s not particularly close to the amount of money the band would bring in on a typical tour, it surely offsets some of the income they lost from their Slipknot support slot earlier this year.
In fact, in another revealing document (which also details the branding of the project – if that’s interesting to you), the band spent $5,700 on social media advertising for the trio of shows – with a staggering $177,000 brought back in sales directly.
As the article also notes, “Underoath’s three livestream shows grossed a total of $800,000 ($266,667 per show), including tickets, merch, and vinyl sales”, which is pretty impressive. But as this article also notes, the total take home pay, per band member, for all three shows? A staggering $41,340, approximately. In fact, Underoath surpassed their forecasted gross sales by $250,000, with every $1 on ads translating into $30.83 in sales. Wow.
Clearly, there is a market for these sorts of livestreams. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to prevent live music from happening (unless you’re Trapt), bands who deliver these sorts of experiences are certainly going to thrive. For instance, Code Orange have already had a successful year with their second Grammy nomination – and that band’s livestream series has garnered the band a growing fanbase as well.
Of course, it’s important to note that not every band has access to the creative directors and audiovisual personnel that made Observatory a success. And many bands that do livestreams aren’t nearly as big as Underoath. However, there’s also no reason bands can’t adapt what Underoath accomplished on a smaller scale as well. And it has much more to do with branding and spending your money in the right place than you’d think, too.