Henry Strange is a producer and music technologist based in Los Angeles, California. He hails as being one of the first to use Ableton Live on large-scale tours. Henry Strange’s impressive background with music technology has allowed him to tour with Drake, Kanye West, Lady Gaga, Lil Wayne, A$AP Rocky, and Mike Posner as a music director, music programmer, and DJ. Also notable, Henry Strange developed the Setlist software, which is what many artists are using everywhere.
Most recently, Henry Strange, along with Matthew Adell, Stephan Jacobs, and Terrance Scoville, created the livestreaming website OnNow.tv, which emphasizes the bond between livestream creators and fans to create a unique viewing experience.
Jillian Nguyen: How are you doing?
Henry Strange: If I average the roller coaster of things that have happened to me this year, I’m doing ok. It was definitely rough when the lockdown started and one by one, every one of my income sources was removed. I was always confident that because I diversified my businesses, I could survive anything, but everything I did was in the realm of entertainment and who thought the ENTIRE entertainment industry could collapse at once!? Things have been very interesting, to say the least.
Can you tell me how you and your co-founders of OnNow.tv, Matthew Adell, Stephan Jacobs, and Terrence Scoville, first met and thought of the idea for the site?
When the lockdown happened and we lost all of our work, Stephan and I would brainstorm about things we could do or produce for work that was within our expertise. We were both music producers and DJs and we watched the explosion of livestream content on social media and noticed how difficult it was to find and to promote livestreams. Stephan brought on Terrence immediately to throw together a very basic website of the concept. What was amazing was that perfectly in parallel, Matt had the exact same idea and met us through a mutual friend and we all immediately decided that we were the team to build and to win at this space. In a little over two weeks, OnNow.tv was born. We did everything virtually through Zoom. OnNow.tv is the true child of the pandemic.
How has being both an artist and a music technologist helped with the creation of OnNow.tv?
Naturally as an artist myself, I am aware of the needs of creatives and how continuous connection to their fans is critical to maintaining their brand. Livestreaming had become the one direct way to deliver what used to be experienced at shows, concerts, and festivals. As a music technologist who designed software and hardware for music touring use, I saw OnNow.tv was another tool to assist artists in connecting with their fans and to help fans discover content they are interested in. Building internet platforms was not something I had much experience with, but the realm of live entertainment and performance has been my business practically all of my life.
What trends do you see happening with music and livestreaming?
Many feel that livestreaming is a temporary trend because of the lack of live shows, concerts, and festivals. I would agree that that was the case when it first got popular, but I also see a long-term future for livestreaming. For the consumers of music and live entertainment, this is the first time that they’ve had direct access to their favorite artists. Everyone watching now has front row tickets in the comfort of their own home. This model has been working for sports for as long as I can remember, and I see this to be the future of live music. Look at Boxing and Pay-Per-View. This model can work perfectly for music performances and generate similar if not more revenue.
Imagine Super Bowl scale productions with many camera angles and maybe a live orchestra, all of the production bells and whistles that are simply too much to take on a tour, all brought together for one massive livestreamed show. Some would pay a premium to be there in person, but now millions can attend from all over the world to share the same experience at the same time. The artist and the production could easily make a tour’s worth of money in one or two shows without the overhead and hassle of moving the show from city to city, country to country. I know it sounds far-fetched, but BTS has already done it, grossing 20 million for their livestream and setting a record that topped the biggest road tours. OnNow.tv will be ready for this future.
OnNow.tv and Dirtybird recently teamed up for the Dirtybird Couchout event, which included a DJ contest. What was it like working with Dirtybird to bring this unique event?
The Dirtybird Couchout DJ Contest was a blast! It was the most ideal event that we could be involved with. First off everyone from Dirtybird is awesome. Considering that a Livestream DJ contest was never done before, we collectively as a team knocked it out. It was a big undertaking because the concept was new so it didn’t fit any contest molds, so we literally had to come up with a solution for everything from building the contest infrastructure to rules to maintaining the user votes. It was tons of work, but now with that one under our belt, we are prepared to take on more contests. In fact, we are now including livestream contests to be part of our business.
What was your favorite part about cohosting the DJ contest?
My favorite part was seeing all of the livestream submissions. People really took it seriously and took it to the next level and were super creative. I applaud all of those who submitted as nearly everyone contributed some really awesome DJ sets with awesome atmosphere and/or location to go with it.
Who are some of your favorite artists right now?
Whenever COVID-19 dies down, do you have any travel plans or things you plan on doing?
I would love to travel overseas again; I’m from Taiwan so I’ve been delaying visiting my family. Also, my wife and I can’t wait to continue our grand tour of Europe. I am also looking forward to all of my businesses that were shut down by the pandemic to come back online. Before COVID we were in the middle of building a new art installation for EDC. It is a follow up to “Cloud Control,” another audience interactive installation commissioned for EDC 2019. It would be great to get back to that creative zone and all that we were doing for these grand festivals.
Do you have any upcoming projects or events slated for the future you can share with us?
To follow our successful release “Revolution,” we have a new single coming out called “Nobody Knows” in January in collaboration with Suniel Fox and Iskwe that I think will be a hit in the dance music world. We also plan to do a dance competition to follow up the Revolution dance contest that brought dancers together from all over the world.
Is there anything else you want to mention to our One EDM readers?
When there are big interruptions to our lives such as this pandemic, we should and can use these times as ways to reflect on the past as well as look deep into the future. It is a time of forced pivoting, a time that takes us out of our comfort zone and makes us do things that we normally won’t do. On the surface level, that sounds terrible and while we are in it, it is terrible, but what I am learning through the process of building OnNow.tv is that this year is going to define the future for generations to come, more than any other year. In dealing with a current problem we are literally shaping the future. Something about that is really magical.