Facebook plans to allow users to charge for livestreams, which will provide a way for musicians and other creators to monetize their performances and events on the platform, the company announced Friday in a statement about new services it is offering.
In an announcement titled “Introducing Messenger Rooms and more ways to connect when you’re apart,” the company says, “To support creators and small businesses, we plan to add the ability for Pages to charge for access to events with Live videos on Facebook – anything from online performances to classes to professional conferences.”
The company did not specify when that option will become available or provide further details, including whether there is a limit on how much a performer can charge or whether Facebook will charge a fee or percentage; a rep did not immediately respond to Variety’s request for further information.
The company also announced that it will be expanding its “Stars” tipping system to musicians — in it, a performer can receive “tips” when users send them a “Star,” although with a $.01 tip per star, a bag of groceries will require a galaxy of “Stars.”
Facebook, along with Instagram Live (which it also owns), has become a go-to platform for musicians livestreaming since the coronavirus lockdown cancelled virtually every music tour on the planet, but monetizing those streams has not been an option, except for donations to certain non-profit organizations; Better Than Ezra’s Kevin Griffin managed to raise more than $40,000 for MusiCares with a solo acoustic performance simply by clicking a box.
While livestreaming as a business is in its embryonic stages, musicians have found other ways to both monetize them and connect with fans (see Variety’s recent article on three artists’ different approaches) — and there is plenty more to come in the months ahead, as the coronavirus lockdown continues with no clear date when live concerts will again be a safe option for fans or musicians.