Special Report: Brand Livestream

Kevin Best, Contributing Editor, BrandStorytelling.tv


SPOTLIGHT

Highlighting Impactful Live Streaming

Q and A with LiveXLive Global Head of Sales and Brand Partnerships Jason Miller


Brand Storyelling caught up with Jason Miller, LiveXLive’s Global Head of Sales and Brand Partnerships, about 2020, what’s to come for LiveXLive, and what he sees for the future of livestreaming itself:


First off, how would you describe your role, and what drew you to join the LiveXLive team?


As Global Head of Sales & Brand Partnerships, my team is responsible for driving sponsorship and advertising revenue across LiveXLive’s platform including on-demand video and audio, livestreaming of concerts, festivals, events and original series as well as working with blue chip companies to create branded content series and exclusive custom events. I was excited to join LiveXLive, as I felt there was a white space in the livestreaming music landscape and that brands would be super energized about what we are building. If you are a brand that wants to amplify your current music strategy or wants to partner with LiveXLive to develop one from the ground floor, we are uniquely positioned to help brands tap into the power of live music and artist partnerships to help reach their target consumers.



You became LiveXLive’s Global Head of Sales and Brand Partnerships right at the end of 2019. Obviously 2020 unfolded a lot differently than anyone expected, with music festivals like Coachella and SXSW getting cancelled. I’m sure a lot of what you game-planned for 2020 immediately went out the window, but what are you most proud of about how you and your team were able to pivot and react?


Since LiveXLive was already the leader in livestreaming music concerts, festivals and events, we quickly pivoted our content, talent relations, marketing and sales strategy. Starting with our 48 hour virtual music festival, Music Lives, in April, we were able to keep artists connected to their fans while creating unique ways to align brands with fans and bands. It also allowed us to accelerate our strategy of creating our own IP including developing original weekly series like Music Lives ON (which was launched off the success of Music Lives) and LiveZone, along with our LiveXLive Presents concert series and our first award show, The Lockdown Awards. Plus we created an end to end solution for pay-per-views (PPV) for artists and fans, where fans get the “best seat in the house”. Pepsi sponsored Pitbull's virtual concerts plus they also sponsored Pitbull’s newly launched podcast and vodcast series on PodcastOne and LiveXLive.



What do you look for when considering partnering a brand and an artist for a LiveXLive livestream event? What would the ideal brand partnership look like in your opinion?


We have partnered with major brands like Hyundai, White Claw Hard Seltzer, Chipotle, Corona, Pepsi and Porsche on customized music programs. We always look to align brands with artists that identify with the brand positioning and values of that brand, as well as resonate with their target consumer.


An ideal partnership is where we make the brand a star within the storyline of our content, whether it’s an original series, concert or festival. For example, we recently created an exclusive 3 part concert series with Porsche called “LiveXLive Presents: Stay Driven with Porsche” that not only partnered them with 3 emerging female artists that aligned with their target consumer, but also brought their “Stay Driven with Porsche” brand positioning to life through thematic questions with the artists along with interactivity with the vehicle.



What have been some of LiveXLive’s most successful livestream events to date, and what do you think made those such a success?


Our 48-hour Music Lives festival (April 2020) was incredibly successful, partnering with TikTok and Facebook Oculus from a sponsorship, marketing and distribution perspective and garnering over 50 million livestream views and 5 billion video views of the #MusicLives hashtag. Additionally, our first award show, The Lockdown Awards, presented exclusively by Hyundai, celebrated innovation and creativity in music since the pandemic started and delivered 10M+ livestream views in December. We see the greatest success when we combine the power of great content and storytelling, partnering with artists that have strong followings and fan bases while creating the right distribution channels and leaning in, not only to our livestreaming platforms but those in podcasting, vodcasting, digital radio and now, personalized merchandise. And when our brand partners promote the branded content across their digital and social channels, it helps elevate the overall platform to drive additional viewership and engagement.



What tips do you have for how best to market a livestream? How do you balance trying to attract users to both your social media platforms and your website/app? What are some common missteps you would caution against for brand activation on a global scale?


First we market through the LiveXLive platform- through our emails, in-app messages, push notifications and social media channels. One of our biggest differentiators is that we have over 1 million paid subscribers, and over 38 million customers. This allows us to use our internal marketing channels to reach the core audience of the brands and the artists. Our Slacker radio platform has a proprietary data platform in which we can target those subscribers who recently listened to the genre and or the exact artist. This also informs which artists are the next superstar and upcoming talent to pair with the brand. In addition, we focus on earned and owned media, meaning, we lean-in heavily on placing digital ads, not only on our site and its verticals, but we create a media buying strategy that targets audiences based on 1st and 3rd party data. In addition, we depend on earned media to organically tell our stories to drive people to view, purchase a show or event or to tune-in. The balance struck between advertising and public relations works for us too. Lastly, the artists themselves reach out to their fans through their channels - emails, fan groups and social media.


Some common missteps are to 100% depend on the artists to bring in the audience. It must be a combination of the artist, the brand and the platform. Also too often, the platforms that artists perform on do not have a subscriber base so pulling in the audience is double the work.



Livestream shopping has become a booming global market. Obviously LiveXLive is first and foremost about music, but do you see the company expanding into other live events besides concerts?


We are a nimble company who looks at opportunities in all areas of entertainment. We are more than music, we are an entertainment platform that includes music, comedy, pop culture, sports and more--- we are about original programming. We are launching 9 new unscripted series in 2021. We have hosted sporting events to comedy festivals and everything else in between. We ran over 20 different charity livestream events since April 2020. Most recently we acquired PodcastOne with one of the largest libraries of A+ podcast and vodcast content, and acquired a personalized merchandise business to enhance the full product offering of livestreams- “Get the tour t-shirt with your PPV ticket!.” We have a strong digital radio platform through Slacker and we will continue to grow our corporate flywheel in new verticals, not just livestreaming.



How would you say the livestreaming industry has changed just in the past year? Is the current demand because there aren't in-person events, or is it here to stay? Any predictions for the future of livestream?


It’s a question that could go on for days. Each day is unique and so are the ideas that we bring to