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Without being too on the nose, 2020 was a rough year for the music industry. The glorious feeling of suspense just before the music begins to play – signalling the arrival of the main act – is a thing of the past. Post-concert blues have been replaced by the consistent blues of lockdown. Live music truly suffered in every sense of the word – concerts and festivals alike.
In the place of these in-person performances, some artists have turned to online shows. Touring and performing is a large part of an artist’s life as well as providing income. Many big names such as Dua Lipa and Gorillaz live-streamed concerts to homes all around the globe. Entry (if you can call it that) came at a small fee. Gorillaz ‘Live From Kong’ was £15 for a star-studded performance and gave watchers the chance to hear their favourite tracks from Song Machine performed live for the first time. It was my first online ‘live’ concert and I was thoroughly impressed but then again, I can’t say I was surprised by the high quality when you have Damon Albarn at the helm!
However, as I sat in front of my laptop screen with slowthai throwing himself about, I couldn’t help but feel an ounce of sadness. This sadness followed me as I explored live concerts of other artists I like. Videos online of Radiohead performing at Glastonbury or highlights from an Arctic Monkeys concert. Shaky videos stored on my phone from when I saw Ninja Sex Party or The Band CAMINO. Online concerts are great but, as mentioned in the first paragraph, the feeling of an in-person concert is unmatched. The pure electric energy of being crammed together in awe of a performer. Screaming lyrics and jumping around to all the songs you know and even the ones you don’t. Paying obscene prices for merchandise you could probably make yourself. Being unable to hear much the following day but still absolutely buzzing. Just the simple notion of being in the same room as a performer which you paid more money than was perhaps sensible to see. A concert is more than music, lights, and dancing; a concert is all about the emotions. It is sad to say that online performances just don’t fulfill this aspect.
It is important to acknowledge the positives though. Online concerts are a cheaper way for us to support and watch our artists. ‘Live at Kong’ was £15 which is quite a good price compared to Gorillaz live concert tickets (starting at £55.) Forbes found that in September 2020, there were 400 million people paying for streaming services which is 100 million more than in 2019. There is no denying we have all turned to music in this trying time so if we have the time and pennies, then maybe we should start attending these online performances. The lights and special effects are typically incredible with artists wanting to give the best show they can. You get to support the performers you love while watching a pretty snazzy show. What else would you be doing with your night in lockdown?