There's no doubt about it, virtual experiences have become an increasingly normal aspect of our lives - we can't seem to escape them however hard we may try. But music as an art form, and as an avenue of escapism and self-expression, is harder to capture in digital worlds. Can it be done successfully?
Digital behaviours are embedded in culture. As the impact of the pandemic caused virtual events to soar in popularity, and as screen time increased around the world, more and more people attended virtual events and are now used to experiencing IRL goings-on digitally. But the real test will be seeing if post-pandemic these types of events stick around, and how brands leverage this to appeal to people who have varied expectations around what fun looks like in the ‘new normal’.
In the world of music, Apple Music is launching a live streaming feature where people can live stream concerts from major artists - all at no extra cost to subscribers. But can the allure of spectacle events still draw in cautious crowds? As three in four people aged 18-54 are excited to return to concerts IRL, there's a tension between catering to the hunger for post-pandemic fun and people that still feel anxious about crowd-filled spaces.
Glastonbury, Coachella and other music festivals have been broadcast on streaming platforms for years. But as live entertainment was a sector to take one of the biggest hits during the pandemic, many players were forced to go virtual or risk missing out on a slice of the pie. Music is an important aspect of society, with 90% of people listening to music on average 32.1 hours a week. But as cautious behaviours persist, hybrid offerings can aid in-person musical events while catering to those who prefer to watch the action from the comfort of their sofas.