At the start of 2020, Andrew Jensen worked in hospitality. But two months into quarantine, he launched NoonChorus with his brother and co-founder, Alex Jensen.
“The pandemic [has] highlighted the value for livestreaming for a lot of artists who likely wouldn’t have considered it as an option otherwise,” Andrew Jensen says. “It’s hard to imagine it going back now. They know what they can do with it — what the platform is capable of.”
Even amid a sea of competitors, NoonChorus has carved out a niche as a go-to platform for touring musicians whose primary source of income was axed by lockdown orders across the globe. Hosting pay-per-view shows for the likes of Angel Olsen, Yo La Tengo, and Japanese Breakfast, NoonChorus has offered a lower-cost, scalable alternative to traditional concerts. Just a handful of shows netted indie act Waxahatchee more cash than her entire canceled tour would have, for instance.
As the livestreaming market becomes more and more crowded, NoonChorus is upping the quality of its shows — and touting its artist-friendliness, making sure the industry knows that performers get the entire gross of their ticket sales. (NoonChorus makes its money from extra fees tacked onto each purchase.)
Jensen previously worked in hotel services and artist management at We Are Free — accruing skills that helped him develop relationships with management companies when building NoonChorus. His next experiment: To bring fresh income to struggling indie venues. NoonChorus recently started monthly subscription partnerships with the Hideout in Chicago and Le Poisson Rouge in New York.
The Hideout, a popular venue in Chicago, started a $25-per-month subscription on NoonChorus earlier this fall and had about 100 paying subscribers in September, the venue tells Rolling Stone.
But with so many livestream platforms now on the market, not all can survive — and Jensen acknowledges that only the ones with a post-pandemic plan can have staying power.
“It’s not going to be a return to normalcy at the flip of a switch,” Jensen says. “Livestreaming is going to be a part of the concert experience when we come back. It’s going to be a part of every artist’s touring contract. There’s a lot of similar services out there, but at the end of the day, it’s about who can form creative partnerships and be good partners to work with. Those who are planning for the new live-music landscape will make it — and that’s what we’re trying to do.”