Streaming For Vengeance
|Written by:||omne metallum|
Much like nearly every other industry in the world, the music industry has been blindsided and taken a heavy blow as a result of Covid-19, with artists finding one of their main sources of income brought to a standstill in physical concerts and their second stream, merchandise, reeling from the effects of a financially worried audience. Concert-going fans have suddenly seen their calendars emptied; where previous, weeks and months all led to 'that gig', now we find ourselves going through an enforced withdrawal, waiting for that day our favourite artists hit the stage once again.
It is to this point that some enterprising artists, labels and festivals have tried to plug the gap in both all our calendars and their own wallets with the use of livestreamed concerts. Where before the audience had to travel to the venue, queue up with ticket in hand and stake out a prime spot after browsing the merch stand, now you just have to turn on your computer and click play. It is a big adjustment to make, from a world where live videos would whet your appetite for the main course to now being the full meal; it is no surprise many are hungry for the real deal to return.
Watching the European Metal Alliance stream was a substitute for waking up hungover in my tent, which has been my tradition ever since I began attending Bloodstock Open Air many years ago; while I ensured the hangovers and loud music remained, switching up and having a clean toilet and better-priced food were other elements that changed alongside not being in a field with several thousand other like-minded metalheads. As striking up casual conversation with somebody in the crowd was replaced by chat boxes and someone tall blocking your view was replaced by a buffering stream, it made for an interesting weekend.
Being able to enjoy a range of artists both familiar and new (Dead Lord and Parasite Inc. are some newfound gems for me) that I would have otherwise been unlikely to watch was a big plus, given some rarely tour round my neck of the woods or I would not have discovered them had it not been for these streams. Bands can now reach an audience far easier, requiring them just to click a button to get a good taste of their live shows, rather than put any actual effort in.
It is ironic, then, that one of the main arguments thrown against many in the business side of the industry in the last two decades has now been turned against those who have readily accused others of it, namely, clutching onto a past and not embracing change. Where record labels were slow to adapt to the rise of the digital age and dug their heels in on physical media, we are now in a time (hopefully temporary) where physical concerts are unviable from both a public health and financial stand point. It is then we must ask ourselves, do we cling onto our past and wait out this drought and watch the industry we love die with a whimper, or do we see livestreams as a potential holding pattern for now?
I myself find my thoughts drift between the two; having watched many livestreams during the lockdown to try and fill that void that gigs once filled, I find them both entertaining and self-defeating. Though they fill the void, they end up digging the hole that bit deeper and have me wishing gigs could return sooner. Hearing your favourite artists on a screen is not the same as experiencing them in the flesh, but something is better than nothing.
I fully understand those who are unwilling to try this new medium, given that it is a far cry from the real experience; had you asked me this question hypothetically last year I would not have picked a livestream over a physical concert. As good as some of these streams are (the chance to see Trivium play otherwise rare tracks was a good twist to me), they just don't scratch that itch.
The main point we need to remember in all of this is that these are tough times for artists, venues and everyone involved in the live music industry. While I may find livestreams a bitter second choice to physical concerts, if it helps bands ride out this storm so that they may be in a position to return when the world is back to some semblance of normality, then it will have to do. If forking out some cash to watch a stream is done through clenched teeth, it is a small price to pay in the long run. Even if you aren't swayed by livestreaming, if you are wondering what to do with that extra money you would have spent on gig tickets then perhaps now is that time to buy that t-shirt you've had your eye on for awhile, and if you're feeling particularly flush, go for that hoodie as well; that bit of money can go a long way for some artists.
It is to all this that I will keep watching livestreams as long as is necessary to help combat efforts to beat Covid-19; the only disease I want to be spreading is the Anthrax album.
PollDo you enjoy livestreams?
Yes, but only until gigs return
Some are ok, some have been crap
Total votes: 17
||Written on 05.09.2020 by Just because I don't care doesn't mean I'm not listening.|
Comments: 10 Visited by: 46 users
|Enemy of Reality
Hits total: 1428 | This month: 8