Below is my conversation with Yachtz Radcliff, CEO of Musae, a platform for immersive live performances. Yachtz talks about how the innovations his company made in order to keep supporting artists and serving their audiences during shelter-in-place orders resulted in incredible growth. Musae is now accessible to more artists, and more audiences, than ever before.
Q: How has the coronavirus pandemic affected Musae’s business, employees, and the artists who rely on the platform?
We work with artists, presenters, and venues on live events. Last month, all of our events were cancelled. We spent the first week issuing refunds.
Q: What changes have you made to cope with shelter-in-place orders?
As a company, we have always been a remote-first organization, so nothing has changed in terms of how we work together internally. Up until early March, we were a software company. We are now a software, hardware, and logistics operation.
The shift from live in-person events to presenting immersive 360/VR performances involved several major changes. We designed and built a 360-Studio-Box that we ship to artists and venues. Each box has a 5.7K 360° camera, 18-channel mixer, mics, computer, monitor, tripod, lighting, and cables.
It is completely plug-and-play. Artists simply turn it on and one of our pro sound engineers remotely manages everything—including sound check, recording, and the live broadcast. The morning after a performance we have Fedex pick up the box and it gets shipped to the next artist.
Streams can be viewed on any device—phone, tablet, computer, TV — and for those who miss that live feeling of being in the room together and want a new, immersive way to experience performances, Musae ships VR headsets along with any ticket purchase for $8.
Q: Are artists performing entirely from their homes?
Since not everyone can perform from home, we’ve begun partnering with safe spaces and installing streaming equipment. Our first safe space is in the West Village, with several more in the works. Only performers are allowed in; spaces are disinfected in accordance with CDC and local protocols.
Q: Who is the target audience for Musae? Where is new business coming from? (And, of course: why?)
As a 2-sided platform we have two audiences:
- Presenters, artists, venues. Previously these tended to be regionally focussed, where a lot of our business was in NY, NJ, PA, CT, MA. This is no longer the case, as we’re shipping boxes across the country.
- Audiences. Whereas they were local, with the shift to virtual we’re seeing audiences across the country and internationally.
In short, our target audience for both sides of the marketplace has completely shifted.