Sitting here listening/watching Andy Zipf stream a live acoustic performance, I can’t help but see the future of concerts so clearly. I’ve known on paper, like a lot of people, that streaming live shows was in the cards, just a matter of time and technology. However, once you experience a performance that you wouldn’t have otherwise been able to and once you experience the instant interaction, you can’t help but feel like the internet’s potential is finally catching up to the last 100 years worth of music.
Using Twitter as the communication line between performer and audience may or may not be the absolute best option, but it does work beautifully. With means to be able to easily see the same replies the performer is receiving, how much of the audience is participating, and instantly bring in other followers is the next level of concert going. Twitter use isn’t absent from current concerts, but it’s more of a one way street. You stand there, take a picture and post to Twitter that you’re at the concert. People see the post and respond with “Cool,” or maybe a question, but that’s it. When you’re watching someone break in-between songs, look at a device and answer questions, suddenly you become part of a group that’s connecting and interacting together.
Let me jump ahead and counter what purists may argue, that attending a streaming concert is not the same as being there live. I agree, it’s not exactly the same as being in the same room being able to feel the drum beating, but it’s really close. Streaming concerts is like the group date. You’re able to get an idea of what to expect from the artist, how they sound live, without the extra travel time and expense. After seeing a live streaming concert, you’re going to know right away whether you’re going out to the club to see the artist next time they tour through your town. Just like after that group date, you’re going to know whether asking that girl out is really a good idea or not. With streaming concerts you definitely get less reward than being in the same room, but there’s also a lot less risk, and so it balances out.
What about the next logical step and charging for live concert streams and producing revenue rather than using it as a promotional tool? It’s not here yet, but again, after you experience some form of live streaming show, you begin to see how you might be willing to pay $5 for the opportunity to sit on the couch, or in my case, hold my 3 month old baby while she settles down and falls asleep. The time will come when bands tour virtually or stream each stop on the tour, it’s just a matter of time and technology.