A platform for booking musicians in the UK pivots to letting users pay artists to send personalized music videos during coronavirus lockdowns

encore music messages

Nat O'Brien Band/YouTube; Lovely Official/YouTube

Two musicians who have been sending music messages through Encore.

  • Coronavirus has struck the music industry hard, causing concerts to be canceled and forcing artists to find alternative revenue streams.
  • Encore, a platform used for booking musicians for gigs, has pivoted to letting customers pay artists to create personalized "music messages" for their friends and loved ones.
  • Messages that have already been created - which cost as little as £15 - have shown artists sending birthday and anniversary wishes, and changing songs to include quarantine-themed lyrics.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Platforms for buying tickets for live performances and booking gigs have little to no use as the coronavirus pandemic keeps millions confined to to their homes.

Encore, a platform for booking musicians for events in the United Kingdom, is now letting customers pay artists to create personalized music videos they can send to their friends and loved ones from the safety of their own quarantines. The platform's pivot to this new product was first reported by TechCrunch.Advertisement

These "music messages" allow music artists to have an alternative revenue stream during this time, Encore cofounder James McAulay told TechCrunch. For as low as £15, users can send a request to one of the more than 20,000 musicians on the platform to perform a song of their choosing.

"Even if you can't be with them in person, show a loved one you care about them by sending them a personalised song they can keep forever," Encore's website reads. "By purchasing a video you're helping support musicians who can no longer earn a living from live performance."

For each performance commissioned, Encore will donate £2.50 to NHS Charities Together, a collective of nonprofits supporting the National Healthcare Service, the UK's public health system.

The business of music and live events has already been heavily affected by the outbreak of COVID-19, the coronavirus disease. Ticketing giant StubHub, for example, has reportedly furloughed more than 60% of its employees. And as social distancing is more widely enforced, hundreds of concerts - as well as spectator sports, summer festivals, and revenue-driving annual events - have been canceled or postponed, creating a domino effect felt by venues, vendors, and the artists and performers themselves.

Encore's music messages platform draws similarities to Cameo, a platform through which people can pay up to hundreds of dollars for messages from celebrities, including prominent athletes, influencers, actors, and reality TV stars. Cameo has seen a spike in demand in recent weeks: CEO Steven Galanis told Insider the platform has received up to 4,500 requests per day.However, Encore is different in that it's strictly available for musicians, many less well-known. Although Encore's platform for music messages is currently only displaying 10 available musicians, Encore told TechCrunch that it would be making these message bookings available for all 20,000 musicians on the platform this week.Advertisement

Some of the early personalized music videos have already been created and published online, and they're wildly entertaining. Sure, there were simple requests for songs dedicated to friends and families for birthday and anniversary celebrations.

But one musical group called the Nat O'Brien Band recorded a rendition of "Happy Birthday" featuring two band members who are quarantined in different households. As the singer belts out the tune, a recording of another band member playing the song on the piano is shown on a computer behind him.

Other musicians have taken their requests further to perform songs featuring customized lyrics that have to do with coronavirus and quarantine. Fleetwood Mac's "You Can Go Your Own Way" was changed to "You Can't Go Your Own Way" in one video performance. It's unclear whether the customer or the artist wrote the new lyrics.Advertisement

In another birthday video, musician Sam Burkey performs a rendition of Michael Buble's "Haven't Met You Yet," featuring the line: "Every day is the same I've stopped keeping track / We've got to stay in, we can't go out."


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