The 34-hour live stream raised over US$180,000 for the WHO’s COVID-19 funds; we interviewed Beatport CEO Robb McDaniels regarding its success.

Last Friday, 8.5 million people tuned in and danced in the comforts of their homes to Beatport’s ReConnect 34-hour live stream marathon, raising over US$180,000 for the WHO’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund as well as the AFEM (Association for Electronic Music) Members’ COVID-19 Hardship Fund.

The online electronic music store held the event across its website, Twitch and social media channels, and set up donations from this event to help struggling AFEM member companies retain workers who would otherwise be let go, and to direct funds to individuals within the membership in need of financial help. Donations are still being accepted, so if you would like to donate click here.

The event was held to unite (or reconnect) the dance music community during the COVID-19 pandemic, and featured renowned DJs such as Carl Cox, Bonobo, Pete Tong, Nina Kraviz, Griz, RÜFÜS DU SOL, A-Trak, Nicole Moudaber, Chris Liebing, ANNA, Nora En Pure and and many more performing from their homes.

Beatport Announces 24-Hour Twitch Live Stream Marathon, "ReConnect"

We interviewed Beatport CEO Robb McDaniels as he shares his thoughts regarding the live stream’s success. Read below.

ASL365: How did you come about with the campaign title ReConnect?

RM: Our Chief Revenue Officer (and Beatport co-founder), Jonas Tempel, came up with the name.

ASL365: What would you say is the appeal of DJs performing from home compared to performing at a club or festival?

RM: I think it’s a good way for DJs to stay connected to more fans than they may be able to when touring, especially in a global lockdown like we find ourselves in now.

ASL365: How were you able to coordinate with the participating artists, who are located in various parts of the world, in such a short amount of time? How long did the whole livestream setup process take prior to launch?

RM: Beatport has been an important part of the DJ community for more than 16 years, so we have existing relationships with many of these DJs and their fantastic management and label teams.  Our in-house agency, Beatport Creative Services, is also filled with live streaming and project management experienced and knowledgeable professionals that worked tirelessly to get this produced in world-class fashion.

ASL365: How would live streaming as a whole help the music industry during this coronavirus outbreak?

RM: Well, I am not sure if be will be much of a money maker to fill the giant void left by all these cancelled events, but hopefully it can keep artists and fans engaged with each other. I also think that, in the short term, it can deliver many people around the world some joy during these tough times and remind them of good things that will surely come again.

ASL365: What are your thoughts on music being used as a form of entertainment to unite people during a time of crisis?

RM: I think music is an incredibly powerful medium to bring joy, unity and peace to many, many people in the world.  It makes us feel connected and part of a community, especially at a time where we are feeling so isolated.

ASL365: How can viewers help support their favourite DJs and artists during this pandemic?

RM: There are several important ways, but perhaps the most important is to listen to your local health experts and stay indoors, wash your hands and quarantine yourself if you feel sick.  The sooner we get through this and support the medical community in finding a solution, the sooner we can get back to normalcy.  In addition to that, follow your favorite artists on socials, attend their online performances, purchase merchandise directly from their websites and download their music from Beatport!

ASL365: Why did Beatport specifically choose the AFEM COVID-19 Hardship Fund for viewers to donate to?

RM: We wanted to do whatever we could to directly support those in our global electronic music community that have been most impacted.  The AFEM has more than 250 member companies and so we felt they were well positioned to step in and help ensure the maximum amount of money got to the right places as quickly as possible.  We had no other goal in doing this.

ASL365: Any DJs initially set to make an appearance during Reconnect, but were unable to do so?

RM: Not really – there were a few artists that weren’t able to get the right equipment into their homes, but we had such an overwhelming response we didn’t have to spend too much time with outreach.

ASL365: Initially, did you have a list of DJs that you wanted to perform on this stream or did the DJs participate on first come first serve basis?

RM: We developed a fairly large list based on a diverse group of DJs that we felt would represent the broadest set of fans.  We wanted to reach all corners of the world and several of our biggest electronic sub genres, and our Artist Marketing & Community team did a fantastic job bringing the talent together in two weeks.

ASL365: Were there DJs, if any, that were originally scheduled to perform but couldn’t make it?

RM: Nope!

ASL365: Any technical difficulties arise during the live stream? How would you quickly adapt to said difficulties in order to ensure smooth streaming process for everyone tuning in?

RM: There were a few internet interruptions and one or two artists that had to be moved around, but the production and artist teams at Beatport did an amazing job making this look virtually seamless from the viewer’s perspective.  It went so well, I think we are going to do it again in a few weeks, so stay tuned!!

In case you missed it, you can check out any of the DJ sets on YouTube here.