Live Bash raises $21M, plans to revolutionize performance industry with blockchain tech

The entertainment tech startup will allow performers to rent one of its physical stages to livestream and mint their performances.
Written by Marc Wojno, Senior Editor

Professional and amateur artists -- be they musicians, magicians, or motivational speakers -- are yearning to perform after waiting years for COVID-19 mandates to lift. However, many are limited by the cost. Entertainment technology startup Live Bash announced today that it's creating an affordable entertainment "ecosystem" to help artists get back in the spotlight.

The Chicago-based startup said that it has raised $21 million in seed capital with the help of "successful fintech pioneers." Live Bash didn't disclose the names of the investors. 

Its entertainment ecosystem allows artists to rent one of Live Bash's closed, physical sound stages and, through blockchain technology, livestream and "mint" their performances with a push of a button. The content created on a Live Bash stage is showcased on the company's software while its blockchain and smart contracts convert the live performances into digital collectibles and NFTs. The performers can then re-stream their content to their own distribution channels, including all social media channels.

"We want to connect with artists and help them create spaces where they can have amazing performances…and connect with their fans directly," said Live Bash CEO John Hart in an interview with ZDNet

Although the company is targeting professional performers, Hart says Live Bash stages will be available to all types of performers -- both amateur and professional -- including actors, musicians, dancers, comedians, magicians, interviewers, storytellers, and others. 

"Our stages will have no space for audiences; this is really about giving the performers that may not be able to get onto professional sound stages the ability to do so for 10 times less than what they'd have to pay," Hart said.

How it works

The business for Live Bash is to support performers through blockchain technology and to engage viewers. To get a show started, Live Bash says it will provide a booking portal for the artist to find available dates and times for one of their stages, followed by selecting the performance type so that the appropriate staff is on hand. A reservation fee will be charged to the artist up front with the balance due just before showtime. Hart didn't provide pricing details as the company is "still testing price sensitivity." 

Once booked, the artist will provide Live Bash additional details about the performance so that Live Bash can promote the event ahead of time, including generating artwork and promotional materials for social media platforms. Prior to showtime, Live Bash's crew will take the artist onto the stage to verify that they have everything they need for their show. 

Once on stage, the artist will press a button to start and stop the performance, giving them the ability to create separate moments of the show (think individual tracks on a CD). Artists need not worry about audience members holding up their smartphones, capturing the performance, and then redistributing video footage on social media without artist consent. An artist can sell each moment of their performance, like an individual song you can purchase on a streaming service. The content created on a Live Bash stage is showcased on the company's software. As mentioned above, the artist can re-stream their concert to their own distribution channels, the company says.

With Live Bash's blockchain and smart contract technologies, the artist has the option of converting their live performance into digital collectibles and NFTs. The digital collectibles component gives artists the opportunity to immediately realize earnings from their performances, and fans can buy, hold, trade, and share these segments.

"We're building on an Ethereum-compatible blockchain," Hart said, noting that Live Bash is launching first on a private blockchain, as it sorts out cost structures, before deciding to move to a public blockchain.

Tour dates?

Live Bash is currently building its first stage in Chicago, with other stages planned for Los Angeles and Nashville. Barring any unforeseen supply-chain disruptions, Live Bash will be going live later this year. 

Live Bash plans to have sound stages in major cities throughout the US and, farther down the line, other countries. "Our intention is to be thinking globally on the production side," Hart says. "As a network technology, we're going to be wherever we're allowed to do business. But for physical stages, we definitely want to engage an audience wherever they're at. So wherever the performers are, that's where we want to be."

Hart also sees Live Bash as a means to help artists get back to their livelihoods. "A lot of them are very undercapitalized, and they don't have access to the professional means of production. We actually think that by helping empower them, we can help bring a whole lot of new artists out... in a way that nobody has done before."

Hart added, "We look at the stage as a space that can be used to create, and we want to with our creators and help them engage with an audience that we know is out there."

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