As Twitch continues its push into the music industry from gaming, it’s secured another partnership. The company has entered a deal with electronic duo Bob Moses and will be airing their livestream shows from now on exclusively through the company.
Twitch has been bullish in recent months on the music industry as live music, the most lucrative revenue stream for most artists, has been at a near-complete halt. Before the pandemic, several artists were making their livings as Twitch musicians, taking to the platform frequently and building up substantial fanbases who tip them generously and help fund more music. More recently, many artists have pivoted to Twitch to interact with fans, while others have been cashing in through ticketed performances on other livestreaming platforms. Twitch’s highest profile move in music to date has been a seven-figure deal with rapper Logic back in July.
Bob Moses’s deal is comparably humble. Twitch is funding production for the duo’s livestream shows along with their label, they tell Rolling Stone, but they haven’t entered a substantial content agreement beyond their upcoming livestreams. “For us, it’s really about fan engagement and fan connection,” Bob Mose’s Jimmy Vallance says. “Without playing shows, that’s gone. What can we share that we do naturally? If we become twitch stars naturally, great, but we’re not going to be changing our lane to make that happen.”
As Tom Howie, the other half of the group adds: “[Twitch] offered us a few things: one was a lot more money to be tied down to a longer thing, but we were focused on getting financial help for the streams,” he says. “We’ve always had an approach of doing a slow burn on things and building it naturally and see if people will come. For us, it’s about taking the natural step back.”
The duo’s first livestream, which will air on Friday with a rebroadcast for U.K. audiences on Saturday, is a live-to-tape stream filmed from an abandoned tower in Los Angeles’s Topanga Canyon. They didn’t specify how much the stream cost to put on but said it was substantial without being outrageously expensive. It also isn’t clear how many streams Bob Moses will be putting on after Friday’s show, but those will live on Twitch, as will other studio-style sessions the group said they’d air on the platform as well.
Outside of deals with musicians, Twitch has also been working on licensing music for their creators to legally use following months of criticism and fight from the industry over years of not licensing music. That new feature, however, called Soundtrack, has drawn concern from music business insiders who worry that the feature could be designed to avoid paying sync licenses.
While the electronic scene as a whole was one of the first music sectors to take to livestream performances, Bob Moses wasn’t previously a major livestreaming act. Much of the industry has already pivoted to livestreams, from animated shows like Travis Scott’s “Astronomical” event on Fortnite to a myriad of ticketed performances that have proven lucrative for artists who can draw in enough viewers. The duo, however, is still uncertain how much they’ll be streaming once the pandemic ends and live music can finally return.
“We’re open to trying new things, and we’re not really sure when everything is going to come back,” Howie says. “I don’t really know to be honest either, the only certain thing is that all of your plans don’t work out the way you think right now. we’re keeping things open ended.”