New York-based live event promoter Move Forward Music has partnered with Twitch to create a dedicated channel, on which it will live stream performances and content, the company announced today.
And to kick off the channel, Move Forward is hosting a two-day festival on Oct. 17 and 18 featuring performances by UMI, Guapdad 4000, Kari Faux, Kenny Mason and more, as well as panel discussions on Black representation in the music industry and COVID’s affect on artists in the pandemic. The full lineup is below.
“Obviously this year has been quite the rollercoaster, because coming into the year we were really riding high, had a lot of momentum,” Move Forward founder Alex Damashek tells Billboard. “It was pretty dark there for a minute — it still is in a lot of ways — but we were blessed to get this opportunity in a really organic way and develop it.”
The channel will also feature content such as a new series called The Board Room, a show that will take place in recording studios and feature two producers discussing each other’s work. The first episode, which will air during Move Forward Fest, features legendary hip-hop producers Just Blaze and The Alchemist, while later episodes, which will begin airing Oct. 22, will include Black Milk and Jake One, Drumma Boy and Sonny Digital, and more. It will host at least one live performance each week, as well as curated DJ sets, Q&As and talk-based shows which align with Move Forward’s track record of highlighting emerging artists and talent early in their careers. That will include the show Screen Time, hosted by Alexa Leighton, which will center on music videos from indie artists, and the music-discovery podcast Not 97.
“I want to be able to walk away from this year not just like, ‘We filled the gaps and plugged the holes and now we’re back to doing what we were doing before,’ but try to come out of it with something that’s a complementary piece so that when we start coming back and doing live shows again, we’ll still have other content that’s complementary,” Damashek says. “And we can offer a richer experience that’s still centered around live music, but that has these different elements to it.”
The Twitch stream will be free to watch with ads, with a paid subscription option that will remove ads, allow viewers to interact with those on the stream, and be entered to win product and merchandise giveaways. And Damashek sees the partnership as adding value to what Move Forward does, which will stick around even once the company is able to promote live concerts again.
“I’m a firm believer that concerts have to come back,” Damashek says. “That feeling of connecting with people, being in the same room when you’re hearing a song and reacting to it together, feeling the bass in your legs — that’s something that’s evergreen and it’s never going to go away. I feel that the music industry needs it in order to function and fans need it in order to really connect. We’re never going to replace that feeling, but we’re building something that I think is going to add to it and put another layer on it.”