As the coronavirus pandemic continues to put artists and creatives out of work, many musicians have turned to livestreaming, performing from their homes under self-quarantine. Several have donated to MusiCares’ COVID-19 Relief Fund, while many have demanded to receive unemployment benefits.
Now, a new digital television network will serve as an outlet for artists — while ensuring they get paid. Titled Our House TV, the network will pay $100 an hour (plus tips) to musicians, actors, comedians, DJs, teachers and creatives, replacing the work of paid gigs while venues, clubs and bars remain closed.
Streaming 24/7 through Vimeo, Our House will present a variety of pre-taped content, from performances to talk shows to cooking shows and puppet shows. Season One kicks off at 6 p.m. ET on Wednesday, and includes Poolisde, Darkside’s Dave Harrington, MS MR’s Lizzy Plapinger, Jeffrey Franca from Thievery Corporation and others. Artists can submit submissions on the Our House website; a teaser of the program can be found below.
Created by Graham Fortgang and Julian Kahlon, the concept was born out of a “knee-jerk reaction” to the pandemic, with the creative community taking a major blow from not being able to perform. They found a sponsor, MatchaBar Hustle, plus other contributors to help fund the artists.
“This is a second job,” Fortgang tells Rolling Stone. “It’s a passion project, something built on the backs of people working into the night. We are talking to artists around the world hungry for work, but more importantly hungrier to express themselves — we have late-night horror stories, mermaids singing in bathtubs, adult puppet shows and of course, everything else you’d expect from a tv network — music, comedy & film!”
Our House was inspired by the late Seventies public-access show TV Party. “To us, TV Party was defined as random yet deliberate,” Kahlon says. “There are times where you’re watching TV Party and thinking, ‘What the hell is going on?’ But that’s sort of the point.”
“There’s an underlying sense of it not taking itself too seriously and we’re trying to giving that feeling back to the creators,” Kahlon adds. “It’s stressful to create right now, [so] it’s important to lighten the mood.”