This pandemic has proven very challenging to live entertainment artists, including musicians and stage comedians. Their usual incomes have been reduced to virtually zero and economic survival has been a great cause of anxieties and depression. It is a good thing that live streaming platforms have given them a space and a new home to exhibit their performances on a much different plane. They’ve also made them much closer to their fans and supporters.
One of the best and most accessible live stream platforms is Kumu. It’s a social media mobile application that allows performers to share their contents live and interactive. And the most important part is the open-access opportunity for them to earn as much as what they could in their actual in-person gigs. Except now, they don’t need to leave their homes anymore and shell out for their usual spendable, like paying for PAs, transportation, meals, and costumes.
When a fan or an impressed audience to the live stream show gives them virtual gifts – a performer can rack up at least 2,000 to 5,000 “diamonds “on a single user. When a performer earns at least 50,000 diamonds, they can exchange it for at least 2,500 pesos. One live stream artist can have a minimum low of 25 audiences per minute, and they can have a peak audience of at least 50-100 and on “special occasions” one can impress from 1000 to 10,000 audiences/users. Singer Kris Lawrence during his recent birthday show gained 3.4 million diamonds; which meant he earned at least 170,000 pesos on one night. This is on top of what he earned from previous live streams. Even his close friend/co-performer JayR averages to 100,000 to 300,000 diamonds on a drop. A short ordinary fan-supported live show can still augment their idol’s digital income enough to buy a week’s worth of groceries. This month’s Top Earner is Mark Michael Garcia, a Tawag ng Tanghalan finalist who earned a cumulative amount of 18.5 million diamonds (roughly 900,000 pesos – if – KUMU actually converts that to the actual purchase amount. We actually would like to account that we had no first-hand knowledge of the conversion rates given to earners, except of course, merely referencing the 2000 diamonds to 100 pesos rate).
While it seems the success rate of a live stream performer on Kumu still depends on the popularity record of a performance artist, it isn’t quite all true. While performers are inherently top drawers, there’s still a huge premium on impressive talent and sunny personality combined – regardless if one has ever heard of the name of one particular performer before. Take Zaragine, a Regine Velasquez impersonator – who virtually looked and sounded like the Asia’s Songbird – can muster at least 200,000 on a drop. On her 2nd month “concert” celebration recently, she earned at least 35,000 pesos. Not bad. And perhaps, not too far an amount she could earn for a pre-pandemic gig with a live audience.
We haven’t heard of Ar-Ar Coronel before. Apparently he already has a single on Spotify and a jazz singer on cruise ships. But his singing prowess is as big as an ocean liner. And he definitely is easy on the eye. He could sing a variety of selections from 70-80’s standards to Broadway to contemporary snazzies.
While earnings are a good measure of live stream success, especially on Kumu – being able to consistently hold at least 25 audiences per minute in the entire duration of the show signifies that a performer is making a great impression. Receiving virtual gifts from their fans still depends on their ability to digitally purchase 2,000 diamonds for 100 pesos. We for one have already spent at least 3,000 pesos in a week, and if we still could continue to shower them with appreciations in the form of convertible digital monies, we would. There is something about being a live stream audience who is instantaneously exchanged with recognition and gratitude once you send your favorite artist a decent Pulang Kabayo (1000 diamonds) or even the measly Halo-Halo (25 diamonds). There is still a mutual gratification when you both know that one and the other exist somewhere and that a moment of joy is being shared – even during this awful time of Covid-19.
Kumu live sessions also give opportunities to artists we have been missing for years.
When sheer opportunities Pre-Covid times dried up for some, at least in the local rat-race of mainstream industries– most of them got their chances to perform abroad, or on other digital venues – and for most, they pursued other careers. The opportunity to still hold their crowds in streaming platforms, and earn more on the side is a refreshing prospect – even to those who remain adored to their musical and performing talents. This also offers nostalgia and endless moments of rekindling their passions. And most importantly, they are reunited to their loyal fans.
There are at least four Star in A Million season 1 finalists on Kumu that we’ve “reconnected” so far: there’s runners-up Sheryn Regis and Marinel Santos, and contenders DK Tijam and Christian Bautista. For a time, Regis performed continually while based in the USA. Santos, who has found a niche on live stage as the “untapped Jennifer Lopez” of China, is just supposed to take a vacation leave in her Laguna hometown when the lockdown happened. She’s already geared to go back in a few months. Tijam, the R&B balladeer, is now based in Toronto. The most exciting news about him is that his singing voice and skills have immensely improved. He is way past his pretty-boy looks, as well, and now appears to be much more good looking. Bautista, the Josh Groban of the Philippines, combines his live streams with personal touches of his daily life along with his mandatory swooning performances. We would also like to take this opportunity to encourage other finalists, most specially Johann Escanan of Cebu.
You can download Kumu on your Android and iOS phones. Aside from live streams, users can also play online quizzes with prizes that rack up to 100,000 pesos. And of course, you can do live streams as well, you need not be a celebrity – talent and personality is all you need when you hit that LIVE button.