And talented performers can earn real dollars as comedians, singers, etc. right from their own bedrooms, delivering their art to hundreds of thousands of fans — Sideman claims some earn in the low five figures per month.
Audience members also give thumbs up icons and likes or pay to help rising stars climb to the top. Some quit their jobs to become full-time entertainers.
And they’re getting deals out of their performances. Sideman says some of the app’s talented members have been contacted by Hollywood agencies, managers and record labels.
One rising star and rising YouNower Hailey Knox briefly appeared on the platform to demo how it operates. Knox live streamed the “happy birthday” song to our gadgets editor Brian Heater (who celebrates his day of birth this week).
The app works as a social connection for young performers to supportive strangers and Sideman says it gets more than 170,000 live streams per day and 100 million user sessions per month.
YouNow can attribute some of that activity to the positive community support.
“Part of the product design is the community’s crowdsourcing good content in real time,” Sideman says.
We see grandmas performing live… this is not going anywhere. Adi Sideman, YouNow
“We see folks who’ve been watching us for five years,” says Sideman. “We see grandmas performing live… this is not going anywhere.”
YouNow can be compared to the live streaming apps that came before. Meerkat was the breakout app of SXSW 2015, quickly replaced by Twitter’s competitor Periscope. But Sideman brushes those comparisons off saying those apps paved the way.
But YouNow was actually one of the first live streaming platforms. It debuted at TechCrunch Disrupt in 2011 and has grown up quite a bit since — now with the potential to branch out further into gaming and other realms like Twitch has done.
Innovation in the live space is a chicken or an egg thing, according to Sideman. “We started with text and images and video and then real-time text and real-time images and real-time video… we’re probably a few years away from the next step, which is virtual reality,” Sideman says.