Online Concerts Allow Artists, Fans to Stay Connected

Musicians build community through online platforms

Dua Lipa performed “Don’t Start Now” with her dancers and bandmates through video chat on The Late Late Show with James Corden.

Bernadette Whitely

Dua Lipa performed “Don’t Start Now” with her dancers and bandmates through video chat on The Late Late Show with James Corden.

The COVID-19 outbreak has caused mass cancelations of tours, concerts, and festivals, negatively affecting artists, big or small. However, by continuing to connect with their fans through online concerts and live-streamed music, artists are making the best out of their situations and providing hope for others. While many large artists have been able to host online concerts, smaller artists are struggling to do the same with limited technology and resources. Yet any effort from artists to connect through online platforms is crucial because it allows people to find joy and solace during this stressful time.

Stars like John Legend and Coldplay’s Chris Martin have helped launch a series of online concerts called “Together at Home,” which are supported by Global Citizen, an annual music festival started in 2012 and organized by the Global Poverty Project. Charlie Puth, Niall Horan, and Hozier also took part in the series. Additionally, Elton John hosted the iHeart Living Room Concert for America, featuring performers including Billie Eilish and Alicia Keys, who performed from their homes.

Although many of these large artists have taken part in online concerts and live-streams, online concerts are not a realistic option for many smaller musicians. Brian Olson, Upper School Music Teacher, explains the difficulties of online concerts stating, “It is really hard. Artists are doing whatever they can to connect whether they are streaming old shows or sets. The more successful and bigger artists have better home studios so you can be producing professional sets at home.” Olson goes on to explain geographical and technological barriers: “For instance, bands whose members don’t all live in the same place don’t have the set up to try to do recordings together and there is actually no good way to record online together.” Oftentimes, for smaller musicians, releasing new music, putting on live, in-person concerts, and touring is their main source of income. Without these opportunities, many musicians are struggling. Olson describes these new challenges: “There is a spontaneity and intimacy to the concerts that are being produced on a small scale. Artists and musicians thrive on the interaction with an audience.” Online concerts separate the artist and their supporters, making it harder for artists to connect with their audience and experience their fans’ reactions.

Despite these challenges, music can provide some relief during this stressful time. Olson states, “People thrive on listening to music. There is power in music that brings people together and there is power in music that can be comforting. Being able to break that quiet and silence and see someone actually make music is really important.” Music serves as a universal language connecting different people, while also providing hope and relief to those who need it.

On April 18, a series of artists including Lady Gaga, Paul McCartney, Billie Eilish, Kacey Musgraves, Lizzo, and more hosted an online concert with the help of “Together at Home,” supported by Global Citizen. This online concert was live-streamed on many platforms, which made it available to lots of people. During this online concert, a strong sense of community was clear as the songs chosen resonated with common emotions that people are feeling in this time of uncertainty.

Through online concerts, artists have been able to continue working, performing, and connecting with their audiences, lifting up those around them, and fostering community. Online concerts provide a resource for fans to watch, listen, and support their favorite artists while staying safe at home. If you are interested in attending an online concert, there are many resources available on social media platforms including YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. The Minnesota Orchestra is also hosting online concerts. Additionally, many artists have been featured on The Late Late Show with James Corden while performing from home.