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Rolling Loud Announces Halloween Party ‘Loud Stream’ on Twitch

Billboard logo Billboard 10/6/2020 Dave Brooks

Hip-hop and rap’s most credible live crew, Rolling Loud, is bringing back its Loud Stream virtual festival series, Oct. 30-31 exclusively on Twitch for the second of three online Rolling Loud festivals in 2020. “Loud Stream” features several hours worth of live performances, entertaining interviews and commentary between sets, and interactive elements that allow fans to play a role in the action.

The Halloween weekend themed festival follows the first ever Loud Stream event Sept. 12-13 headlined by Swae Lee and Ski Mask The Slump God, the first edition of Rolling Loud’s “Loud Stream” brought in over 3 million unique viewers (4.7 million total live views) a wall of fans. Zooming in directly from their living rooms, which the artists could see and vibe with while performing their sets.

“We were confident it would work, but nervous too. We had no idea what to expect as far as metrics to compare it to, so we were flying in the dark,” says co-founder Tariq Cherif, who launched Rolling Loud in 2015 with partner and co-founder Matt Zingler.

“We had a number of  precautions in place because of COVID and the biggest hurdle was making sure the artists showed up on time because we were streaming live and they can’t be late,” says Zingler. “The viewership was great —  we were featured on the main page of Twitch and there are a lot of people that are on Twitch — who wouldn’t want to watch a free concert right now?”

The pair’s weekly live show The Founders often draw a large viewership with more than 100,000 uniques viewers.

“We were already a lifestyle brand and we wanted to grow into media,” says Cherif. “And then COVID hits and it was kind of a forced pivot. And we’ve been able to keep it free — it’s a tough time for everybody right now and we didn’t want to be charging for the experience. The way to do that was to find a partner that would put up the budget for us to spend, which basically is our deal with Twitch.”

The second “Loud Stream” will be celebrated Halloween weekend and fans watching from home are encouraged to wear costumes for a chance to be featured on the stream. The lineup for the series will be announced at a later date and Zingler and Cherif are excited to announced more events in the future.

“One thing that’s different between booking a concert and a digital show is that at a concert,  fans  can’t click away,” Cherif says. “So to maintain someone’s attention constantly on a screen is a whole different task we’re getting to know.” Zingler added that Twitch advised the promoters to keep the show going live no matter what happens and stay authentic to their brand.

“It’s all about the energy — some artists don’t know how to engage people in the live stream — if you’re by yourself, you it’s not as exciting if you’re with a few of your friends,” Zingler said.

“Before each set I would talk to most of the artists and just let them know to play to the cameras as if they’re a fan in the crowd,”  Cherif added. “So whichever camera is in your face, keep your head on a swivel. I point out the jib and I point out the steady cam and remind the artists that those are the two best cameras. And I remind them about the chat — keep talk to the chat, call them out and keep reminding fans you’re here live. Fans want to see that kind of engagement when they are watching from home.”

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