Before the coronavirus changed lives forever, everybody used to go out. Go out to the movies, to the concerts, to those small events that promoters put on to promote the talent and of course, the DJ parties that were live and off-the-hook.

These were the places you’d go to escape your troubles whether it’s the world or some 14 year old think he or she owns the place on the internet. It was that sense of escapism that made going out what it was and it was the thing that kept people sane…

Then the coronavirus hit and events started to get rescheduled/canceled left and right. The coronavirus has unfortunately revealed the shady nature of the entertainment business, you got Ticketmaster refusing to give refunds so they can keep all the money, you got promoters wanting $100 for 10 minutes of IG live time and you got the industry dealing with the emerging threat that is the newfound independence and technology available to host concerts from the comfort of your home.

I admit, I was stressed when I couldn’t go to events anymore just like the rest of the populace. It was the experience of the show and the fact that you could talk to interesting people that I was losing out on but as I went on various IG livestreams, I found out that this isn’t a setback; it’s more of a new beginning.

With everybody forced into their homes, people have been using Instagram, Twitch, YouTube and some other solutions to bring their performances to the masses. Some of them are DJ sets or sneak peaks while others are full-blown performances and the best part about it is that you can basically do anything you want as if you owned the place.

And the best part about it is that people are happy that they can both see their artist and they can see the artist is happy as well.

Take for instance Talib Kweli’s 90’s live party where he played rap music from the 90’s. It was active, engaging, well mixed and everybody was enjoying themselves; including Talib Kweli who I’ve never seen smile in his entire life. As the night went on, the cuts went deeper, the stream got more intimate and even Martin Lawrence made an appearance which officially made it the best party in modern history.

Then there’s people like DJ Battlecat who don’t get as much views but enjoy what they do… It was very interesting to see how much different the west coast is from the east coast, like very laid back with lots of deep cuts and joints. For the entirety of the live, I imagined I was in Los Angeles just rolling down Crenshaw Blvd.

It’s a known fact that everybody has their own aesthetic and style but when you’re in somebody’s live, it’s like you’re getting a chance to understand that person since these moments are often intimate. When you see the person in his natural habit, the walls between image and reality begin to diminish and you start to emphasize with the artist as a real human being which potentially makes the artist more attractive to the random viewer watching these livestreams. In concerts/events/parties, the main appeal is that you get to see this artist perform life but the main appeal with livestreaming is that everybody can see the artist in his rawest, purest form.

The fact you can bring anybody on a live is impressive in itself, it amplifies not only your audience but allows for cross pollination between fanbases and the best part about it is that anybody can do it. It can be as simple as bringing somebody on your live or it can be as complex as bringing 5 or 6 acts either in a lineup or at once… While it’s not as easy to bring 5 or 6 people into a livestream that’s going to be broadcast to millions of people thanks to technical and bandwidth limitations, it’s a glorious achievement if you can manage to do it. Not only does it provide variety but it also gives the chance for the people involved in the stream to do their own stuff and their own stuff is pretty impressive to say the least. For the livestreaming platforms that offer up livestreaming for free, it’s an impressive look into the future.

However, there are bound to be lots of people who will charge regular ticket prices for shows only for people to be disappointed when they find unprofessionalism and dishonesty on the livestream. For you to charge for a show, you have to be offering an experience that can’t be replicated; money is the most valuable thing we have and people are careful with money so if you’re promising the best show on earth, you gotta deliver. Most of the time I see shows where it’s just them in various rooms with lots of technical difficulties and no sense of satisfaction whatsoever. To people like them, these concerts aren’t a way to connect with the audience, they’re a way to make money. Thankfully a lot of these livestreams are free and open and for the culture and the ones where the artist is the most open with themselves are often the best ones.

Unfortunately the problems that plague the entertainment industry are starting to creep up with live streaming and there’s the debate on whether it should be offered for free or monetized to make as much money as they possibly can. I personally think it should be free so that the experience can be shared for everybody; paying for shows does not mean you’re going to get the best experience, sure you’re supporting the artist but where is the money going exactly? I’m sure it’s going towards supporting the lavish lifestyle of the artist and I’m pretty sure it’s going towards another Lamborghini. With it being free, it’s a huge benefit since everything you do supports the culture. You get to embrace the culture, you get to learn about the culture and you get a rewarding feeling out of the livestream; sure you didn’t get noticed by the artist this time but there’s always next time right?

Livestreaming is the future but the future can always be murky. When the coronavirus is over we’ll slowly return to paying money to see artists where only the front row matters if you want to get noticed, we’ll slowly get back to treating celebrities like celebrities and not like real people and we’ll slowly become more exclusive than inclusive. That’s why livestreaming needs to get to the level of professional concert, that’s why livestreaming shouldn’t get discarded, that’s why I think every paid concert should have a livestream.

I would love to see a Jay-Z/Beyonce concert livestreamed, I would love to see my local hole in the wall’s concert livestreamed and I would love it if everybody didn’t treat livestreaming as a commidity anymore. The software’s getting more advanced, the technology’s getting cheaper and the number of people who can do livestreams has been growing at an exponential rate thanks to twitch. We cannot ignore the power of livestreaming, we cannot ignore the happiness that has been provided because of the livestreams and we certainly can’t be afraid of the future.

So I say that livestreams are the future of entertainment because it allows people to be as free as they want to be. Nobody has to worry about venues, nobody has to worry about who gets paid and all that and nobody has to worry about whether or not people are enjoying themselves. To everybody, livestreaming is the opportunity to open up a club/concert venue/bar of your very own and if you’re not doing it already then what’s stopping you?

Livestreaming is where the future is at

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T. Karras

Musician/Hip-Hop fanatic/writer for Nodball and half geek, half street.

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