Grammy Award-winning artists Billie Eilish and Finneas (Finneas Baird O’Connell) have joined the Recording Academy’s Grammy Museum in new territory. Today the Los Angeles-based museum launched a new online streaming platform, Collection:live, featuring exclusive access to music artist interviews, performances and livestreams, releases from the museum archive and more.
Collection:live is testament to the resilience of the museum and its ability to completely redefine digital operations just five days after the pandemic forced doors to close in March. The first-ever Grammy-affiliated streaming service is also meeting the music industry’s rising demand for paid subscription streaming services.
According to The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)’s mid-year 2020 report on U.S. consumer listening and recorded music revenues, paid streaming subscription is on the rise. In fact, it has grown to the point of offsetting declines in other areas of music including physical and downloads, as well as slowing ad-supported streaming revenues.
RIAA reports that paid streaming subscriptions drove growth in total first-half 2020 revenues from recorded music in the U.S., which increased 5.6% to $5.7 billion. Paid subscriptions jumped 24% to more than 72 million on average, causing subscription streaming revenue to rise 14% for the first-half of 2020 as compared to the first-half of 2019.
“These are historically difficult times; the live music sector is shut down, studio recording is limited and millions of Americans are out of work across the broader economy,” Mitch Glazier, chairman and CEO of RIAA, said in a statement about the report. “We must continue working to help sustain live music and venues, support gig workers and session musicians and ensure fair pay for music on all digital platforms. Despite all the challenges from the pandemic, one thing clearly hasn’t changed–fans still love music.”
The Grammy Museum President Michael Sticka says that he faced challenges in pivoting to remote operations, especially given the non-profit’s staff shortages during the pandemic. The museum quickly implemented a content strategy plan and in March began releasing pre-recorded programming every day of the week. However he knew that more was needed to fund the museum’s educational programs that typically serve 30,000 students each year.
While the concept for Collection:live was born several years ago, the pandemic greatly accelerated efforts to bring it to completion. Luckily, according to Sticka, the museum had allocated $350,000 from individual donors received in December of 2019 for the development of digital initiatives. Even after the museum reopens its doors one day, Sticka plans to scale the new platform and make it a permanent part of the digital museum.
“This launch offers a new outlet for artists to showcase their work, art and music,” Sticka says. “The new streaming service is anchored by artist programs, and the technology will allow us to grow our educational footprint and broadcast programs nationwide in a more accessible way.”
Proceeds from the museum’s new subscription service and ticketed livestream events will support a variety of programs including Grammy Camp, Grammy Career Day, Mentorship Mondays and school tours and workshops. In addition to Eilish and Finneas, digital Public Programs series will include artists like The Avett Brothers, BTS, Black Pumas, Glass Animals, Selena Gomez, Run The Jewels, Tones And I and Scarypoolparty (Alejandro Aranda).
“The industry has been hit so hard by the pandemic that any positive movement toward getting music and education into the world is a big step forward, and I am hopeful that any small part can be helpful,” Scarypoolparty says.
The new service is available on all streaming platforms as well as the museum website. Subscription cost is either $2.99 per month or $29.99 per year, including a free, three-day trial. Educational content, lesson plans, daily playlists and staff-curated content will also be available on the museum website and digital platforms during closure.
“What is really amazing about this situation is that when doors closed, we were the first museum, as far as I know, to take action…especially in L.A.,” Sticka says. “You never waste a crisis, and it was a lifetime opportunity to be able to achieve this.”