Sunday, September 26th, 2021

Music Past the Mask: Are Concerts Back?

As COVID-19 brought tours, concerts, and festivals to a grinding halt, thousands of artists were left jobless. Not to mention the countless crew members, agents, and venues who lost their most reliable source of income. Losing $9.7 billion in ticket sales alone, the live music industry was forced to find a solution.

Turning to social media, artists began to host free, virtual concerts. While these concerts allowed artists to engage with fans via livestream, they did not provide the income of touring. Moreover, charging fans to attend virtual concerts isn’t exactly economically viable. After all, fans would be asked to pay for an experience that couldn’t rival that of a live concert in either performance or production.

However, there have been some economically successful ventures. Beyond LIVE concerts, popularized by the K-Pop label SM Entertainment, prove that virtual concerts can be financially lucrative. Combing real and virtual realities, viewers are given an experience that surpasses that of a typical online concert as well as one that cannot be reproduced in-person. In addition, these concerts offer fans the chance to directly interact with artists through a facetime feature. Beyond LIVE concerts create an experience that fans want to pay for.

But are virtual concerts the way forward?

With the infection rate dropping every day, will the entertainment scene slowly go back to normal?

As the world begins to reopen, it seems that artists can’t wait to hit the road. Predicting an influx of tours, concerts, and festival performances, the live music industry is poised to recover. While this may seem like a good thing, artists are not out of the woods yet. With increased performances, come increased competition for dates and venues. This means that fans might have to pick and choose who they see. Not only that but there are still questions regarding safety. For example, how can venues mitigate a “super-spreader” event? Companies, like Live Nation, are considering hosting events only for those who have been vaccinated or those who have a negative test result. But even then, will fans feel comfortable attending a crowded concert? Perhaps, virtual concerts are here to stay. After all, they can be both economically viable and safe for fans.

References: The Wall Street Journal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PqgTh9RvVw Forbes Magazine: https://www.forbes.com/sites/elanagross/2020/12/11/concert-industry-will-lose-more-than-30-billion-because-of-pandemic-pollstar-finds/?sh=48f3872f5fd0 Rolling Stone: https://www.rollingstone.com/pro/features/when-live-music-return-2021-covid-1106719/

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