The Heist, a nonprofit performance venue and events space in Ripon, launched an ambitious app which aims to connect the community to new and established musicians, comedians and poets.
Heist TV, which officially launched in May after hosting livestream events last year, is a free app which streams live and video on demand content, such as music videos shot by the Heist, distributes a monthly compilation album, and posts event listings for upcoming performances.
While development for Heist TV began before the COVID-19 pandemic, Heist owner/founder Sam Luna says the timing worked out perfectly, with the world being ready for digital content as many venues, including the Heist, are closed to the public or have limited occupancy.
“We wanted to connect people with arts that maybe they weren’t familiar with yet,” Luna says. “We’ve been during the pandemic shooting video features for artists and doing some comedy as well,” in preparation for Heist TV’s launch.
In addition to local and Midwestern artists, Luna is setting his sights worldwide, seeking out connections in other countries and having scouted out artists in Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, the Carolinas, Georgia and Tennessee. Luna says Heist TV is a good way for artists to find exposure. The Heist works directly with performers to produce videos.
“We wanted to help artists. You know, most times they don’t have the budget to be able to get good quality video and audio, which will ultimately help them get booked or get more people to know about their work,” Luna says.
Thanks to donations and sponsorships, the Heist has over $150,000 that has covered video production costs, making the service more often than not free for featured artists.
So far, the Heist has worked with over 50 creators in preparation for the app’s launch, such as Erin Krebs, form Wisconsin, Tall Tall Trees, based in New York, and Connelly Crowe, based in Georgia, among many others.
Luna sees value in hosting artists from a range of experience levels, saying the common denominator in all Ripon TV-hosted artists is skill, hard work and dedication.
“I think it’s important to highlight musicians and artists at all different points in their career,” Luna says. “It’s very hard work and it takes a lot of time, so we try and focus on artists that we see are putting in that time or are just starting out to be able to have a network and different ways to share their work.”
Ripon TV is available on iOS, Android and other common streaming apps.