StageIt Rethinks The Concert Experience

What if you could go to a concert without having to deal with going to a concert?

Videos by American Songwriter

If you could skip all those things that can make live concerts a drag: waiting in line at will call for your ticket; having to fight your way to the bar to buy an expensive drink; peering around someone’s head to get a view of the stage.

For a lot of people, that’s what makes going out fun, but for others, now there’s another option.

A new company called StageIt promises fans the experience of going to a concert, without having to leave their living room. The company, based in Los Angeles, was founded by Evan Lowenstein (pictured left), who previously fronted the pop rock duo Evan & Jaron with his twin brother. StageIt has already hosted concerts by big stars like Jimmy Buffett and James Otto.

StageIt lets fans buy a limited number of tickets to a private webstream concert with an artist. Just like a real concert, there’s a start time and and end time and, unlike T.V., there are no re-runs. If you miss the show, you miss the show. (The company currently does not even record the footage for an archive.)

“We have lost the sense of mystery,” says Lowenstein, citing the plethora of media available to fans online, such as artist videos, bio, music, and photos. “We need to have something, some place, that the artist has the ability to control,” he says.

On StageIt, fans get to interact with the artist – kind of as if they were back stage – by commenting and requesting songs via a chat window that the artist and other fans view on the right side of the browser window.

“We’re finding bringing everyone together in real-time is really magical,” says Lowenstein. “You’re actually involved with the artist directly and every show is different. You have the chance to be part of the outcome of the experience.”

There’s also a virtual Tip Jar that fans can donate to. In place of clapping, people often tip, and Lowenstein says 39% of all revenue comes through these unrequired donations.

For artists interested in playing a show, the submission process has been slow, with the waiting list long. “But, that process is changing,” says Lowenstein, who hopes that by August the site will have hit 10,000 artists.

While the platform currently is self-serve, Lowenstein says the company is working on new features that will “open up the floodgates” for more artists to do shows. He says in the near future the site may offer as many as 50 to 75 shows a day.

With more artists and more shows, Lowenstein said StageIt will bring out even more design changes to enhance the curatorial aspect of the site to help fans navigate what shows to see.

In the future, Lowenstein hints, fans may also be able to buy an all-site tour pass and pop in and out of shows. If the current version of StageIt is like a private house show, one day it may start to resemble something like a multi-stage weekend festival. Without the beer lines, of course.


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