For music fans everywhere, there’s nothing better than the joy of experiencing live music. In-person concerts are often a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see an artist, feel the music, and connect with other fans. So when the Japanese government required live events to be canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sony Music Solutions created Stagecrowd, a first-of-its-kind online livestreaming platform.
“We launched Stagecrowd just two months after the initial state of emergency declaration in Japan. The rapid launch was part of our mission to keep fans and artists connected through live performances,” says Mr. Onodera, Chief Producer at Stagecrowd. “If Sony was going to enter the livestreaming business under its own name, it was absolutely necessary to guarantee superior service.”
With viewer numbers quickly skyrocketing for large-scale livestream events in Japan during the pandemic, scalability and reliability were critical. At the time, Sony Music Solutions was already using Brightcove to livestream artist fan club events, and the business knew it could trust the same broadcast-quality streaming technology for Stagecrowd.
“We have always had a great relationship with Brightcove, and their strong reputation for high-quality, large-scale delivery meant that we didn’t even consider any other options. The stability of Brightcove’s platform helped us to deliver high-quality livestreaming, right from the first Stagecrowd performance,” says Onodera. “I’m really glad that we chose Brightcove—both event organizers and viewers have given Stagecrowd’s livestreaming high praise for video and sound quality and overall stream stability.”
One of the other keys to Stagecrowd’s success has been its ability to create highly entertaining, well-produced events that can deliver on a performer’s creative vision. “Livestreaming involves a lot of lighting and other original effects. We work with the Brightcove team to make any potential adjustments to ensure the best possible experience for our fans,” says Mr. Kasai, Sales and Marketing Manager at Stagecrowd.
By using Brightcove and avoiding technology-related streaming challenges, artists as well as their fans have come to quickly trust Stagecrowd’s high-quality video and sound production. “We have never encountered any problems with Brightcove, and actually, Brightcove is very helpful in investigating potential problems that may occur even outside of the Stagecrowd platform,” says Kasai.
The Stagecrowd team also takes advantage of Brightcove’s detailed analytics, such as total viewer fluctuations during a livestream, retention rates, and viewing devices. “We share this data with our management to help them optimize the streaming environment for all viewers. Being able to provide this data to the artists whose content we manage has also helped us build and solidify excellent relationships,” says Kasai.
Delivering legendary live performances by famous artists has allowed many more people to discover Stagecrowd as a destination for high-quality, live music. “Just like how others scroll for a movie or drama on Netflix, viewers can scroll to find a live show they want to see on Stagecrowd,” says Onodera. “On Stagecrowd, we offer paid livestreaming events to the public as well as exclusive streams to fan club members.”
In the first six months since its launch, Stagecrowd livestreamed 351 performances to millions of people during peak viewing times, generating substantial revenue for the business and earning a top-notch reputation among livestreaming services in Japan. And while Stagecrowd may have been created in reaction to the pandemic, it will continue to be a major sales driver for Sony Music Solutions well into the future.
“I think that paid streaming services are here to stay. In the post-pandemic world, they will become an alternative to real live performances. Especially for popular artists who sell out concert tickets instantly, the potential for ticket sales will be unlimited,” says Onodera.
“In the near future, we hope to offer livestreaming of international artist performances to Japan. Right now, it’s impossible for overseas artists to tour Asia, so we are working on Stagecrowd to deliver live performances in the region. In the future, we would like to further improve our streaming quality and expand our business capacity to deliver all levels of live performances with clear, stable video,” says Kasai.
With the benefit of Brightcove’s dependable livestreaming technology and first-rate customer support, the Stagecrowd brand will continue to cement Sony Music Solutions’ reputation as an international entertainment powerhouse. We’re proud to continue to support Stagecrowd’s flawless track record and help provide the best livestream performances for music fans around the world.