Online concerts introduce a new perspective to connecting artists and their listeners


Kaelyn Savard

The COVID-19 pandemic popularized performances streamed online, which could be a useful tool for concerts in the future.

Noelle Villaseñor, Writer

During the COVID-19 pandemic, music lovers worldwide have grieved the absence of adrenalized, in-person concerts. Safety precautions prohibited gatherings of large crowds and halted touring in its tracks—to make up for this loss, many artists began holding shows online. 

The experience of an online concert is especially unforgettable. Behind the screens, artists must work double-time alongside staff to ensure that their broadcasts are airing smoothly, while also performing well enough to captivate fans without any of the energy gained from having a live audience. These efforts result in enthralling shows that give viewers a piece of the concert experience they so dearly miss in a safe and accessible manner.

In Aug. 2020, five months into COVID shutdowns, alternative-rock trio Wallows held four virtual shows from the Roxy Theatre in Los Angeles. Each show featured a different setlist: they performed their 2019 album, Nothing Happens, in full on one night, as well as fan-voted songs and their personal selections on the remaining days. The online broadcasts allowed the band to display their authentic concert experience while continuing to prepare for the revival of in-person concerts. Other artists had unique experiences holding similar shows, including Melanie Martinez, Glass Animals, Maroon 5 and more.

As the pandemic prolonged the delay of concerts into 2021, artists had to experiment with various styles of online broadcasting. Along with several live online performances, septet Bangtan Boys (BTS) held events in June 2020 and April 2021 in which they aired concert DVDs from previous years for free on YouTube. These concert marathons took fans on a trip down memory lane and gave audiences the chance to connect virtually, enjoy their favorite music and reminisce about pre-pandemic shows. Creative methods of online shows created variety for both audiences and artists, a refreshing change of pace from static lockdown routines.

Online concerts were a popular method of performing during the height of the pandemic, and they could continue to be a useful alternative or an addition to in-person events as COVID regulations are lifted. Benefits of accessibility are included for people with financial, physical or mental concerns, and they provide fair access to fans who are unable to snag highly sought-after tickets. During an online concert, anyone can have a front row seat for a good price and from the comfort of their own bedroom.

The experience of live concerts is measurably improved by accessibility and safety, both key features of online viewing. Utilizing solutions that stemmed from the roadblock of COVID-19 will give artists an advantage to take touring to a new level, as well as providing more opportunities to concert crews who manage virtual broadcasts. The benefits of online concerts should keep them in consideration for the prospective future of touring, even once the pandemic becomes a memory of the past.

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