With major music festivals such as Coachella, Glastonbury, and Ultra all being cancelled this year, festival circuit veterans have been left wondering how they will get their fix in the summer of 2020. However, all is not lost. A number of top musical acts have already been experimented with live-streaming technology to deliver virtual live music experiences to their fans, often with great success.
To cite just one example, the pop icon Lady Gaga recently held a virtual music festival with some of the top names in music, including Elton John, The Rolling Stones, Celine Dion, Jennifer Lopez, and Paul McCartney, with millions of people tuning in and donating money.
There is little doubt that festival organisers were paying close attention to Gaga's gambit, in order to gauge whether there is any hope for viable virtual music festivals this summer. Let's take a close look to see whether the summer of 2020 will truly be the year of the virtual music festival.
Are Livestream Festivals Viable in 2020?
The biggest question that artists and organisers will be pondering over is whether a live-streaming festival could actually work and whether people would pay attention. For this, there are plenty of encouraging precedents. Despite being a relative niche section of the entertainment industry just a few short years ago, today live streaming is a prominent part of all entertainment sectors and is responsible for billions of dollars in annual revenue.
One could look at the runaway success of Livestream gaming as an example, which has generated countless celebrities with millions of fans who sign up to watch them play games live on YouTube or Twitch. One could also look at the multi-billion-dollar online casino industry, which has attracted new fans with their utilization of live-streaming technology to replicate the Las Vegas experience with live dealer titles such as blackjack, poker, and roulette.
On the music side, live-streaming has made major strides in recent years, with significant milestones including Beyonce's 2-hour live-streamed Coachella set in 2018, which broke records as one of the most widely-watched musical events in history.
Virtual Festivals Already in the Works
The prospect of a live-streamed summer of music seems increasingly likely when you look at some of the virtual festivals that are already in the works for 2020. Electric Daisy Carnival, Ultra Festival, and Creamfields have already committed to hosting live-stream versions of their festivals, with the promise that the real deal will go ahead when conditions allow for it.
In addition, the electronic music collective Boiler Room, as well as the singers Miley Cyrus, Christine and the Queens, and Lil Nas X are all planning virtual live-stream concerts over the course of the summer.
Many of these will be free to watch, while others will either charge a small fee or request that you make a donation to support the workers making the virtual experiences possible. As summer draws closer and closer, it seems increasingly likely that the number of virtual festivals will keep on growing.
Alternatives to Live-Streaming
Of course, live-streaming isn't the only game in town, as other artists have already demonstrated. The pop singer Charlie XCX recently held a full-length concert via the online game Minecraft, while the rapper Travis Scott recently held a virtual gig of his own via the online combat game Fortnite, receiving rave reviews for his performance.
Other artists are simply rushing to release their albums earlier than planned, in order to give their fans something to enjoy. However, on the flip side, some artists, such as Lady Gaga, have postponed their albums until the commercial climate becomes more amenable. It's clear that artists and organisers are responding to festival cancellations with creativity, and are trying anything to keep fans on board.
So, will summer 2020 be remembered as the summer of the live-stream? Watch this space to find out.