Have Virtual Concerts Changed Live Music Forever?
Feb 18, 2022 10:02:11 AM
Long gone are issues people had with not being able to attend concerts due to location, funds, and other variables. Instead, the pandemic opened the doors of opportunity for musicians, giving them access to wider audiences without people feeling isolated and left out. How did this happen? The introduction of virtual concerts.
When physical locations shut down, concert live streams grew in popularity. Artists started using their social media to promote exclusive virtual sessions for free, growing their fan base and creating a demand that sponsors could not overlook. On the side of caution, some record companies even splurged on set-ups at the artist’s home or in a warehouse setting to perform live concerts with no audience. This type of virtual event trumped an in-person event and was well-received.
Even with in-person concerts being scheduled, there is no guarantee they will go on. COVID-19 protocols and restrictions are still in place, and at the drop of a hat, the event could be canceled. The virtual event platform has made it possible for live music to go on, regardless of circumstances. People who are sick or cannot go out can now take part in the festivities, whether they dress up or prefer watching with popcorn and in a robe. Here’s something to consider – sales for projectors and screens have gone up exponentially with people opting to host their own live streaming event with friends or charge for community members to come and watch.  In fact, home projector sales have risen since virtual concerts have grown in popularity. 
It's no secret the online community is here to stay. While live music was over $20 billion in 2019, artists have taken to Facebook to sing to their growing audiences and share their CashApp, Venmo, and PayPal handles to get money. These are up-close and personal concerts that occur every week, either in a pop-up fashion or at a set time. What makes these concert live streams so cool is that the audience gets to see the artist in their home environment, they can request songs, get to hear what the artist is working on, and they have Q&A sessions – you won’t find that at a standard live concert or a pre-set virtual concert.
There are many artists that pair up on Instagram as well for mini-virtual concerts. This helps with viewership and followers. While it took a while to get recognition, the idea of virtual concerts really started taking off with DJ D-Nice and his “Club Quarantine.” With tons of celebs and artists mingling with their fans, it demonstrated that people wanted to hear music wherever, whenever.
With in-person concerts on the rise again, it creates a new virtual platform for live music – the hybrid event, where patrons can either go to the venue or participate via a virtual venue platform. The beauty of streaming a live concert is that it’s open to all generations. Parents who like certain artists may be watching concert live streams of their favorites and their children start listening too, or vice versa. In fact, virtual concerts have helped artists rise to success, as well as brought artists back into the limelight who had been forgotten.
One of the most popular virtual concerts taking place right now is Verzuz. Created by super producers Timbaland and Swizz Beatz, the wildly popular virtual environment has stepped into the limelight of virtual music, showcasing urban artists in a space where they go head-to-head with the hits they have written, performed, or produced. Broadcast through Instagram Live, Triller, YouTube, Facebook, and Fire TV, the artists are in the same room, or in different places live streaming in real-time. Due to the success of this concept, Apple Music and Twitter jumped on board.
Since the pandemic, virtual concerts are nothing new, with major artists doing their own concerts and filming it like a movie and releasing it. Additionally, live stream software makes it easier for artists to switch things up from free to paid. Getting access requires payment, which then places the individual in a virtual room for the concert. Consider it a live stream pay-per-view. These platforms are so powerful that during an intermission, viewers can be directed to a video or sent an exclusive link to watch additional content, or they are placed into a “store” where merchandise can be purchased until they are released back into the original virtual room for the rest of the concert.
Artists are getting clever with their live streams, often pre-recording content and sharing it with their fans. Even if and when restrictions ease up, there are many people who no longer feel comfortable going to large concert venues. Between having to travel (sometimes out of town), hotel expenses, the cost of tickets, parking, dealing with a lot of people, and chances that things could get out of hand, the pros of staying home and watching a concert in the comfort of your home with family and friends outweighs going through the hassle.
Being able to connect holographically with artists that are no longer with us sets the stage for a new concert experience. Continuously growing in popularity, lifelong fans have an opportunity to see their favorite artists on the stage again. Holographic concerts have been done for Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Frank Zappa, and more. This takes a lot of technology for in-person venues but can offer the same type of experience to virtual concertgoers.
People have been tired of meeting on Zoom, but virtual concerts and online events keep growing in popularity. In fact, a survey done by UTA IQ shows three out of four people attended online events throughout the pandemic, and 88% indicated they plan to continue even when in-person events are in full swing. Although a new concept for many, people have come to know and love virtual concerts, with many concert promoters and streaming platforms getting on board.
If you’re still wondering whether the landscape of live music has changed forever, the answer is a resounding YES. Virtual concerts have reshaped how live music is presented, packaged, and promoted, with unlimited opportunities for exponential growth and artist success.
Sources:1. Newswires - Projector Screen Market Size Worth US$ 13503.98 Million By 2027 | CAGR 9.6%: The Insight Partners