Are Social Media Livestreams the Future of Music? 

While fears of the future due to the pandemic are slowly subsiding and the return to “normal” seems closer than ever, one thing most industries can agree on is the pandemic changing how many core industries operate. In the case of the music industry, a large hole was left in entertainment for both performers and fans when concerts were being cancelled left and right with no near return in sight. However, a more inclusive solution emerged with social media livestreams. 

Performers of all genres took to social media to comfort fans and lift the global spirit with a variety of livestreams. Some small and intimate, some large, concert-like productions, some free, and some paid, there was truly something for everyone and they were more popular than originally predicted. Prime example being KPOP global superstars, BTS, hosting their online concert, Map of the Soul ON:E, with a record-breaking 993,000 paid viewers from a total of 191 regions with an estimated revenue of $20 million. While it didn’t mend the hole left by in-person entertainment, it certainly was a welcomed window to a new way we can stay connected. 

Now being recognized as the future of music, social media platforms such as Twitch, Youtube, and Instagram have seen anywhere between 70-526% increase in livestream viewership throughout the pandemic. Some of the notable differences between these livestreams and in-person concerts: interactivity -- for smaller performances, like pioneer, Erykah Badu, her audience got to choose her setlist and setting for each of her performances. For larger audiences, like Music Festivals, many implemented interactive 360° and AR elements, and highlighted and interacted with fans throughout the show, an unlikely case scenario in normal concerts. They also give access to fans who economically could not support their favorite artists in-person prior due to high ticket prices, while many Instagram livestream concerts remain free, larger, concert-like productions, are only charging on average around $30-50 which can still be an investment for some, but is a significantly cheaper alternative to the real deal. 

In terms of evolving the industry, this is still a new and growing concept which comes with less profitability in the beginning, but is expected to continue in our new normal. The important factor is it shows the demand is there by the audiences and it is a new possibility for the music industry to continue exploring.


Written By: MaKenzie Hall

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