As is the case for many of us, Spotify is an active part of our day-to-day lives. Whilst trawling for new music on the streaming giant, I was met by an advertisement for a Black Keys live event, streaming next week. I was gripped by the idea of watching a great band play live from my sofa; that was until I saw the £15 price tag. Perhaps a reasonable fee given the acclaimed status of the band? A price so low, up-and-coming acts would likely scoff at playing for such pitiful fiscal return. However, spending 15 hundred of my pennies on a live gig viewed via screen – when I could easily find the artist’s best gig on YouTube – was a little too rich for my blood.
The live music purists amongst us, will likely be nauseated by the idea of such futuristic ventures, blaming the COVID-19 pandemic for single-handedly destroying live music. Love it or hate, change happens and progress is made. There has never been a time in history where the world has shared such unilateral change than during the last year and a half, and for the active hard-touring bands, live-streaming shows at a cost, makes unsettling sense.
If you want to see the freshest performances of the newest music, what easier way to access it than through live-streaming shows?! With that said, it certainly pisses on the strawberries of diehard fans who are willing to pay above the odds to be one of the first to see new songs performed in person. It does, however, open up bands to new fans, who would not have realised the talents of an artist had it not been through a swift introduction from social media or live-streaming services.
Will this change the future of live gigs? Possibly not. Will it have an impact on how well-established bands present themselves to the masses? Almost certainly, yes. There will be resentment along the way, but changes are inevitable. Pay-to-stream gigs have the potential to help bands turn a quick buck at very short notice, and allow legendary bands to continue to tour despite the blights of age.
We probably didn’t think our entire music catalogue would go on to be held entirely in a handheld device, yet here we are. Don’t hate the player, hate the game.