How Musicians are Reinventing the Concert Experience During the Pandemic
When the global pandemic ate away at peoples’ way of life from the start of 2020, many musicians were stuck, with almost no way to interact with fans, let alone earn money. But with a little surge in creativity and the utilization of today’s modern technology, digital concerts/live streams have taken over the music industry. Not only do they ensure a safe, but still joyful experience for fans, they also allow fans from all over the world to watch their favorite artist without worrying about transportation or financial struggles.
Almost right after coronavirus struck the U.S., big names in pop, as well as smaller ones, found a great new way to express the music they had made. Instagram Live, an Instagram feature used to interact with followers, was now booming with artists holding concert “live streams” from the comfort of their homes. Youtube, a music and video platform, was also a popular major streaming platform for these home events. #TogetherAtHome was trending on all sorts of social media platforms as well, a form of promoting the concert live streams. And the best part of it all: fans didn’t have to pay a thing. Both sides of the entertainment have been able to enjoy the rough time without a worry.
Phoebe Bridgers, a 26-year-old guitarist and singer from Los Angeles, was able to perform her music for 10,000 fans - on Instagram Live. Sitting in her living room with a set of pajamas on, she managed to perform for more fans that would be able to fit in a typical concert venue, and the virtual experience allowed for many conveniences on both sides. John Legend, a 42-year-old singer, performed for 70,000 playing the piano in a bathrobe. Diplo, a popular DJ, played around with his music in a dimly lit room. All these artists were able to thrive more than ever doing what they loved while stuck in their homes, something that would sound unthinkable in another time period.
By the end of 2019, countless K-pop groups had announced their world tours for the next year, hitting the U.S., Europe, South America, and other parts of Asia. Fans bought tickets, merchandise, and the iconic lightsticks in the excitement for the concerts that would be to come. But once the pandemic hit, a whole wave of cancellations and postponements hit like a rock, the fans who were looking forward to seeing their favorite artists on stage were met with disappointment. Then online concerts came to the scene. These K-pop artists took technology and innovated it, creating an experience some have claimed to be even better than an in-person concert. Unlike the mere live stream from living rooms as American artists had been doing, K-pop took to the stage, created transitions only capable virtually, performed more songs than ever before, and even shared the stage with lucky groups of fans.
One K-pop group in particular, BLACKPINK, rushed to the virtual concert scene in February 2021, presenting their fans, BLINKs, with fresh performances and even a new song. In an interview with Billboard held before the concert, the members claimed, “We are so excited because there are songs from 'The Album' that we will be performing for the first time, and previous songs that we have changed up.” They also used a virtual setting to their advantage, saying, “We used this opportunity to take advantage of the benefits of an online concert by coming up with different sets and performances that would add to the characteristics of our stages.” Instead of going on a world tour and wasting energy in doing so many concerts in a short period of time, BLACKPINK simply had to hold one to impress over a million viewers via YouTube.
The power of modern-day technology has helped to keep the true concert spirit alive while many are being forced to stay at home. While some suspect that online concerts may completely replace in-person concerts to avoid an artist-fan hassle, most believe that the in-person concert experience will still hold superior. Nonetheless, online concerts and live streams have proven to be a great way to keep music fans content in a time of despair