Today I wanted to chat about live music, particularly where live music is headed.
I recently got out to see the band Ex:Re as part of the BBC6 Music Festival here in Liverpool and was blown away by how amazing they were.
Recommendation time! If you’re a fan of the band Daughter and are into indie-folk slash shoegaze type rock, check the debut album out.
Anyway, after the gig, it got me thinking. What’s the future of live music? Is the internet opening the doors to new live experiences and what would I like us DIY Musicians thinking about going forward?
Let’s go through a few points.
Going to Shows
So, first off, let’s talk about leaving the comfort of our own homes and going out to see gigs. I really don’t think going to see live shows is going away.
I’ve had so many amazing experiences which will long linger in my memory, from seeing David Bowie at Glastonbury to Arcade Fire in a tiny venue, they can be unforgettable, obviously.
Also, on the flipside, as long as there’s money an artist can make getting on the road and selling tickets and merch, it’s a no brainer.
And ultimately, as a fan, it’s a unique experience to see a band or artist in person, especially if you can manage to get a good spot or seat.
But what happens if you can’t get a good spot, or you’re behind some really tall guy, or you’re right at the back and you have to watch the video screens instead of the tiny band all the way upfront on stage?
Or worse still – next to people chatting about Game of Thrones (have you seen it, good isn’t it?).
Anyway, that takes me to my next point.
At the Cinema
Have you seen this uptake of live performances shown at the cinema? For instance, Take That stream some of their concerts directly to cinema audiences. A lot of theatre productions are doing this too.
It makes a lot of sense to me as you’re still able to have that audience-based atmosphere, although maybe a little more subdued but it might be a better option than traveling across the country.
It’s not only ‘live’ events either, it’s exclusive content such as that recent Diana Ross concert slash documentary which was only shown in cinemas for one day in March. I went to see Roger Waters’ ‘The Wall’ film a while back which I think did the same thing. I’m sure Muse did a similar thing also.
These kinds of events aren’t the same though, they’re part documentaries, some with ‘live Q&A’ sessions at the end which do make them unique, but they’re not really shows, in the traditional ‘live’ sense anyway.
But doing this sort of thing creates or hopes to create the same buzz and hype around a live show with its ‘not to be missed, one day only’ fanfare.
But what if I don’t want to see it at the cinema at all. To be honest, it doesn’t really ‘feel’ like a live show (when it is live). What else is there?
There’s Virtual Reality. Now, I obviously haven’t been able to check this out as I don’t own a VR headset (yet) but from what I have seen, it looks quite promising.
I remember the whole world cup thing last year (I’m not really a football fan), PlayStation VR owners were able to watch some of the games in VR from the comfort of their own homes which I thought was pretty cool.
It’s not just sports events, it’s gigs too, and I have to be honest, that’s quite tempting for an introvert like me. From what I’ve found researching this topic, there are some ‘VR experiences’ that offer different viewpoints standing or seating positions or even on the stage.
Now I’m not sure if VR gigs like these are accessible ‘live’ as they all look to be archived.
For me that’s a bit of a knock again, although I think it’s absolutely amazing to start archiving shows like this, imagine if we had that for the Beatles? It just makes sense.
Talking of the Beatles actually. Paul McCartney played here in Liverpool just before Christmas and I was desperate to see him in his home city, also my home city. As soon as the tickets went on sale, I was in the digital queue for hours upon hours only to learn that it had sold out in seconds and the website had failed to inform those waiting. Great!
Anyway, that got me thinking about my next point!
Live Stream Tickets
Why aren’t we offering live streaming tickets as a form of extra income for musicians? If a gig sells out it proves it’s a popular event, so why not invest in some sort of live streaming rig to cater for people who want to watch and can’t?
Is it a case of too much money to do it well, or is it a case of it eating up on potential ticket sales for the rest of the tour?
Either way, if there was another option to ‘digitally attend’ that Paul McCartney gig that night, I would have taken it. Probably.
But thinking about it, you know what I’d like to see from DIY Musicians?
Live Streamed Events
I’d like to see just this, live streamed events. We can all create events through the likes of Facebook or Songkick etc so why not invite everyone and stream shows. If it’s a regular gig you can you have it set up so people who can’t travel to the show can watch along, live with other people.
I’ve always dreamt about doing my own version of a Jools Holland show where I’d hire a warehouse and invite a bunch of bands to play and we’d live stream the night, complete with interviews etc in-between shows.
Now imagine if bands in every city all over the world did that and had bands travel other between each different community, it’s exciting to think about.
I’ve always said you can do the same thing on a much smaller scale at your own place too.
There are issues with that of course, can you get a decent connection? At some point. Is it ever going to be as good as going to see a band Live? No, not really but It’s different and I suppose that’s the point, we’re exploring choices and thinking about opportunities.
So, I’ll end that there then. Let me know in the comments if you have any thoughts about this.