Will livestreams replace live music?

A survey by Bandsintown shows livestreams will still be popular even after gigs are back.

We can’t wait for live gigs to return after seemingly endless pandemic restrictions. However, a recent survey by concert recommendation platform Bandsintown showed that the world opening up again doesn’t necessarily mean that livestreams will be a forgotten relic of the COVID era.

Livestreams have been a lifeline for musicians during a year of lockdowns, offering a way to connect with fans whilst gigs have been out of bounds. In March 2020 Bandsintown began promoting livestreams on the platform, a change from previously only tracking forthcoming live concerts. Just over a year later and the platform has marketed over 79,500 livestreams played by more than 22,000 artists.

The latest survey of artists and fans by Bandsintown reveals livestreaming is here for the long haul. Over 50% of fans surveyed said they’d continue to watch livestreams after in-person shows are back, and 85% of artists said they’d keep playing livestreamed shows.

Of fans surveyed, over the past year:

  • 86% watched one or more music livestreams
  • 31% watched over seven shows
  • 62% watched a paid-for live stream
  • 55% will keep livestreaming once concerts return

Of artists surveyed, over the past year:

  • 70% have played a livestream gig
  • 41% now livestream more than once a month
  • 85% will continue livestreaming even once they can play live

Image Credit: Bandsintown

The most interesting part of the stats is the continuing appeal of livestreaming. Musicians may perhaps have enjoyed the closer connection to fans; the convenience of hitting the live button versus organising a gig; the reduced costs. Fans, too, like the ease of not having to physically attend a gig. A livestream lets people experience a gig they wouldn’t otherwise be able to attend due to geographical, monetary or accessibility restraints, and stumble upon new acts.

It’s hard to imagine fans preferring to stream a virtual event on their devices, on the sofa they’ve spent the past year stuck on, over seeing a live band. The survey doesn’t touch on the option of streaming a live gig for the benefit of fans watching at home as well as in the venue.

However, artists are clearly enjoying exploring the benefits of livestreaming their performances, which offer the potential to reach new fans – and the fans themselves are keen to keep enjoying access to their favourite musicians in a more intimate setting.

I write about music for RouteNote, sharing fun stuff, news, and tips and tricks for musicians and producers. Also a saxophonist and hater of marmalade.

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