A Virtual Venue With Visible Live Audiences And All The Services of a Live Venue


Imagine this: You’re going to perform for an audience of up to XX hundred people. You’ve sold tickets, you’ve had a tech rehearsal, your sound and lights look great, and your audience is waiting for you to come on stage looking fabulous, pick up your mic, and get to work. You’re excited when you enter the room to see all the faces, interact with them, hear their applause and get the feedback all performers adore. But—wait! You’re in your living room, and the audience is in their living rooms!

Bernie Furshpan is introducing MetropolitanZoom, a virtual platform that brings LIVE high-end entertainment to audiences with all the production values and services of a show in a nightclub venue, with the exception of food and cocktails (for NOW!)

Why? Well, that’s not hard to understand for all those who had shows scheduled through the fall at NYC venues, and are out time, money and dreams.

Here’s what Bernie Furshpan, who operated the Metropolitan Room until September 2017, has to say about MetropolitanZoom:

“There have been several paradigm shifts for humanity and this one, brought on by forced isolation, came upon us quickly. For our business of the performing arts it’s been dramatic, and the general consensus is it will never be quite the same. Once you’ve accepted a change as the new reality, you settle into it and get comfortable with it.  Here’s a perfect example. When the telephone was invented, many rejected the new technology because they, ‘preferred to have face-to-face communications.’ We all know how that went! Today, your ‘telephone’ is much more; it’s a computer, a map, the largest library ever created, an EKG, a photo album, a radio with access to millions of songs, a TV with access to millions of movies and shows, and so on. You get my point. The new reality was insidiously creeping into our club when more and more of our patrons were recording and watching portions of some shows through the mobile device screen as they recorded it. I was thinking, “Why not experience the real thing, since you’re here, and put that phone down?” But that was a sign of transformation in society, the shift to the desire to watch shows in a comfortable setting at another place and time and to document the performer’s reaction to the live audience, which they were part of. “

Today, with evolving live-meeting platforms with little to no latency, the interactions are real-time. If you closed your eyes, you may not know the difference if the other people you’re interacting with are in the same room or not and as the quality of the sound and video continue to improve, both real and virtual experiences will look and feel similar. You’ve already experienced this your entire life. When you watch a movie and dive into it, you forget that you’re watching a movie on your sofa; you feel that you’re in the movie and part of the action — your heart rate and breathing changes, your pupils dilate, and you may even scream or jump.“

This is not to imply that this will eliminate the need for real venues. Not at all. This is another option and a solution for people who cannot attend shows due to weather, distance, timing and even pandemics.

It’s ‘Plan B.’  And who better to make this happen for you than the people who know how to run a brick and mortar club, only now it’s virtual, without the insurmountable overhead for all those involved.

So, here’s some possibilities to ponder on as a Plan B: Dinner, cocktails at home, interactive, engaging, professionally produced shows on a meeting platform on small, medium or large screen.  The future is now! On a virtual meeting platform, the live intimate club atmosphere changes little. The premise remains intact. And with some basic implementation of rules, the experience is similar to a real-life venue experience.

What does MetropolitanZoom offer performing artists in our new reality? It’s not much different, logistically, than what we offered in a brick and mortar venue.  It’s a virtual venue.

The performer is required to:

  • Submit a request to the booking department to do a show on our platform
  • Meet certain technical requirements: either purchase a pop-up kit that we can recommend, rent a pop-up kit from us, or utilize a suggested studio or stage we are partnered with
  • Meet marketing requirements
  • Co-produce the show from your location, or a location MZ partners with, while MZ manages the back-end

You’re back to work and the audience experiences the intimate and engaging entertainment that they’re craving. Because we are social animals, social media is a huge success. And because we are social animals, an engaging, interactive virtual club experience will be the next breakout within months, not years, and you can be part of this exciting opportunity.

Audiences’ expectations and standards for watching streaming shows are already getting higher. One only needs to read the comments of Facebook Live when something is going wrong!

You’ll be expected to get out of your comfortable lounge chair and put on a glamorous outfit, use a microphone on a stand in front of a beautiful backdrop. The sound, lighting and video quality will be superior.  Guess what?  You’re back in a real venue, only virtually.  It’s the real thing.

Your virtual audience is let in by a receptionist.  They get comfortable, get their drinks or snacks as they’re watching and listening attentively to the rules of the house and you are introduced.  Bam!  You appear.  You do your show. There’s an encore by audience request.  A survey and comments are taken by the receptionist.  You’re exhilarated and the audience is fulfilled.

As a performing artist, you’ve got enough to worry about. Now you can have MetropolitanZoom do the following:

  • Graphic Design for digital posters, posted to a calendar
  • Marketing to your fans and the general public
  • Ticket sales
  • A receptionist who admits ticket buyers, comps and press into the room, keeping others out and giving audiences the option of purchasing tickets up until 5 minutes after the show starts
  • Announcing the rules of the virtual performance world to the audience and introducing the show
  • Conducting tech rehearsals, and running show sound, lighting, video feed; moderating, muting audiences, unmuting for applause
  • Have contingency plans in place if power goes out, internet is down, and other potential hazards
  • Acting as a bouncer for those who break the rules of a virtual intimate club environment.
  • Branding MetropolitanZoom as the leader in virtual cabaret, jazz, and comedy club experiences and build a loyal audience for these kinds of intimate club experiences.

How many performing artists can actually do all these things and perform, whether solo or small band?  You only have two hands and it could take 2-4 people to run your show, depending on how complex your show is. In any case, you want to make sure that the show doesn’t crash due to unforeseen technical issues, like power and internet outages, computer failures, etc.  Our quickly evolving platform for intimate shows is becoming more secure with contingency plans in place and as we learn and grow with you in the business, we’ll take back what’s ours and audiences, who miss and appreciate us even more now, will be grateful to have us back in their lives.

For more information, webinars and opportunities, go to www.MetropolitanZoom.com