LiveList.com has the livestream interface down. Now it’s time for woman power.
20,692 SHOWS THIS YEAR | 29 SHOWS LIVE TODAY. That is the promo line on the LiveList .com welcome page. Impressive, and a nice metric of the livestream industry — which has quickly become an industry as it is currently the only way we can experience live music.
LiveList.com is a startup that is perfectly geared for a great user experience; tell them who you want to see and LiveList lets you know when they stream along with the platform and it is pretty simple from there. Other livestream aggregators are not nearly as seamless, and while others are working on eliminating friction in their processes, LiveList came out of the box with a top-notch interface for both viewers and artists. It looks and works great.
It also came out of the box with absolutely no women (and no Latinos, but that is another column) in the organization which is launching into an industry where women are leading the charts, fronting a growing number of bands, and according to Forbes Magazine, are the leading buyers and streamers of music.
The company was created by two guys: Allen Sanford and Rob Lissner. Both are outstanding entrepreneurs in music. Sanford owns the Saint Rocke music venue in Hermosa Beach, CA, one of the best in the LA area, and has produced over1,000 livestreamed concerts, including streams with women in them. Rob Lisser knows his way around both Silicon Valley and the entertainment industry with stints at Facebook and Yahoo, and has created partnerships with major entertainment players. He has been an investor himself, so he knows the VC world.
But as you go through the public list of hires and advisors, it is all male.
What were they thinking? Women like Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, and Beyonce – the top-selling artists in music today – notice things like that. And they and other women have a choice of who to work with and subscribe to. They might also notice that the artist lineup on LiveList (and to be fair on other livestream platforms like Stageit.com ) is very male top-heavy. I can’t say that this is because everyone publicly connected with LiveList is male. But all-male organizations don’t have the networks and the marketing smarts to attract the legions of female artists and subscribers runaway success demands today. But they can change – they are new; they don’t have to follow the old boy traditions.
What do I mean by that?
From a business angle it just makes sense to season the corporate leadership and staff with women because women are the leading buyers of music. According to Hypebot, starting around 2004 women purchased more CDs than men by about a 5% margin, and, more importantly, today women stream more than men by a 6% margin. I understand that LiveList successfully pitched the boys on Sand Hill Road for startup money ($1.9 million in seed funds according to Pitchbook) and used it to launch a site with a technical sophistication that promises to become the gold standard. And to be fair, they have lined up some top female talent like Pink, Haim, Lindsey Stirling, Adele, and Miley Cyrus, among others. But the majority of its artists, especially in the mid-list and rising categories, are male.
This is a lost opportunity. Women at all levels can reach out to female stars, influencers and consumers in their networks and say this is not only a great platform, but it is a comfortable one. Women are also in tune with what the major music buyers – women – read, see, listen to, and want. They can also ensure that the boys don’t make any marketing gaffs that sound good in the men’s room but make women shudder – remember the Ford ad that featured three women who were bound, gagged, and stuffed in the trunk of their new Ford hatchback to show off its spaciousness? The guys at Ford would like you to forget it. A woman on the team would have killed it immediately.
But business aside, there is also a powerful social reason. If streaming is going to take its place next to live music as a major part of the music industry and an important career element for artists, it can’t be the same male-centered, barrier filled industry it is today. LiveList is still new enough to junk the old ways and old schools. It can reach out aggressively and hire women executives, sign female talent at all levels, boost women’s careers, and become a safe and powerful place for the many, many rising female stars by balancing the number of male artists they offer with a roughly equal number of female ones. And they can partner with organizations like She Rocks, Women in Music, the House of Blues Music Forward Foundation and IndieMusicWomen. They will make money and ensure that a new arm of the music industry is women-friendly instead of the same old boys’ club with the same old barriers to entry for women.
I am not an investor and my platform experience is limited to a single Webby Honors for an online TV- political show, so my advice may be worth a cup of coffee when you can go to a Starbucks. But I do have a PhD from MIT and have taught engineers at Georgia Tech so I know an excellent piece of technology when I see it, and LiveList is that. My advice is that their great technology won’t be enough unless they add some women power at every corporate level. If they do, they might just find themselves quickly becoming a huge and very valuable success, and make some history.
BTW: They are hiring.