After the pandemic put a pause on the music industry’s iconic live performances last March, many musicians began to wonder when a return to the stage might become a reality.
Instead of in-person concerts, several musicians have resorted to live streaming their performances to return to the stage. These performances are broadcast on various platforms, such as Instagram Live, YouTube, even Fortnite. At this time, this is the only option for artists to continue performing live safely.
But, even when musicians can perform in person again, data shows they must continue to stream their performances live for fans.
Live streaming became a phenomenon in 2015 when platforms like Periscope entered the social media realm. Live-streamed concerts have quickly grown in popularity with music events like Coachella attracting millions of views. Other online concerts like Dua Lipa’s concert in November, which drew 5 million viewers, and the broadcast of BTS’ “Bang Bang Con: The Live” concert, which broke the Guinness World Record for live concert most-watched, continuously show that live viewership only increased during the pandemic.
Fans are clearly eager to see their favorite musicians take to the stage and return to normal, even through a screen. And where there are fans, there is profit.
Monetized live streams have helped parts of the music industry recover from nearly $10 billion in lost revenue after live music went offline. Ticketed live-streamed events have racked up over $500 million in 2020 with expected growth through 2021. One group that has benefited from the sitting money pool is BTS, which alone has generated $20-35 million. dollars from each of their concerts.
Even smaller performers have been able to profit from live streaming, earning thousands of dollars in tips and donations from loyal fans. Through live streams, artists gained more from their small audiences than they ever would through in-person tours.
Audiences can also save money by attending live streams instead of live shows. Without the need to travel, transportation, room and board costs are no longer an obstacle for fans who want to see their favorite musicians perform. By hosting concerts online, artists can share their performances with fans around the world, making their show more accessible to the public.
In these uncertain times, it’s hard to predict what the future of concerts will look like. K-pop group MONSTA X will be the first artist to hold an in-person concert broadcast live digitally on March 6-7. This event could set a precedent for how concerts work after the pandemic, if artists follow the data.