Will virtual concerts replace live gigs? - Hindustan Times

Will virtual concerts replace live gigs?

Hindustan Times | By
Dec 24, 2020 07:21 PM IST

2020 saw the rise in popularity of virtual concerts, which at one point during the year was the only way musicians could perform Live. Yet, as the popularity for virtual concerts grows, musicians discuss missing the energy and the crazy rush of a performance in front of a live audience.

Ever since the crisis began across the globe due to the pandemic this year, the concept of live shows and concerts came to a grinding halt. But, thanks to technology, musicians discovered the concept of performing live over the Internet, and slowly became good at it.

Although musicians have embraced the concept of virtual gigs, they insist nothing can replace the experience of a live concert.
Although musicians have embraced the concept of virtual gigs, they insist nothing can replace the experience of a live concert.

“There has been a lot of progress in terms of tools to help facilitate virtual concerts. It started out as just regular zoom call concerts, which are still common, but now there are also studios set up with state-of-the-art production and streaming services that allow us to perform with concert level audio and lighting,” says singer-songwriter Jonita Gandhi.

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A new, if not better, alternative to perform in front of a live audience. virtual gigs slowly became a popular choice for many artistes, who, like the rest of the world, were locked inside their homes. But, not only were they able to perform live, they were also able to expand their fanbase.

“Online concerts have been a great platform to showcase new music. Artistes can present their art while sitting at home. I’ve personally heard some great songs by indie artists on a social media live sessions and have hence searched for that song on streaming platforms. I’m pretty sure there are other people who do or did that too,” says singer-songwriter Rohan Solomon.


It opens up a world full of endless possibilities for the music industry and artistes, who feel they can connect with people across the globe at the same time and perform in front of a variety of crowd. “My Instagram-based live shows got a response so unreal, that I would’ve never imagined building this kind of a connection with my audiences just through online shows,” says DJ Sumit Sethi.

And rightly so, many believe that the concept of virtual concerts is here to stay, even after the pandemic is over. “People will keep innovating and the technology will continue to evolve making the digital concerts a lot more engaging and fun than what they are at the moment,” says Varun Rajput, the guitar player for Antariksh.

Yet, despite the increasing number of virtual concerts, musicians admit missing the adrenaline rush of performing in front of jam-packed crowds and being on the road. “I feel the whole purpose of a concert is where there is a direct two-way energy shared between the performer and audience, and thus, an emotional connect between both,” says electronic musician Sartek.

“While I’ve done selective digital concerts during this time and even though virtual performances are the only safe alternative at the moment, they don’t feel as good as an actual live performance,” says singer-songwriter Armaan Malik.


Bengaluru based band Peepal Tree’s drummer Willy Demoz feels it will take a while, but, “live gigs will come back”. “People will still go and watch bands at the venues as there’s no real substitute for that!” he adds.

And yes, live shows are coming back, slowly. But not in the same way. “Social distancing is the new norm. [So,] the original concert experience will be hampered. [For instance,] You won’t be able to figure who your fellow concert goer is, thanks to the masks that are now an essential part of one’s wardrobe,” says the vocalist, guitar player and founder of the Dubai rock act Point of View, Nikhil Uzagre adding that “one has to go with what fits the times.”

Interact with the author on Twitter/@sammysamarth

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