Virtual Music Experiences
The pandemic has forced the music industry to innovate and move online. We review our top 8 music events this year.
This past weekend usually marks the official start of the summer music festival season. Music fans make the pilgrimage to Somerset to enjoy one of the most famous festivals in the world- Glastonbury. This year we had to settle for Glast-home-bury, yes the weather was great, the drinks were cheaper, and the BBC coverage helped to get us in the spirit, but it wasn’t the same.
The music industry has taken a big revenue hit as venues are shuttered and tours postponed. Prompting the Music Venue Trust to call on the government to provide a £50m lifeline to stop the “total collapse” of the £5.2bn sector.
Whilst we could never argue that virtual or socially distanced gigs are superior to the real thing, it’s certainly better than no music at all! Bands and brands are working together to find innovative ways to connect with fans. Below is a roundup of the best music activations that we’ve seen so far.
Gaming platforms have become an unexpected facilitator for performers to reach a wide audience online. With millions already signed up to the online gaming worlds they offer a ready-made, highly engaged audience.
Minecraft- Block by Blockwest
Hosted within the game, the festival had to be postponed for 2 weeks after their first attempt (a set from Massive Attack) crashed their servers due to overwhelming demand! This online festival experience reached 134,000 fans during the weekend. Attendees were able to gain access to VIP areas by making a donation to The Centre’s for Disease Control or Prevention’s Covid Relief Fund, raising $7,600.
Fortnite- Travis Scott’s Astronomical Tour
April saw Travis Scott take his tour online with five mini-concerts for Fortnite users. 12 million players attended the first concert, hitting 27.7 million unique users across the series. The concert experience took users through land, sea, and space. Users could purchase additional ‘dance moves’ for their avatars to vibe along to the concert.
Community spirit has been alive and well during the pandemic with successful artists using their talents to highlight causes and give back.
One World: Together at Home
This online concert (also broadcast on the BBC) brought together 100 artists from across the globe to perform from their homes, in aid of battling coronavirus. Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, The Rolling Stones, and more attracted huge viewing audience and raised a massive £127million. A 79 track album of the performances has since been released on streaming services, with all proceeds going directly to support the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organisation.
Lewis Capaldi and Calm
On a more local level Lewis Capaldi celebrated the year anniversary of his first album release by hosting a charity concert for mental health charity Calm. Fans could purchase a ticket to see Capaldi perform from his home in West Lothian for £5.
With many major festivals dropping out of the calendar broadcasters like the BBC must be innovative to fill content gaps in their summer schedules.
The May Bank Holiday weekend saw a very different Big Weekend, artists like Sam Smith, Rita Ora and Biffy Clyro all performed from home. 50 new live performances were broadcast alongside festival highlights from previous years.
Replicating the festival format performances took place across five virtual stages with highlights available online post event.
The Glastonbury Experience
The BBC celebrated Glastonbury across all of it’s platforms with four days of programming centred around archive performances.
Lorna Clarke, Controller, BBC Pop, said: “Glastonbury Festival has for decades been a huge moment in the BBC’s music calendar, thanks to Michael and Emily’s magical creation. Even though Worthy Farm can’t be full of thousands of music lovers this year, the BBC will celebrate with memories and archive footage, to give our audience a taste of the festival in their own homes.”
DRIVE THROUGH DISCOS
As restrictions begin to lift, performers can start to transition back to physical gigs. Albeit via a very different format. Last seen in the 1950s, drive throughs are back!
Unsurprisingly it was German ravers who lead the way back in April with their Autosdisco drive in raves. German superclub ‘Club Index’ hosted events across three nights. Setting up a festival stage, full soundsystem and lighting rig in it’s carpark. Footage from the events shows cars flashing their lights and honking horns along to the sets from the likes of DJs Devin Wild, Nitefield and MarvU.
Live from the Drive-In
Closer to home Live Nation have announced a series of summer drive-in gigs. Taking place across 12 outdoor venues in the UK tickets go on sale this month. The Streets, Dizzee Rascal, The Lightning Seeds and Gary Numan, have all signed up to play at the “Live From The Drive-In” events. Starting at £50.65 for a two occupant car (increasing to £147.00 for seven occupants) it’s much cheaper than a regular gig so demand is set to be high.
Whilst we all eagerly await the return of live music venues we’re happy we don’t have to go without music altogether. The industry has worked hard to innovate and support, artists, fans and venues impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
We encourage you to seek ways to support your favourite artists and venues during this time. This Music Venue Trust fundraiser for grassroots venues is a great place to start and will ensure they can open their doors again when restrictions are lifted.
For now, the wellingtons stay in the cupboard but we can’t wait to dust them off and get back to the festival fields in 2021.