How OnJam adapted live performances for the pandemic

As part of a new series where we speak to creative businesses founded during the pandemic, OnJam co-founder Emily Ingram talks about starting a business with a stranger, combining skillsets, and how to survive in the long term

“I have a lot of friends who are musicians and instrumentalists, or people who just work in the performance sphere. So when the pandemic started, for many of my friends overnight their incomes just evaporated,” explains OnJam co-founder Emily Ingram. “They had no work, and a lot of them were doing Facebook or Instagram Lives, basically free performances, and then adding a Paypal link so that they could maybe get some tips. I just thought that was really crap basically. They’re highly trained professionals, and were just completely unsupported.” 

Motivated to help, Ingram set about creating a platform that would allow musicians to monetise their online performances, while also creating something that was entertaining to watch. The first iteration Ingram created was called Greengage, a production company that specialised in digital performances in music and theatre, where they not only filmed and streamed their own shows but also helped ticket other live digital performances. 

OnJam logo. All images: OnJam

“There were a lot of pretty boring livestreams at the beginning of the pandemic, a lot of ‘camera in the back of the hall’-type of setups, which seemed pretty flat to me,” says Ingram. “I wanted to kind of push the boundaries creatively of these performances, and also test the model of whether you could ticket something like this if you made it a high quality thing.”