When we started Lockdown Presents back in April 2020 in response to the first Covid lockdown in the UK, we could never have predicted where we’d be today. Back under further lockdowns around the world and with the world of live performance still severely disrupted. But with Lockdown Presents still going strong, having connected musicians with thousands of people in 20+ countries to enjoy life affirming concerts together, and seeing the innovative and wonderful ways that music continues to thrive and touch people’s lives.
Steffen and I have benefited from input and support from so many people in getting Lockdown Presents off the ground. Given our mission to create new paid work opportunities for musicians and raise money for charity, we wanted to share transparent information on what we’ve achieved to date. As a data nerd, I love seeing stats from other companies on trends they are seeing - so even though we are only tiny, we’ve shared our stats below. I hope it’s of interest to some of you.
One thing we’ve learned this year is that there is definitely demand for virtual, live private concerts. Regardless of covid restrictions. Not everyone can travel to live shows, people live hours apart from their loved ones, and there’s no better ‘front row seat’. It is a truly unique and different experience to curate your own concert and discuss the pieces directly with the musician. We are full of excitement and plans for Lockdown Presents going into 2021.
👉 We would love to get your input to our thinking. If you are willing to spare 5-10 minutes to share your thoughts, please fill in our customer survey here.
2020 Highlights ⭐
Firstly, a massive thank you to every single person who booked a virtual concert with us, told a friend about us, or offered a warm word of encouragement. It has meant the world to us and all our musicians to have that support.
I also want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who has given their time to help get this off the ground. As you may know, Lockdown Presents is run by volunteers. Steffen and myself, co-founders, run the day to day. We’ve been lucky enough to also have support from many people along the way who believed in the mission. In particular I want to call out Malcolm Fitzwilliams, who has been lending us his PR expertise and helped Lockdown Presents get featured on BBC Radio 4 amongst others. Also Helen Miller who volunteered with us for 5 months over the summer helping us with social media and marketing. We could not have achieved these 2020 stats without either of them.
The data 🧮
(all data points are as of 30th December 2020)
Bookings and website trends (aka the power of the media!)
Bookings were around 15-20 / month through summer and early autumn. The concerts were going really well but we were struggling to get the word out that we exist. Despite the slow traction we were motivated to continue by the feedback from the musicians and the audiences about how much they were enjoying the concerts and how much joy live music over Zoom was bringing people. Even within our first 100 concerts, we had 10 returning customers and mostly word of mouth recommendations.
We saw a big pick up as we headed towards Christmas and thanks to features on Radio 4 Today, BBC North West and a mention in the Guardian. The trend reflects what we saw in traffic to the website too.
Where did people hear about us?
(‘Other’ includes some Radio & TV before they were added as options)
Even after some media coverage, word of mouth remains our most important source of bookings. We know we need to do a better job of explaining the concert experience to people who’ve not heard of us, but it is just much more compelling coming from someone you know and trust!
What do people book?
Since we introduced 30 minute gigs, 15 and 30 minutes are the most popular options. 45 minutes concerts tend to be booked for special occasions (Christmas especially), bespoke sets (e.g. a musical quiz), or for more time to discuss the pieces and talk to the artist.
Opera singers have been the most popular booking (includes musical theatre and other genres of singing), followed by singer-songwriter then classical then jazz. Our media coverage has been skewed towards opera so we think that’s likely to have impacted the split. Note also that we don’t have equal numbers of performers within each category.
Impact for performers
Our core mission is to generate paid work opportunities for musicians and to bring the joy of live music to people in their homes. We are delighted to have generated £22k of paid work for musicians to date.
The musicians have told us that the income has made a big difference in such a difficult year, when the majority of their work was cancelled. More than that, it has also given them a reason to practice and meaningful connections with audiences around the world.
Total income generated
The below chart shows all of our income to date, including future bookings which haven’t been paid out yet (approx £1,700). We have separated out gift certificates where they haven’t been used yet, of which 80% will also be paid to musicians.
Pay what you want
In order to balance keeping the service accessible with paying musicians fairly for their time, our pricing is Pay What You Want. We know a lot of arts organisations have a similar model so we thought it would be helpful to share the data on what we’ve seen.
31% of bookers add a PWYW amount. When people do add a PWYW amount, the average is £27. This works out at an average of £8 when spread across all gigs.
The average added is highest for 30 minute gigs and then lower again for 45 minutes (split shown below).
Lockdown Presents’ finances 📊
Below is a complete breakdown of our finances for the year. We have included two views:
- All time - from when we started up in April 2020 to December (300th at the time of pulling this together)
- December - this is an estimate of our finances for the month of December
Note: These financial views exclude future bookings and gift certificates and therefore are lower than the numbers reported above. The payments to musicians also exclude payments made for ‘off platform’ bookings e.g. charity gigs paid from our Crowdfunder, and are therefore also slightly lower than above.
You will see our ‘all time’ profit is lower than the December estimate, this is because for a few months in the autumn we lost money due to our software costs not being covered with the number of concerts.
For 2020 we are donating all of our profits to our three charities; Mind, AgeUK and Refuge. When we started, we promised ourselves we would donate at least £1.50 from each concert to charity (50p to each of the charities) even if we didn’t make a profit, in order to be consistent with our message. Luckily we’ve been able to exceed that and are really pleased to say we’ll be donating at least £1,500 to charity.
For anyone interested in our tech stack, you can read more about what we use and why here. We try to minimise our fixed costs whilst maximising time efficiency and automating things where we can. A full breakdown of our costs for December is below.
In June we launched a crowdfunder to raise funds to help us get the word out about Lockdown Presents. We are so grateful to everyone who supported us to raise £1,640, including £750 matching from Natwest’s ‘Back Her Business’ campaign.
The crowdfunding money was used for activities to help us get the word out about Lockdown Presents - this was a mixture of paid marketing (e.g. Facebook ads) and paying musicians for concerts (e.g. our Round of Applause series of concerts for our charity partners). The breakdown of how we spent the funds is below.
Going forward 🎧
The big challenge for us going forward is how we can continue to get the word out and make this sustainable! Having read every single review and spoken to all the musicians, we really believe in the power of these intimate shared concerts online. We want to continue to offer them into 2021 and beyond.
One change is that we will be changing our charity partnerships arrangement, from donating our profit to donating a fixed 1 percent of revenue going to good causes.
- Technically this year we wouldn’t have had any profit if we’d paid any of the people who volunteered their time with Lockdown Presents, or if we’d not had the Crowdfunding money to pay for marketing. We want to be transparent in our messaging whilst also being able to pay people and pay for things like marketing and support, Donating a proportion of revenue makes it easier to be transparent.
Your feedback ✍
As we plan for 2021, we would love your input. If you are willing to spare 5-10 minutes to share your thoughts, please fill in our customer survey here. We’re really looking forward to continuing building this out with our community of musicians and music lovers!