by Robert Thompson Wise Music Group, President
COVID-19 presented challenges unlike any ever imagined for the music industry. Few industries suffered to the extent of live entertainment, which came to a complete standstill. Still needing to reach fans, live music adapted by moving online with live-streamed concerts.
The industry innovated to confront the challenges of not playing live shows and platforms from video games like Fortnight and Minecraft turned into gathering places for virtual concerts. Live streaming services like Brightcove, StreamShark, Twitch, and Dacast are just a few of many names that have been used to reach music fans.
So will virtual and live stream concerts continue to be big post-pandemic as live shows return and skyrocket in attendance?
Robert Thompson says, yes they will. The virtual concert industry generated $600 million in 2020. It opened the door to concert experiences that can be had regardless of where your favorite musician or band might be playing. Consider this, Andrea Bocelli’s live performance from Venice had 30 million viewers on YouTube. Miley Cyrus’ Zombie cover had over 10 million views. Artists reached more people than they ever could and created new fans.
The model is moving to a hybrid, where both the in-person and live stream events happen concurrently. Like you can attend a live sporting event or watch it on TV, music now offers both options.
Is that music festival you’re dying to attend sold out? Robert Thompson asks; would you watch it via live stream for a much-reduced price? Most likely, you will and do so soon. The event gets to expand its reach and bring in more significant revenue, and you still get to see your favorite acts play live from the comfort of your living room.
Due to the reach of live stream concerts, there is no doubt that labels are interested in offering these events as publicity for artist tours or new album drops. If an artist can reach more and more people, it only serves to increase concert ticket sales down the road.
Throughout the ’90s, the Grateful Dead were consistently the highest-grossing band on tour, often bringing in more money than the following several bands or soloists combined. Yet, only the Grateful Dead allowed recording and videos of their concerts. The music industry slowly caught on. Nothing generates show attendance better than people seeing how amazing the show is to experience and wishing they were there. Virtual concerts do just that.
Now that more people are intimate with the experience of virtual concerts, and due to wide adoption by Gen Z, you can expect to continue to see them flourish. They will become even more prevalent, even post-pandemic. The future of virtual concerts and the benefits they bring to both artists and fans have a bright future ahead.