Hybrid Concerts and the Future of Music Entertainment

COVID-19 has hit the world hard. One of the hardest-hit industries has been the music industry that was on a massive rise in recent years, has seen a staggering downfall. While streaming services are seeing more users and premium users throughout 2020, live music venues have virtually vanished for everyone’s health and safety.

This has become an issue as a majority of artists earn their living from performing live. They receive a small percentage of royalties after their labels have taken their cut from streaming services. Because of this loss of revenue, artists and labels have been searching for ways to produce live events.

In comes hybrid concerts that try to combine health and safety regulations for small venues during these hard times with concert streaming online. They might become far more prevalent as the world starts to change in the oncoming times of COVID-19 relief through vaccines and herd immunity.

Cancelled Concerts and Virtual Shows

Throughout 2020, concerts have been slashed right and left. If you name any concert that was big in 2019, most likely it has been wiped from the books for 2020 and postponed for 2021. Major concerts like Lollapalooza, Burning Man, and Glastonbury were simply indefinitely postponed to the dread of artists and the audience alike.

Virtual concerts have seen amazing innovations in 2020. Indie artists who survive off of live venues have turned to platforms like Patreon to collect funds and play private concerts to their Patreon audience. Major stars, like Dua Lipa, have seen great success in virtual concerts. Her livestream on November 27th, 2020, produced by Studio 2054 is said to have cost upwards of 1.5 million dollars. While we don’t know the revenue produced, they sold a staggering 284,000 tickets worldwide for a livestream.

Feelings About Live Concerts in the COVID Era

Performance Research polled 1,000 music lovers to learn more about their feelings around live concerts in the time of COVID-19. From their findings, 85% of people said they would need time to adjust to in-person concerts once public gatherings were deemed safe.

Sadly, only 33% of people said they’d be likely to go to indoor concerts post-pandemic, and a very low 26% said the same about outdoor concerts.

Despite these low figures, the music industry can use hybrid concerts to demonstrate the safety of live venues and help concert attendees warm back up.

Hybrid concerts and hybrid events might become the new norm as we roll into 2021 and help warm the public back into going to venues again. With millions of people receiving vaccines, and people become more accustomed to social distancing, hybrid concerts might be a great way to roll back into full live music concerts once again. Or, even better: Incorporate live streaming in major concerts as a standard from now on.

Hybrid Concert Safety Protocols

Hybrid concert coordinators adhere to local government policies for small venues and make use of the evolving streaming technology of today. In the US, both the CDC and the local government have protocols that small venues must follow.

These include how many people are allowed to gather, generally more outside than inside, and how much spacing and isolation is required between attendees. For example, these criteria could be met by playing a live concert before a large parking area. Attendees would sit in their designated spots, with enough distance between the other attendees to ensure social distancing. Depending on the local protocols, masks might be required.

Concert organizers would also have to ensure each attendee would enter safely. They would conduct body temperature readings as attendees enter, ensure that the attendees understand the rules and regulations of the concert through pamphlets, and ensure mask and sanitation practices. Additionally, organizers can set up food and drink services that can be delivered to the concert-goers with a click on their smartphones.

On the digital side, the concert would be live-streamed through a secure venue site. Virtual attendees would have an easy time with the concert as they could relax at home in their pajamas and enjoy the concert. It’s up to the concert organizers to regulate how many tickets are sold, or in specific regions to create scarcity and that same excitement of the attendee’s favorite band coming to town.

Despite the current state of affairs with COVID-19 causing concerts to nearly disappear, the outlook of hybrid concerts can be a helping hand to bring music lovers back. By following health and safety protocols and incorporating online live streaming, hybrid concerts can be a great transition or even a new method of broadcasting concerts to the world.

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