Hey y’all, public Shakedown dance party coming up! We’re performing this Friday, August 17th at 10:00PM at Imurj (underneath Whiskey Kitchen) in downtown Raleigh. This show will be a release party for an app called LiveLifeLive. Admission is free and, wait for it, if you download the app at the show you will be receive a frosty, nourishing Pabst Blue Ribbon for your efforts. A fair trade if there ever was one.
The app is intended to tighten the feedback loop between live performers and their audience. Participants who use the app can leave reviews, suggestions and financial support for live performers who are on the app. For working musicians who make their living in jazz clubs, coffee houses, bars and smaller venues, it’s a compelling way to connect with people who are experiencing our music in real time.
To get some additional background on the app, I sat down with Co-Founder of LiveLifeLive, Bob Riedlinger for a few questions.
Tell me about the genesis of the app: Four of us from high school were catching up after not seeing each other for 25 years. One of us is a professional musician, Mark Willms who’s now the Co-Founder of the app. He’s worked full time as a musician since he was 28 years old, doing studio work, appearing in movies like Lost In Translation along with other soundtrack work.
He mentioned to me that he was making the same money now as he was in the 1980’s and that the majority of his work is through live performances. He talked about the tip jar on the piano and how while some listeners want to tip him for his show, the whole transaction is awkward, especially in a cashless society. One of our other friends said, “They aught to make an app for that,” and I turned to Mark and asked, “How would an app like that work?” So we just started talking more about it and the idea took root from there.
I found a local development firm here in Raleigh called BigPixel and we realized we had a basic framework for how it would work in order to provide not only a digital tip, but also a means to communicate with a performer which the musician is able to customize through the app. As an example there’s a performer here in town that mentioned she has mental blocks naming her songs and she would love for her audience to provide ideas for her through the app.
Ultimately, what we feel it’s doing here is allowing the audience to become more interactive in a non-invasive way with the musician.
Is there a specific kind of musician that this is aimed at? Yes, it’s aimed at local performers rather than national performers. If you’re walking into somewhere like the Lincoln Theatre and you’re paying a $20 cover to go in there, the expectation is that you know that band is going to be compensated so that wouldn’t be the thought. But when you’re going into a bar to see a band playing and you’re paying a pittance of a cover charge…that’s a suitable environment for the performer to use the app.
I think that for most musicians that are out live and performing, they would want a better feedback loop with their audience. I also think it’s important to note that it’s not necessarily in real time: Absolutely, you could obviously send in a request, but the musician is playing, not checking their phone. To your point Nash, you really want people to review your shows and so this app allows for that.
Where do you see this app going? I’ve been reading up on Patreon and in many ways, it’s a very similar app. People who love the arts can financially support artists and stay connected through a digital medium, however this app is focused solely on musicians sharing their live performances and connecting with their audiences in real-time.