Erykah Badu Merges Tech and Creativity With Her Own Livestream Company
Photo Credit: Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for Essence
Artists have gotten quite crafty by finding loopholes to still connect with their fans during quarantine. Erykah Badu has even gone as far as to develop her own livestream company, to perform her “Quarantine Concert Series” from her Dallas home.
Variety reports that Badu launched the company last month charging viewers $1-$3 fees for the audio content. Just ten days after her in-person tour was postponed, Badu hired a “back-end” livestream company and paywall service to essentially broadcast from the comfort of her bedroom.
“I had to quickly think of something, and like every other artist in the industry, we thought of livestreaming,” Badu told Variety. “I had to figure out a way to keep morale up for all [my] musicians and techs and engineers and keep all of us employed.”
To successfully launch her series, Badu first had to scout for a proper platform.
“I [spoke with] a lot of streaming companies, including the main ones, and they didn’t have what I thought was adequate for what I wanted to present to the audience.”
She eventually found Maestro, an interactive livestreaming company.
Complications with clearing publishing and her masters presented a challenge for the series’ launch at the very last minute, but Badu took a chance anyway.
“I only promoted it on my platforms for two hours, and all these people [tuned in],” said Badu.
Her rep says the interactive shows have drawn over 100,000 viewers each time. Plus the viewers are allowed to vote on Badu’s prepared setlist.
Badu’s vision for her series stemmed from her artistry and desire to create memorable moments.
“I wanted to create a livestreamed interactive experience that had the same integrity, ingenuity, creativity and technical aspects of my live shows,” Badu said.
The at-home concert series named “Apocalypse One” began with a three-hour show on March 23 and continued with a special show to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Badu’s “New Amerykah Part II” album on April 5.
Badu’s hope for this series is to both inspire other artists to be innovative with their craft and tap into the digital space.
“My streaming company will provide a turnkey solution for artists, a means of learning how to merge the creative platform with the tech platform. It’s all creativity — even creating the business model was creative for me,” said Badu. “Becoming a tech entrepreneur is a little different from what I’ve done in the past, but I can do it. And I have proof of concept.”