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Sessions Livestreaming Platform Shuts Down

Started by Pandora CEO Tim Westergren, Sessions was one of many livestreaming companies that launched during the early months of the pandemic.

The music livestreaming app Sessions, founded by former Pandora CEO Tim Westergren, has “shut down,” according to LinkedIn comments from multiple former employees. “Christmas came with the unexpected news that Sessions is going out of business,” one engineer wrote this month.

These comments were echoed elsewhere on LinkedIn. “This morning we were informed that Sessions would be closing their doors permanently,” another former employee wrote. A software engineer attributed the company’s closure to “difficult circumstances.” An artist shared a screenshot of an Instagram message from the platform saying that it had shuttered as of Dec. 19.

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That artist tells Billboard he had money waiting for him on the platform when it shut down; others voiced similar complaints on social media. Westergren and former employees did not immediately respond to requests for comment. 

Sessions launched in April 2020. In interviews at the time, Westergren said that livestreaming lacked “marketing and monetization” opportunities. Seven months after launching, the company announced a $75 million fund to market artists’ livestreams. “The larger the fanbase [of an act using Sessions], the larger the marketing spend” to promote their performance, Westergren said.

Any level of artist could apply to stream a performance on Sessions, which said it hosted more than 500 acts a week across more than 200 countries. These acts could choose whether or not to charge a price for watching; viewers could also pay extra to send special emoticons. Sessions took 30% of all revenue brought in through the site, while 70% went to the artist. (Though the revenue split for the Sessions app was different: 40% to the artist, 30% to Apple for its App Store tax, 30% to Sessions.) Westergren said that a professional musician could bring in more than $20,000 from a livestream performance, while amateurs could collect as much as $700.

Sessions was one of many livestreaming companies that launched when COVID-19 temporarily shuttered venues. “Every day, another livestreaming company joins the fray,” Westergren acknowledged in 2020. But as clubs and arenas re-opened, fans were eager to get back to live shows; in August, Live Nation announced that it had already sold more tickets in 2022 than it did in all of 2019. On top of that, 2022’s economic climate proved difficult for all sorts of tech companies; even behemoths like Meta laid off workers.

As former Sessions users began figuring out that the platform was no longer running, they commiserated on social media and looked for new places to try to find fans. “I’m going over to Twitch now,” one wrote on Instagram. “Good luck everyone.”