The Problems with Livestreaming Concerts Over Zoom

While it can seem like a quick and easy solution to monetising your livestreamed concerts, Zoom and other video conferencing services, should be avoided for this.

Some venues have recently invested heavily in audio and video equipment for concert livestreaming and have opted to use Zoom as their method of broadcasting their concert to viewers. Unfortunately, this is like buying a 4K capable TV purely to watch old VHS tapes.

The mission of Zoom has been clear from the start and it does an excellent job of fulfilling their goals – it is perfect for video calls and webinars. This video does an excellent job of explaining Zoom’s history and how they became the dominant player in the video conferencing sphere during the coronavirus pandemic. However, it was never designed for concerts or other arts events, and really does not do a good job of delivering a high-quality event experience to viewers.

10 reasons why Zoom is unsuitable for high-quality event broadcasting
  1. Bad audio quality
    While Zoom's audio quality is fine for business and personal meetings, when used for live events, their audio quality can leave a little to be desired. Especially for concerts, where clearly the audio is of paramount importance, this can become a significant problem.
    OnGenre has made audio quality a clear focus of its livestreaming offering, ensuring events always sound crystal clear.
  2. Poor video quality
    In a similar vein to the poor audio, Zoom's picture quality really isn't up to scratch for arts events. With most people using their free offering for business meetings and to catch up with friends, in order to stay profitable, Zoom have not been able to provide full HD video to users. If they did, their server costs would catch up to them rather quickly.
    OnGenre's streams in full HD and ensures broadcaster bitrates remain high to ensure a premium event livestreaming experience.
  3. Cannot cast to televisions
    As software designed for meetings, Zoom does not have an app that allows for casting to televisions or to devices such as Google's Chromecast or Amazon's Fire Stick. This means it is difficult to create a proper sit-down concert viewing experience over Zoom.
    OnGenre's Android and iPhone/iPad apps enable you watch events on mobile devices and also enable casting to televisions with devices such as Chromecasts and Amazon Fire Sticks.
  4. Poor support
    A quick look at Trustpilot shows you that Zoom has been struggling to keep users happy, especially those paying for their premium webcasting services (the option that some venues livestreaming concerts have been using). With an average of just 1.8 out of 5, the main complaint seems to that their support is virtually non-existant. As is often the case with large tech giants, they are businesses designed to be more or less entirely automated. When people do need human support, they find that these businesses simply do not employ enough people to be able to provide any semblance of customer service. This might be fine for the many people who make use of Zoom's free offering, but for venues paying possibly tens of thousands for webcasting services, this could be a major disappointment.
    OnGenre provides constant personal communication and support, and is brought to you from a company with decades of music industry experience.
  5. They don't cover livestreaming royalties, which can be complicated to deal with
    Being a video conferencing service, Zoom do not get involved with Performing Rights Organisations such as PRS, ASCAP, BMI and SESAC. This means that any event host using Zoom needs to organise the appropriate licences for livestreaming themselves. This can prove time consuming and complicated. Even if a venue has all the required licences for live in-venue events, it is a whole different ballgame when it comes to licences for livestreaming.
    OnGenre deals with livestreaming royalties so you don't have to and covers a number of international territories.
  6. They don't include a ticketing option
    Online ticketing can be complicated and Zoom doesn't offer a simple way to charge for access to events.
    One of OnGenre's livestreaming options means that we deal with ticketing for you, providing the majority of revenue to venues that we partner with.
  7. Doesn’t easily link to your own website’s ticketing system
    Whilst Zoom offers the ability to create private access links for meetings, it can be difficult to change existing online venue ticketing systems to enable the sale of virtual seats for online events.
    OnGenre can integrate with your existing ticketing system, meaning you can collect payments and use OnGenre's livestreaming service to deliver your event to viewers.
  8. Becomes expensive for large events
    Many people simply use Zoom's free offering, while others pay a small monthly free for their premium offerings. While at first Zoom can seem inexpensive, once you dig into their pricing it becomes apparent that if you attract a reasonable viewing audience, the cost for their webinar packages can begin to quickly add up to tens of thousands.
    OnGenre offers two very cost effective options depending on whether you wish to use OnGenre's ticketing system, or seek to self-ticket your events. Find out more on our Become a Broadcaster page.
  9. Their audio processing algorithm is designed for speech
    One of the clever features of Zoom is problematic when broadcasting. During meetings, Zoom processes audio to eliminate feedback. When playing many musical instruments, especially stringed instruments, their processor begins to interpret the high-frequency sounds as feedback. This is clearly a problem and less than ideal for a live concert!
    OnGenre is a purpose-built platform for arts events, and will deliver sound that is perfect for concerts and any sort of live occasion.
  10. Your viewers will be left disappointed with the Zoom concert experience, especially if you’re charging full-ticket prices for your online events.
    In the interests of saving venues during the pandemic, some have decided to charge full-ticket prices for their livestreams. This is understandable and many have been very generous to the arts during a time of need. However, somebody paying £60 or more for a livestreamed concert broadcast over Zoom may be left feeling somewhat disappointed and may be unwilling to repeat the same generosity for a high-quality broadcast over a low-quality platform.

If you'd like more details about joining OnGenre as a venue, see our Becoming a Broadcaster page or feel free to contact us.