Virtual Concerts: The New Reality of Live Performances Post the Pandemic?

Virtual Concerts

Is COVID-19 bringing the new concept of concerts for the new normal? 

The entire world is currently struggling for the new normal scenario disrupted by the outbreak of COVID-19. Mitigating the risks of the epidemic, a number of industries are still prohibited to reopen while some are reviving with crucial preventive measures taking in place. The entertainment industry still seeks government orders to get back to work. When it comes to live shows and performances, most concerts canceled until further notice due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, the outbreak pushed the music industry to the new reality of concerts – virtual concerts.

Musicians and their managers are now getting more creative, streaming performances online to stay connected with their fans. Musical institutions are taking the show online to share some musical joy to enthusiasts during these uncertain times. With venues and bars are complete shutdown, there are numerous companies bringing concerts to fans’ home safely using virtual reality. For instance, the French electronic music pioneer and former CISAC (International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers) president, Michel Jarre has been one of the biggest champions of virtual reality concerts.

While social distancing measures are extremely vital to prevent the spread of the virus, it has entirely changed the traditional model of concerts, emphasizing on staying indoors. This is why many musicians turn to virtual concerts for generating incomes and engaging both physically and geographically dispersed fans amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is not done here as the pandemic could cause the music industry to lose around US$9 billion if the life under quarantine will not lift by end of the year, according to the Pollaster study, a trade publication company.

The music industry is a thriving sector rely heavily on the in-person connection. So, the loss of audiences will certainly be disastrous and hurt the revenue. Meanwhile, resilient performers, institutions, galleries, even entire art fairs, are shifting to the digital world, leveraging increasingly streaming services and virtual reality, demonstrating live concerts on gaming apps, conducting Instagram dance parties and introducing online-only spaces.

While the report forecasted a US$12.2 billion annual growth for the industry based on its first-quarter revenue, which was up 10.9 percent from 2019’s record-setting year to US$840 million for 2020, with ticket sales rose by 4.5 percent to 9.4 million. However, these estimations changed virtually overnight owing to lockdowns across the world over the past few weeks.

Despite the uncertainties, the COVID-19 pandemic is giving the rise of a golden age for the media and entertainment industry, making good on the initial promise of digital. For example, recently, we have seen live-streaming performances of the Metropolitan Opera and the Cleveland Inner City Ballet to an intimate St Patrick’s Day show from the Boston punk band Dropkick Murphys, with additional groups creating worlds specifically for VR.

Therefore, as taking a virtual walk in the music industry is becoming possible day by day, it will bring a new life and offer unprecedented access to some of the world’s cultural touchstones, some are previously financially or physically inaccessible, along with exhilarating experiences.

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