By Nethan Sivarapu and Ian Vu
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we see ourselves as more disconnected from society than ever. During these times, how have musicians kept in touch with the world to continue spreading their music?
Social distancing has changed the way that many people around the world tackle their daily tasks. Many people have lost their jobs or their customers in these trying times.
Musicians are not an exception to this. Music streaming has been on a decline ever since the beginning of social distancing. Many artists’ tours and concerts have been canceled due to COVID-19.
Huge names in the music industry like Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, and BTS announced that their live tours would be either canceled or rescheduled to a later date. Musicians still need to provide content despite not being able to hold live concerts; so, in response to this problem, there have been several solutions.
In terms of communicating with their audience, nothing has really changed. Most musicians have kept to social media platforms as normal to keep their audience updated on their latest moves.
Live-streaming concerts have been a rising new medium for content creators to maintain their audience during quarantine. With social distancing in place, platforms like Twitch, YouTube, and Instagram Live have been used by many artists for this purpose.
Many of these online concerts have been making headlines during the shelter-in-place, where the artist performs what they’d usually play on tour but in the comfort of their house.
These online concerts are created to encourage staying indoors and practicing social distancing. Numerous online concerts have the added benefits of being partnered with organizations to help raise money in order to fight against COVID-19 and other good causes.
An example of this is artist Billie Eilish and her brother FINNEAS live-streaming during the Together at Home concert by Global Citizen and The World Health Organization. The concert featured many talented artists like Lizzo, Elton John, Lady Gaga, SuperM and Shawn Mendes.
In total, the Together At Home concert raised $127.9 million through donations. Another example is media company 88rising’s ASIA RISING FOREVER concert which helped raise money for Asian Americans Advancing Justice, in honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
ASIA RISING FOREVER was streamed on YouTube Live and Twitter. The viewers were able to give donations through credit cards, PayPal, and other online payment although was free to join and watch the online concerts. The entire stream is still available to watch for free on YouTube. Audiences, however, are still longing to listen to their favorite artists live in-person.
Despite the issue of COVID-19 restricting live concerts, artists have found ways to hold them while still exercising social distancing. This new trend is called drive-in concerts, and it allows crowds to see their favorite musicians while staying separated from others in their respective vehicles. An example is CBF Production’s upcoming Concerts in Your Car, featuring Super Duper Kyle. It will be held as a celebration for the graduating Class Of 2020 in Ventura, California on June 12.
Tickets range from $49 to $199, with some of the profits going to Food Share, a large food bank in Ventura County. The concert will be held in a drive-in theater, where the sound will be distributed via FM radio.
The shows will last 75 minutes each, with everyone attending staying in their respective vehicles; the limit is five people in each car. The bathrooms will not be open, and all of the event staff will be wearing protective gear.
Luckily for musicians, lots of people in quarantine spend the majority of their time online, so music video consumption is blowing up. Musicians are taking advantage of social media platforms during these times to release interactive music videos that would draw attention to masses.
One of the biggest interactive online music “concerts” was the Travis Scott x Fortnite Astronomical Concert, which took place on April 25. The concert was held on the popular video game, Fortnite, and featured Travis Scott as an animated figure moving throughout the virtual world while in-game players could walk around.
Although it only lasted 15 minutes, over 27 million players viewed the show live, with 45 million people replaying the show later as a music video. This showed many people the endless possibilities that online platforms have for the music industry during these times.
The Astronomical concert opened the public’s eyes to the success of imaginative concerts via the internet. After Travis Scott’s show, many other organizations and artist’s turned to creative measures to garner attention online.
Last month, Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber, two of the biggest names in the music industry, teamed up to release their song “Stuck With U,” along with a music video. The video features heartwarming clips of everyday people and other celebrities during the quarantine. The song is also a fundraiser for First Responders Children’s Foundation, supporting first responders affected by COVID-19. In total, they have raised over $36,000 from donations on the music video.
Self-quarantine and social distancing have changed the way the world works in many ways, and the music industry is no exception. With the use of the internet, as well as creativity, people are able to witness their favorite artists perform live as well as share content, all while staying safe and away from danger.