The debate over the impact of streaming services on traditional music sales and the future of the music industry is one of the most controversial and popular discussions in the music world. Many are concerned about the health of the music industry, and especially the up-and-coming artists. However, innovative new takes on traditional streaming services look to ease some streaming concerns.These new programs are opening the door for a better relationship between streaming platforms, artists, and listeners. Sina Habibian, a software developer out of California, is one of those leading streaming services in a new direction. Habibian created the music discovery service Funkavinci, an innovative take on traditional streaming – and one that could have a profound impact on the local Austin music scene.
Habibian described his inspiration for Funkavinci in his article “The Machine Made Playlist.” As a software developer and music discovery devotee, Habibian reinvented one of Spotify’s most popular features – Discovery Weekly – after discovering loads of new music, but having no knowledge of the upcoming shows of these newfound artists.
Funkavinci playlist. PHOTO: Sina Habibian
Finding live shows, simplified
In Funkavinci, listeners have knowledge of upcoming live shows from the moment they have the playlist. It’s a streamlined concert-finding service built into a music discovery platform. Not only does it bring listeners new music and new artists to support, but also gives them resources needed to see these artists perform live with minimal hassle.
Unnecessary hassle finding a show is a real problem for small, local artists in Austin especially. There are many reasons for this, but one of the most common is finding consistent, up-to-date concert information. Finding show information is even more complicated if a listener is new to an artist’s music and is not a longtime fan.
With services like Funkavinci, local bands reach a broader listening audience. More importantly, they can also guarantee that this audience will know about their shows. In a city like Austin, where the live music scene is vibrant, and sometimes overwhelming, show-finding can be difficult. Funkavinci drastically reduces that difficulty.
It’s not simply enough for artists to gain exposure through streaming services, which give notoriously low payouts. New listeners have to be willing to see these artists live. Artists make their money by doing live performances – not streaming their music. Some Austinites, like Joe Ables of Saxon Pub, believe that streaming services still bring a necessary new audience that benefits local artists. When asked about streaming’s impact on live shows, especially local bands, Ables said “It is my opinion that people [who] listen to Spotify, Pandora, etc. expand their musical knowledge and… increase their interest to go see [shows] performed live.”
While the streaming pay is no doubt dismal, more listeners and increased interest in shows is critical for up-and-coming bands. If streaming services alone benefit local artists, a built in a concert-finding service like Funkavinci would be almost guaranteed to drive more people to see live shows.
Mikey Wheeler of Parish expressed the positive impact a program like Funkavinci would have on the live scene in Austin, saying “Anything that helps people transition from jacked-in online distraction to a real world experience sounds like a good thing to me!”
One of the most important factors in engaging new listeners and encouraging them to come to shows is perfecting the medium between the artists and listeners. Increasingly, this medium is streaming services. Streaming, love it or hate is, is the future of music. Funkavinci capitalized on the popularity of streaming services, but brought an extra element of engagement by providing listeners with direct access to tickets for upcoming shows of artists. Critical to the success of small, local artists is making streaming platforms more engaging, and the addition of extra features and content that go beyond music streams.
A more inclusive stream
Funkavinci is an innovative twist on traditional streaming and concert finding. While not intended necessarily for small, local artists, the benefits are obvious. Beyond concert finding, there are a ton of ways streaming services can continue to grow an artist’s listening base. For the health of small artists, streaming services should look to incorporate these extra features in their own platforms.
Energizing live music with Innovative streaming
Music discovery and streaming platforms have a huge impact on the prominence of an artist. However, the infrastructure and features dedicated to supporting local artists is lacking. Although Habibian ended support for Funkavinci, new services with similar features have the ability to change this sub par infrastructure. Funkavinci is the start of a new wave of streaming. This streaming innovation makes artists the center of attention.
Bringing artists to the forefront – by getting live show information directly to a large listening base – could energize the up-and-coming bands in the Austin live music scene. With so many great artists, but a less-than-great streaming system, new, innovative streaming platforms may be the key to invigorating live music support in the Live Music Capital of the World.