While the world scrambles to contain the coronavirus, the music industry is suffering the secondary effects of the outbreak. The ordinary pleasures such as the days and long nights of concerts and clubs, that we took for granted before the emergence of the pandemic are now tainted with virus transmission anxiety.
Because of safety concerns countless concerts and tours had to be canceled. On one hand.
Audiences have been missing the thrill of live music, be that a big, no-holds-barred stadium extravaganza or the tacky surroundings of small venues to discover your new favourite low-key band. On the other hand, musicians are left wondering what will happen next.
Whatever a “new normal” turns out to be, hybrid concerts seem to be the best solution to the world’s current live music woes.
A hybrid music concert incorporates live streaming and live music elements. The event is physically attended by a smaller group of people and at the same time, it is live-streamed to the masses.
Even without the pandemic element and strict safety protocols, hybrid events enable musicians to perform in smaller venues or even in their studios while sharing their music and opus with their global fandom.
Recently, The Smile, the new group comprising Radiohead's Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood, as well as Sons Of Kemet's Tom Skinner, played three consecutive live shows within 24 hours at Magazine London.
This debut concert by the Smile took place in a very futuristic setting a glass-fronted black meeting box ( no pun intended) on the wastelands of the Thames peninsula;
The concert was staged three times. The performances were live-streamed globally and include an in-studio live audience. Fans could watch The Smile performance from anywhere in the world. All three Broadcasts were also been available to ticket-holders as unlimited on-demand replays for 2 days.
The hybrid concert was visually stunning and it allowed the band to step onto the global stage while maintaining the authentic, intimate instrumentation.
The revenue potential for a hybrid is undoubted because remote fans almost always outnumber their physical counterparts. With a hybrid event, a record label, promoter, or concert venue can reach a large audience without losing ticket sales or increasing risk to attendees.
Pandemic or no pandemic, the benefits, and capabilities for hybrid events are enticing, and here are a few reasons why:
As mentioned above, not only does a virtual option mean the potential for reaching a larger audience, it also means reaching new audiences. But organisers should note that audiences need to be included in a way that recognises them. For example when K-pop boyband BTS hosted a virtual concert where fans around the world were able to talk in the fast-moving live chat, where you could connect and light it up like you’re at a concert but in your own home. 50 million fans were able to participate, which of course resulted in massive revenue: $20 million from just ticket sales.
New Revenue Streams
When you host a hybrid concert it is important to know that everything you can purchase at a physical event should have a digital equivalent, especially if the merchandise is exclusive to the event (e.g. a unique clothing item). The way the Smile band approached this topic was that An exclusive band T-shirt & screenprint was available to order at checkout and despatched two weeks after the event.
Physical events are vulnerable to conditions at the site, but hybrid events allow for greater adaptability and resilience—this is especially important in an uncertain world, to forget for a pandemic for a second, we live in a world where extreme climate or other public health issues can impact when and where the live event takes place.
More and more organisations think about their carbon footprint, hybrid models represent an attractive way to hold large-scale events with a smaller comparable environmental impact.
Building meaningful relationships between brands and fans
Interactive live streams offer remote fans a way to engage and shape events; they also offer a powerful tool for brands to learn more about their fans and deliver on fan expectations. Arguably, first-party data gathered online makes hybrid audiences more valuable, whether to the event organisers or companies they line up as event sponsors.
A hybrid concert is a perfect solution for many artists and music lovers – it helps to maintain revenue streams for musicians and their teams. It also allows fans who love the live experience to join the show in person, with all the right safety precautions, while letting fans who want to still experience the event but can’t join attend physically to participate as well.
Is a hybrid show the next big thing for the music industry? We will find that out!