A look at related industries
AS LOCKDOWNS forced people to stay at home, many of them turned to livestreaming platforms for entertainment and a sense of community. According to a report by livestreaming platform Streamlabs and Stream Hatchet, an electronic sports (esports) business intelligence firm, 3.1 million hours watched on Twitch in the first quarter rose to 5 million in the following quarter. For YouTube Gaming, it increased from 1 million hours to 1.5 million hours within the same timeframe.
Twitch expects this growth to continue for the following year with new products and content. They just launched Versus, an end-to-end suite of tools that streamers can use to organize and manage their own tournaments. Ninja and Shroud, two of the industry’s most influential streamers, also recently returned to the platform with exclusive deals.
Non-gaming content on Twitch is also anticipated to grow in the next months. Just Chatting was the most popular category on the platform in December 2019, according to a report by StreamElements, a livestreaming platform, and Arsenal.gg, a video game livestreaming analytics company.
Sunita Kaur, the platform’s senior vice-president for APAC (Asia Pacific), also cited the likes of broxh_, a Kiwi woodcarver with 1.2 million followers who was even visited by New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern during a stream. “There’s a lot of communities that are coming together especially in a time like this, and that’s a really nice thing to see,” she said.
MUSIC: LOCAL IS KEY
The music industry had its downs during the pandemic, although it is slowly recovering. In the United States, physical album sales dropped by 27.6% and digital album sales by 12.4%. Pollstar, a live-event trade publication and research firm, projects a loss of up to $8.9 billion in revenue for the concert industry by the end of the year.
However, there has been a growing clamor for local and regional music in Southeast Asia. Acts like Phum Viphurit from Thailand and Niki from Indonesia have gained international fans and performed beyond Asia. Mass media company 88rising, which aims to empower Asian artists, recently partnered with telco provider Globe to launch Paradise Rising, a Filipino music label that houses artists such as Kiana V and Leila Alcasid.
“The response has been a lot more favorable than it would be like two, three years ago when every time you say, ‘We have an artist from Thailand,’ they’ll be like, ‘Yeah, whatever, give me back my Ariana Grande and Taylor Swift.’ Now, they’re more accepting to this new talent coming from within the region. It’s largely related to whether the video quality production from this region has grown, the music production has grown, the talent has actually acquired more capability, and the gap between the quality from the West and the quality from this part of the world is beginning to grow smaller and smaller,” said Calvin Wong, chief executive officer for South East Asia and executive vice president for Asia at the Universal Music Group.
Weaving through different industries and exploring different platforms will play a huge role in the innovation of the music industry. Musicians have been “performing” in video games; for instance, rapper Travis Scott’s April concert in multiplayer game Fortnite brought in a massive 12.3 million viewers. Bang Bang Con: The Live, a paid online concert by South Korean band BTS held in June, raked in 756,600 viewers and between $19 million to $26 million in revenue.
“The key for us in the music industry is, can we evolve, can we react quick enough to really react to the situation? I think we can. As an industry, we have become very agile in terms of accepting new things…we’ve gone through a lot of pain in the last 15 to 20 years from physical business to digital business,” said Mr. Wong. — Mariel Alison L. Aguinaldo