How Live Media Platform Moment House Is Elevating Virtual Performances
On Sunday (May 1), Vince Staples partnered with Moment House to perform an exclusive, theatrical rendition of his latest album, Ramona Park Broke My Heart. A tribute to the neighborhood in which he grew up, Staples’ set design resembled a yellow flower shop called Ramona’s Roses, a theme from the 16-track album that hit No. 21 on the Billboard 200. (I’m married to the money, don’t be playing games/ Only bringing flowers to the homie’s grave,” he raps on “Rose Street”)
As Staples tells Billboard, “Moment House gave us the ability to reimagine what a live performance looks like. We were able to create a cinematic and immersive experience that brought to life a lot of the stories of Ramona Park. It added dimension to the album and was a unique experience for fans that I was really happy about.”
The Long Beach rapper is the latest artist to collaborate with the live media platform for, what the company calls, his “moment.” Launched in 2019 by Arjun Mehta, Nigel Egrari and Shray Bansal, Moment House connects artists and creators across music, comedy and podcasts with their core fans for global and digital experiences. As the platform has evolved — especially with the pandemic accelerating virtual performances and as album films have become more popular — Moment House has been partnering with artists including Bryson Tiller, Halsey, Aurora and St. Vincent and across labels including Capitol, Atlantic BMG, Glassnote and more to become an integral part of marketing and album rollouts.
The platform encourages artists to avoid filming their Moment on a stage or in front of an audience to offer viewers an exclusive, online-only cinematic experience. Fans can also interact with each other via a live chat, engage in artist Q&As and VIP meet-and-greets post-performance.
“I think there’s this misnomer that these are livestreams, but that’s not at all what this is,” says Mehta. “This is a new creative canvas. Vince Staples called [his moment] a musical. It was a performative album film around his content.”
Backed by leading investors including Scooter Braun, Jared Leto, UTA Ventures and more, revenue for participating artists comes from a combination of ticket sales (which range from $10-15), exclusive merch sales sold on the Moment House website, tips from the audience and meet-and-greet upgrades and/or digital afterparty events. The platform makes money from a 10% service fee on the customer, and to date, has processed over 1 million tickets across 168 countries and an additional 44 territories.
When it comes to recruiting artists for Moments, head of music Sam Berger says the company strives to work with musicians who want to modernize their album rollout strategy and who have already established a creative vision for their performance, yet the process is oftentimes a two-way street.
“This plays into this idea of creating world-building content,” he says. “Artists who come to us and want to put up cameras at a venue and film a concert where there’s people there in-person isn’t as interesting to us as really diving in and taking another creative step to create content that is made specifically for the platform.”
Each Moment, Berger explains, is a collaboration between the artist, their team and Moment House. The company takes a lax approach when it comes to the production process of the visuals, and because artists oftentimes use their own videographers and creative teams to film their Moments, the platform has formed strong connections with various production companies.
“The most important thing to us is that the artist has the ability to execute their creative vision the way that they like,” adds Berger. “We don’t ever force production companies or creative directors on artists at any point. We have a production manager in-house, and through the hundreds of different Moments we’ve worked on at this point, we’ve built incredible relationships.”
Despite the return of touring, Moment House is discovering it can coexist with live concerts, offering a more cost-friendly and at-home alternative to in-person shows, while still building community and providing a visual and emotional component to the typical album listening experience. “As a core fan and artist, you want to go deeper,” says Mehta. “Moments allow artists to deliver a social experience to their global core fanbase, and the need for that is fundamental.”
“It’s not tied to a pandemic or non-pandemic, it was never meant to replace a concert,” he continues. “It’s such an empowering thing for an artist to extend their art into a new format. Performative album films are the new music video. That’s really what this is.”