Why the internet will never replace live music | Features | MN2S

With live streaming and music videos dominating our bandwidths, we look at why the internet will never replace live music.

With all aspects of our daily lives moving online and increased access to live streaming and online music videos, we have to wonder if the internet is taking over from live music as the dominant medium for experiencing live performances.

Luckily, as we are pleased to hear at the MN2S booking agency, live music is still more prominent than ever, and audiences and musicians alike are still experiencing great live performances around the world.

Digital discovery

Since the launch of YouTube in 2006, thousands of people have uploaded videos of themselves singing, playing instruments or mixing. Some of the most successful pop artists of today were discovered after music industry executives saw them playing in online videos. Justin Bieber’s multi-million-selling pop career (and recent forays into pop/electronic) started when record executive Scooter Braun watched videos of a thirteen year old Bieber performing r&b covers on YouTube.

Because of this state of affairs, it is no longer necessary for artists to spend time honing their performance skills in clubs and venues around the country in hope of being scouted in the traditional way. However, it doesn’t seem likely that the internet will actually replace this more traditional method of being discovered. TV talent shows, which similarly allow artists to skip the local live performing aspect of their career path, have so far failed to majorly disrupt the system, producing relatively few successful acts in relation to how many show winners there have been.

And even when an artist is discovered in a talent show or on the internet, they immediately focus their attention on creating a live show that will attract huge crowds and please fans around the world, meaning their non-live discovery has only led to more live music.

Live streaming concerts does not replace the real thing

Artists are live streaming their concerts to fans more frequently than ever. Kanye West’s recent album launch at Madison Square Garden reached so many viewers that Tidal’s servers couldn’t handle it. And on the eve of the Superbowl, Metallica and Usher both live streamed free concerts to their fans around the globe.

But despite this, it does not seem that live music is likely to be eclipsed by the internet. All of the live streams in question were still attended by huge numbers of fans, and the experience of a live concert stream is nowhere near as powerful or exciting as attending an actual concert. And music fans know this. The latest figures show that attendance to gigs and festivals in the UK rose by over 5 million between 2011 and 2014, showing that music fans in the UK still massively value the live experience, even if they do stream concerts online.

It’s all about the music, but it’s also about the money

Thousands of artists, such as everyone on the MN2S live music roster, enjoy playing live and pride themselves on putting on fantastic shows for their dedicated fans. But even if they didn’t, there is a financial incentive for artists to perform live as much as they can. As we have seen, musicians do not make money from streaming. Instead, the vast majority of an artist’s income comes from live music revenue.

Because of this, live streaming of concerts will never eclipse actual concert tours. Bringing a concert directly to the fans is preferable to audience and artist for financial reasons as well as reasons of entertainment.

Going online does not replace going offline

It goes without saying that having an online presence is very important for a musician of any kind in the 21st century. Whether this is maintained through live streaming massive concerts, uploading performance videos or simply interacting with fans on social media. But no matter how important this is, it will never be more important than having a real world presence in people’s lives. Live sets from great DJs and live performances from great bands or singers are truly valuable experiences that can never be replaced. And as long as people listen to music, they will want to see their favourite artists in the flesh. In the digital world, live music is no less important. If anything, thanks to the exposure the internet brings listeners to a wide range of artists from all genres and eras, live music is more important and more popular than ever.

Banner image: MercyMe by susieq3c via Flickr used under C.C. 2.0

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