While concerts and live events return to the physical world, many in the technology industry have wondered if any of the pandemic opportunities surrounding the virtualization of these events have been lost so far.
San Francisco-based Flymachine aims to seek out the holy grail of the digital music industry and find a way to capture the magic of live concerts and performances in a livestreamed setting. The start-up hopes that the consumer habits of the pandemic era around the socialization of video chats combined with an industry that needs digital diversification can push the taste of virtual concerts into the lives of music fans.
The start-up ambitions are not cheap, Flymachine tells TechCrunch that they have raised 21
The virtual concert industry did not have as much locking moment as some had hoped. Spotify experimented with virtual events. Meanwhile, startup companies like Wave have made great efforts with VC funding to turn real artists into digital avatars in an effort to create more digital-native concerts. And while some smaller artists embraced shows over Zoom or worked on startups like Oda, which created live concert subscriptions, there were few common hits among major acts.
Creating Flymachine’s brand of virtual concerts one thing, the startup does not try to convert potential personal contestants on a show into virtual contestants, instead hoping to create an attractive experience for people who would normally have to skip the show. Whether the virtual contestants were too far from a place, could not babysit for the night or just could not jazz up a mosh pit scene anymore, Flymachine hopes that there are enough potential contestants on the bubble to maintain the startup while trying to blur the lines between “a night in and one night out “, says CEO Andrew Dreskin.
The start-up strategy is about building partnerships with concert halls with name tags around the USA – Bowery Ballroom in New York City, Bimbos 365 Club i San Francisco, The Crocodile i Seattle, Marathon Music Works i Nashville and Teragram Ballroom in Los Angeles, among them – and live some of the shows in these places for home audiences. Flymachine’s team has deep roots in the music industry; Dreskin founded Ticketfly (acquired by Pandora) while co-founder Rick Farman is also co-founder of Superfly, which puts on Bonnaroo and Outside Land music festivals.
As for the actual experience – and I had the chance to experience one of the shows (pictured above) before I wrote this – Flymachine has done its best to recreate the experience of shouting over the tunes to talk to your friends nearby. In the world of Flymachines, this participates in the show in a “private room” with your other friends who stream live in video chat bubbles from their homes. It is well done and does not distract too much from the concert itself, but you can adjust the sound level of your friends and the music when time demands.
Aircraft’s platform launch earlier this year, arriving as many Americans have been vaccinated and many concertgoers preparing to return to normal, may have been considered a bit late at the moment, but the founding team sees a long-term opportunity that COVID further highlighted.
“We were not in a crazy dash to get the product out the door while people were tied up in their homes because we knew this would be part of the drug in society going forward,” Dreskin tells TechCrunch.