Virtual Performances Strike a Chord with Fans 

Rachel Cantor

In this new era of social distancing and self-quarantining, one thing harmonizes everyone together: music. Entrepreneurs, investors and artists noticed this trend and joined an online discussion last week about the future of the music industry at the NOLA MusicTech Conference. From conversations about “AR/VR” to “Promoting Virtual Events,” it’s clear we are experiencing a music revolution. 

Virtual events are now the new norm. Thanks to social media and BandsinTown’s new “Watch Live” feature, artists such as Dua Lipa, Elton John and Chris Martin can perform in real-time from their homes. According to Evan Lowenstein, founder of StageIt, these stripped-down performances amp up authenticity as fans can now experience a seemingly private concert with their favorite performers. 

When artists look directly into a camera, they are face to face with the audience. It’s an intimate moment, unlike anything on stage. Fabrice Sergent of Bandsintown explained that even though “live” has been around for quite some time, this is a new type of livestream. Artists are now approachable. In their own homes they can finally act like real humans and admit their vulnerabilities. And, this authenticity is particularly important for younger generations like Gen Z who tend to value the genuineness and sincerity of experiences more than older generations. 

This musical renaissance is unfolding digitally as fans crave performances to fill the void of cancelled music festivals and in-person concerts. Now, the stage has changed. Artists are jamming out in their childhood bedrooms, bathrooms and living rooms minus all of the glitz and glam. Without their managers and publicists, musicians have the freedom to decide where to perform, what songs to sing, when their sets end and what to wear. 

Not only does this evolution of live content allow artists to authentically connect with fans, but the easily accessible performances can cultivate a more diverse audience. The beauty of a livestream is that the artist can go on tour anywhere and anytime at a low cost. Anyone — no matter socio-economic status, cultural background or location — can tune into a good ol’ concert.  

But the question remains: will fans continue to watch virtual, live performances once quarantine is over? According to Sergent, most fans say they will continue to watch live-streamed content even when things go back to normal. Once they discover it, they’ll love it and continue to watch. The star power can bring some light in these darker times and beyond.

About the Author: Rachel Cantor is a recent graduate of Northwestern University, where she majored in Communication Studies and minored in French. She also holds a certificate in Integrated Marketing Communications from the Medill School of Journalism. Rachel served as the Executive Co-Chair of Northwestern University Dance Marathon (NUDM), one of the largest student-run philanthropies in the nation, and raised over $1 million for non-profits in the Chicagoland area. She has interned at both Digitas and Refinery29, and she recently launched her own newsletter. She is currently looking for full-time Product and Marketing roles at startups and tech companies.