As the world faces the pandemic, we’ve seen a major shift in almost everything we could possibly imagine. It has affected our personal lifestyles, our jobs, how we consume media and more.
One of my personal passions, dance music, has seen a major shift as well. Without the magnanimous arenas and music festivals that had allowed us to shuffle freely, we’ve found ourselves continuing to dance to the beat in our living rooms. Just like the launch of Napster, we’re witnessing another wave of change for labels, artists, and event organizers. While this may not be the end for live events (I really hope not), I think it’s safe to say that the pandemic has opened doors to where the music industry may venture off to.
Twitch and Zoom have become the new nightclub havens and it’s been interesting to see how consumers, labels, and artists have come to quickly adopt these tools. Americans have shown that they are willing to pay up to a $180 dollars to party it out during quarantine, and while many other livestream events are free - thanks to great artists and labels out there - it’s clear that there is an opportunity to develop another monetization channel in the future. Gareth Emery’s recent pay-per-view is a good example, which had hundreds of viewers tuned for his 2.5 hour set earlier this month.
While livestream pay-per-view events may not be a replacement for the real deal (I miss my dance floor!), it may become a norm as users are willing to shell a reasonable price to watch a performance from the comfort of their homes, along with the added opportunity to engage with their favorite artists. Digital festivals have had some pretty stacked line-ups during quarantine - I don’t think they’ll be gone anytime soon.
Twitch’s raid feature is a whole new form of artist discovery
With the advent of Spotify, Soundcloud, and TIDAL, sharing music as an independent artist has never been easier. However, this accessibility opened the floodgates for everyone and artist discovery eventually became a challenge within itself.
With Twitch, there’s another option.
One of the benefits Twitch has always had is building engaging communities. A successful stream lives or dies by great content complimented with audience interactions - this applies to artists when they are performing live as well.
What’s even better is that artists can now directly share their communities with other members with the unique “Raid” feature, a tool that automatically sends a user’s viewers on their current channel to a new one. This has become the ultimate tool to introduce their fans to similar communities where they can listen to even more DJs/Producers and meet people with a complimentary music palette. Every raid gives an opportunity to exponentially increase the viewership and community, and the “raid train” can keep on giving as users are continuously shifted to one channel to the next once the current one is over.
As a part-time music producer/DJ outside of my PR career, I’ve been grateful for Twitch to give me so much exposure in such a short span of time - probably even more than one night performing at a club.
VR May Have It’s Moment to Shine
Virtual Reality has been here for awhile now, but the pandemic may give it an opportunity to really push it further and move beyond being a hardware peripheral just for gamers. While this is looking much further in to the future, music VR may be an experience that consumers will be more eager to hop on. Just imagine, being able to sit on your couch while experiencing a live Coldplay concert in its full glory.
While there have been companies who have tried to bring this to the masses in the past, the pandemic may have accelerated the timeline as consumers are looking for more ways to entertain themselves while in temporary lock down. This might even make sense as to why Apple just recently purchased virtual reality music and events startup NextVR - we’ll just have to see where they go next with it.
I've been absolutely grateful that music has been here and more present than ever during quarantine. I hope these new tools and opportunities really help the industry shine even more and give new artists further spotlight on their creative works.
Until then, my dance sneakers are waiting.
Life as we knew it has changed within the blink of an eye once the COVID-19 pandemic took hold of the world. With no festivals, concerts, or club nights until further notice, the only thing that keeps us all going and has not failed us since the beginning of its creation: Music… and a lot of it.