The concept of Livestream gigs may never fully break away from its synonymousness with lockdowns and COVID-19. They were a small collective comfort when venues were out of bounds, but for the same reasons they became popular in 2020 and 2021, there is still a place for them in post-pandemic society.
As much as we’ve moved on from the restrictions that dictated the limitations on our social lives, our behaviours, especially those around music consumption, haven’t snapped back with quite the same vigour as predicted. A review of the impact of COVID-19 on music consumption and spending was published in May 2022. the report highlighted a 45% decline in consumer spending compared to pre-pandemic levels. Along with physical sales taking a direct hit, interest in purchasing gig tickets has also waned.
It is a decidedly difficult period for up-and-coming artists, with the new normal being not quite what it cracked up to be. But if one thing has remained a constant, it is that musicians thrive during live shows, and live shows still give artists the perfect chance to connect with their fans on a more meaningful and intimate level. That goes for livestreams as much as it does traditional tours.
5 Reasons Why You Should Still Play Livestream Gigs
1. The Cost-of-Living Crisis
With the cost-of-living crisis hitting music fans just as hard as it is musicians, fewer music fans are inclined to or have the funds to buy gig tickets. Even if gig tickets to a local show are free or cost as little as £5, the ticket cost is usually a fraction of the cost of attending a show when you account for travel and other expenses.
With so many households worried about how they will heat their homes or cover the costs of inflation that are sending their food bills through the metaphorical roof, there is a massive issue with consumer confidence, which all artists should consider. The income via traditional tours may be a vital revenue stream, but in 2022 and beyond, gigs and live streams do need to be mutually exclusive!
2. The Digitalisation of Music
The infrastructure which shaped the music industry has been transforming ever since Napster. The digitalisation of music has been something that has been slowly creeping up on us. Traditional modes may be more desirable, but artists have to ensure that they’re not operating within an obsolete framework.
Every facet of the music industry has been digitalised, from distribution to creation to monetisation. While no one wants to embrace the idea of music only being consumed in isolation and within the confines of our own homes, there is a lot to be said for playing live online. From the ability to connect with a wider international audience without thinking about travel logistics to the increased chance of interaction with your audience, playing live online will help you to stay connected while music fans are less inclined to go to as many live gigs in venues as they used to.
3. Live Stream Gigs Are an Income Opportunity
Even if you livestream your gig on Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube for free, playing live online can be a great way to get more cash into your revenue streams. During the live stream, you can point your fans towards a digital tip jar, post your Venmo tag, or promote your new merch, physical music or gig tickets.
Music fans are far more likely to spend money on music-related purchases when they have gained something from an artist in an emotional sense. For example, if you go live on a Sunday evening while everyone is tackling the back-to-work blues and then point out how tips or other purchases could help, you’re infinitely more likely to tempt them into investing in you as an artist.
4. Live Streams Are a Cost-Effective Way of Promoting New Material
In 2022, independent artists are spoilt for choice when it comes to how to promote their music. For those on a budget, options are slightly more limited, but playing live from a practice room or wherever you can get away with turning up your amps can be a cost-effective way of making your fans fall in love with your new singles, EPs, and albums.
While many artists choose to launch their music with a gig in their hometown, or a national or international tour for artists who have a wider fanbase, this isn’t feasible for every independent artist. Furthermore, there are massive geographical constraints on who can make it to your new music launch shows. If you choose to stream a live launch show, no matter where your fans are in the world, they can celebrate with you!
5. Connect with Your Fans!
Before and after you have played through your livestream set, you have the chance to connect with your fans and make them feel included. It is a great way to get feedback or get to know your fans better. Before the livestream, you can even reach out to your fanbase to ask them what songs they would like to hear during the livestream. If you’re feeling especially daring, you can even put it to your fans to suggest which covers they would like to hear.
However you interact with your fanbase in the run-up to a livestream or following it, remember, even the smallest interactions go a long way when nurturing new and long-time fans!
To conclude, I would like to clarify that livestream gigs will never be a substitute for the real thing; the live music industry, no matter how fractured and precarious, is still the lifeblood of the music industry and music-centric communities. However, by holding the occasional livestream gig to supplement your live touring schedules, you get the opportunity to promote your music to a wider network, and you include your fans who wouldn’t be able to make it to see you live. Livestream shows are impervious to geographical and financial limitations. Not to mention the music fans who miss out on gigs due to social anxiety or because they have no one to go with!
Article by Amelia Vandergast