Music has always been a fast mover when it comes to consumption trends. From mix tapes in bodega’s in New York to burning CD’s from Limewire downloads to streaming on Spotify it moves with technology. One thing that hasn’t changed over the years has been live music. Really the experience of ear rattling speakers and dancing with strangers has been fairly unchanged. The acts may have changed from Kool Herc to the Beastie Boys, Nirvana, Tiesto or Drake but live music has been a staple of music consumption for years. With the raise of streaming services displacing physical music sales it’s been a place artists have fallen back on to keep revenue streams alive. But with a shift in the world caused by social distancing how are we keeping live music alive? Well it’s most definitely alive and kicking.
A shift online
Live music couldn’t survive Covid. It just couldn’t. Venues shut down, bars couldn’t open, people stopped going out. Live music was dead. But luckily there are pioneers that have already started what Covid has accelerated. A shift to streaming live performances.
During the start of Covid viewers on the live streaming site Twitch started exponentially growing. Viewers of their Music and Performance Arts Category rose by 524%. Live streaming on Instagram had a similar growth stat with a 70% increase in live streaming in March alone.
A move to new artists
Live streaming music does have one massive advantage. You don’t have to have a massive backing from a record label to get your name out there. You can rely on those that love your music to share and help you build a following online. These new skills are allowing more and more new artists to launch themselves with very little cost to entry.
How artists are capitalising
Artists are making waves now not by being discovered by a record producer at the local club but by making a name for themselves online. With a new wave of web savvy musicians taking advantage of sites like Neon Night to make a name for themselves on the web it’s becoming a real career path for many.
Artists are building fan bases and making income from streaming and the associated advertising revenue. Music is mutating to a way of capturing attention, content that is free but comes with advertising.
Where will live music go next?
Once Covid has been and gone live music will return. Of course it will. It’s a staple of human life, it’s where people meet their partners, it’s where you see your friends. Live music is so tied to the human experience it won’t just fizzle out and never return. What will change is the medium in which we experience and the way in which artists make a name for themselves.
The next generation of live music stars will most probably come from those who are tech savvy enough to build a following online. There won’t be any more mix tapes on street corners, rather live streams from bedrooms.