We first met Frank Podlaha, Founder of Street Jelly Media, in late 2013 and posted this feature article on his start-up in January 2014. While we had seen him at events in the community since then, we received an intriguing email earlier this week that was the catalyst for this update.
“Hope all is well in these crazy times,” Podlaha wrote. “Just a quick heads-up that StreetJelly is going well and doing its part for the pandemic.” Our inquisitive nature from being a newspaper reporter more than 50 years ago kicked-in, and I asked for more information.
For those who are not familiar with StreetJelly, it is a way for musicians to do what they want to do – perform for audiences, much like street musicians do but online – and, in the process, generate revenues for themselves.
Now, with so many people “sheltering in place” due to the coronavirus, Podlaha says usage of StreetJelly has spiked considerably.
“Two things that we are very proud to help the world of self-isolation,” Podlaha wrote in talking about his business – “live streaming music (and a little bit of sanity) for all those hunkered down at home. We’ve seen a huge spike in viewers/musicians – from all over the world.”
In addition to providing music for individuals as they are isolated during the day and night, Podlaha says that the StreetJelly platform also provides a way for musicians to help offset income from the gigs they are losing as bars, restaurants, and venues close. “We’ve met some fantastic new musicians from Italy, France, and all over on StreetJelly this week,” he said. “It’s fascinating.”
Just how significant has the increased usage been? The answer is nearly 4X.
Podlaha says there were 110 broadcasts by 85 musicians during the first week of March that involved 125 hours of streaming with 2,300 viewers. Since self-isolation this past week, there have been 475 broadcasts by 330 musicians involving 385 hours of streaming with 8,500 viewers.
This is the most significant increase in business that Podlaha has seen in three years.
“Since our launch, our initial steep growth leveled out by 2017 to more ’low but steady’ numbers until now,” he says. “Our reach across the internet has always touched 100+ countries any month. Our Top 10 countries being (in order of viewers): Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Italy, France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Czechia, and Ireland. Musicians’ broadcasts follow about the same locations.”
With Italy now being an epicenter for the coronavirus, Podlaha cited a concert earlier this week by FabryGore McMillan, an Italian musician and songwriter well-known for his highly personal experimental electro-acoustic sound. His show on Tuesday drew 201 attendees.
“This is one example of musicians who were impacted by venue closures around the world, and a way for them to keep earning money with social-distancing and still inspire their followers,” Podlaha said.
How does StreetJelly work? The start-up’s Founder says that musicians and venues sign-up with three of the four levels being free to musicians – basic, premium, and pro. There is a fee for the enterprise level.
“StreetJelly still takes the same cut (approximately 20 percent) from the tips/donations the musicians receive,” Podlaha says.
As far as improvements to the StreetJelly platform, Podlaha says there have been a number. They include streaming in HD, 24-hour DVR style replays (start and stop live streams), music venue features such as local/geo blackout, jukebox style revenue, marketing and geo analytics for musicians, and the ability to stream with third-party software or professional video equipment.