Virtual concerts are a rising trend

Fans of new-age artistes and event managers tell Nausheen Fazal the pros and cons of digital performances
Last Updated : 22 June 2024, 01:29 IST

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During Covid-19, big concerts and music festivals were postponed. Consequently, virtual concerts saw a sharp rise in popularity. The purpose of online concerts was to maintain audience engagement. The stage design possibilities were endless, thanks to augmented reality. 

The K-pop band SHINee (SM Entertainment) reinvented virtual concerts in Seoul during the pandemic. Artistes from across the world have held concerts on platforms such as Fortnite, Wave and Roblox. American rappers Travis Scott and Lil Nas X gained a viewership of 45.8 million and 37 million viewers respectively. American singer Ariana Grande had 27 million attendees. 

Concert films

In 2023, when the K-pop band BTS’s ‘Yet to come’ concert film was streamed in theatres, fans of the band popularly called ‘Army’ attended the show in large numbers. The tickets were priced at Rs 1,400. The show was in 4DX and theatres were fully booked in India. Sanjivani and Neha Beno, two BTS fans said “I’ve attended two such virtual concerts and it’s always a fun experience because you are surrounded by people who are as excited as you are. I love how virtual concerts can break the wall between people who cannot afford to attend the live concerts. But being a part of a huge crowd would be a different experience altogether.”

The Taylor Swift Eras Tour last year became popular among the fans of the singer across the world. Swift hasn’t performed in India so far. So the Eras Tour Concert film gave an opportunity to many fans to be a part of the show. Jhalak Puri, a fan of Swift who attended the show said, “I loved it. Being there felt like I was at the actual concert.” Jhalak who even made friends at the theatre said, “Just like any other concert, even a virtual concert can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It can be seen as a better alternative and consumes less effort, time and money.” She looks forward to attending more such concerts.

Artiste connection

Sarthak Mehta, a resident of Indore prefers live concerts. “Audiences will have a direct connection with the artistes,” he added, also saying, “Some fans want to enjoy low key and some want to have a banger.”

Pramod Gowda who oversees and executes pre-production activities for P B studios thinks the concept of virtual concerts is a great idea. “It’s an easy way to meet the audience’s needs, increase revenue, and it even requires less work,” he added.

“When we plan musical performances, we would coordinate with the guitarist and tabla player, oversee the process, and make sure everything is ready before the crowd shows up. A performance is not complete unless you truly witness and experience the emotions of watching someone perform live,” he opined.

However, Pramod also thinks a virtual concert is a compromise. “It’s easy for us to book a theatre and play a pre-recorded concert. But live editing is a highly challenging task if live concerts are to be played. There are a lot of dos and don’ts to remember, and we should be extremely careful.” 

Published 22 June 2024, 01:29 IST

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