After a rocky start, livestream concerts continue to build momentum

·3-min read
Despite the cancellation of the 2021 edition of the festival, Glastonbury organizers are holding a livestream concert on May 22.

In the space of a few months they have become the must. Since the beginning of the pandemic, livestream performances have replaced global concert tours and mega festivals. There's no shortage of interest and fans aren't too upset about having a sceen come between them and their favorite artists when they take to the stage.

No one can forget the chaotic beginnings of livestream concerts last spring, when a bathrobe-clad John Legend invited his fans to watch his musical performances live on Instagram. But that's a distant memory now. In the last 12 months, livestream concerts have gone upmarket and their technical quality now holds its own in comparison with that of the huge stage shows held pre-pandemic.

One such example is that Studio 254, a gigantic show during which the British singer Dua Lipa performed songs from her latest album, "Future Nostalgia." According to Rolling Stone, more than 1.5 million dollars (about 1.3 million euros) were invested in setting up this event, which was broadcast online last November. And it was worth it: the concert attracted 5 million paid connections in one night.

A format appreciated by music fans

And the phenomenon goes beyond just Dua Lipa. Bandsintown surveyed 750 artists in August to find out how they felt about livestreaming concerts, and recently released the results . It turns out that three-quarters of them had streamed a musical performance online at the time, compared to only 45% last April.

"Live streaming as a medium feels very intimate and unstaged the way many artists chose to approach it. Fans feel an authentic connection while getting the same excitement and pleasure of hearing their favorite music performed live as they might at an in-person show. There is a lot of space for innovation and creativity, but the connection will always be essential," noted Fabrice Sergent, Managing Partner, Bandsintown.

While the majority of artists surveyed (70%) were considering increasing their streaming frequency, they may have the support of their fans. More than 60% of music fans surveyed said they plan to continue watching livestreamed concerts, even after venues reopen. In addition, 80% said they would continue to support their favorite artists by paying to watch livestreamed concerts, or buying merchandise while they're being broadcast.

Livestreaming to the rescue of music festivals

This public enthusiasm for livestreaming is of particular interest to festival organizers. Many of them have recently decided to cancel their festivals again this year, due to uncertainties surrounding the health context. For some, like the Eurockéennes and Coachella, it's been more than two years since they've been able to welcome music lovers from across the world.

That's also the case of the iconic Glastonbury festival. Its organizers, Michael and Emily Eavis, recently announced that a major concert will soon be streamed online, to make up for the cancellation of the 2021 edition of the British event. Coldplay, Damon Albarn, Haim, Jorja Smith and Idles are among the artists participating in this livestream event, described as a "ground-breaking, five-hour extravaganza."

"Live at Worthy Farm" will be broadcast in its entirety on May 22 on four different time zones to accommodate the maximum number of music fans. However, they will have to pay 20 pounds or US$27.50 to watch the event online. A reasonable price according to Emily Eavis. "Some people said, 'You could charge £60.' We were like, no. For a while we thought we could do it for free. But actually, we do need to have a ticket price and £20 seems really reasonable for that many acts," she explained to the Guardian.

Caroline Drzewinski