“Please don’t stop the music,” sang Rihanna back in 2007, and that iconic line hits home more than ever in today’s entertainment world. With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in February of 2020, the live music industry suffered a setback: disoriented artists, unemployed workers, canceled concerts, closed live clubs and halls.
No one knew how long the shutdown would last or what would happen when things returned to normal. But artists were hungry to get back on stage, and what better way than to keep sharing their music through live streaming events?
Live streaming doesn’t equal to going live on social media
While it’s true that live streaming cannot and should not be considered a replacement for in-person concerts, online performance is also not the same as lives on Instagram or Facebook. In fact, a streaming event works just like an in-person one and it requires the same level of organisation and effort that a normal event would require: high-quality technicians, sound engineers, and video makers.
The planning may include choosing the venue, which must be appropriate to the nature of the event and carefully prepared down to the last detail. In addition to that, you should also have technical equipment that allows for high video resolution and a stable connection so that viewers can enjoy the experience to the fullest.
In some cases, it might even be necessary to hire an orchestra. An example of a similar initiative is Bjork’s, which is set on bringing the Orkestral concert series from Reykjavík Harpa Hall–which was postponed due to the pandemic–to live streaming platforms this summer.
One format, a thousand ways to present it.
The most surprising aspect of the live streaming format is the wide range of presentation options. The phenomenon started with free events broadcasted on Twitch to raise funds for donations, like MacheteAid. Then, organizers started structuring this business a little better by creating ad-hoc platforms to live stream paid events, like Nugs.tv or Dice.FM.
A few euros or dollars shouldn’t prevent fans from having couch tour experiences that allow them to experience music at 360 degrees. From Billie Eilish to Foo Fighters to Tame Impala, the success of paid virtual concerts has been quite remarkable.
Nick Cave, on the other hand, carried out his own live-streaming experiment: his concert Idiot Prayer – Nick Cave Alone from Alexander Palace was time-delayed and broadcasted worldwide at the same time after being recorded. Despite the success of the episode, not many artists have organized the same kind of event yet.
In Italy, artist Andrea Lazslo de Simone broadcasted a film of his last live from the Triennale di Milano on Dice.
Does this format really work?
According to Omdia, live streaming concerts have been extremely successful because they managed to take advantage of an unfortunate situation by providing fans with unique experiences.
Of course, listening to our favourite artists in person, seeing them take the stage and singing our favourite songs, feeling the adrenaline of the audience, and sharing the experience with hundreds and thousands of other fans, is an inimitable experience that leaves irreplaceable memories and emotions.
However, the alternative of streaming concerts also presents many positive aspects. The artists might not be physically there, but they are still performing for us. Live. Their songs still cause our hearts to beat and get straight to our room and headphones.
Live Streaming: Will It Survive the Pandemic?
As of now, what the future of live streaming concerts will look like is unknown. Many believe that this format will have very interesting professional opportunities to allow wider audiences to attend unique events from the comfort of their homes. This way, the problem of geolocation could be a thing of the past.
Also, differentiating ticket prices according to whether someone is participating in person or remotely could make events more inclusive and accessible, especially for those who would not be able to attend a traditional live concert.
The pandemic has taught us that there are alternatives to sharing music. And people appreciate them. Of course, there is no need to fear that live streaming will ever replace classic live events, as it cannot reproduce their uniqueness and value. We still need to sing while hugging each other under a stage, lost in a crowd. But if that’s not possible, we can enjoy the experience from the comfort of our living room.
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