Together In Isolation – Live Streaming Is Here To Stay

The COVID-19 pandemic has had some unexpected consequences, one of them being the sudden growth of live streaming as a way to connect performers and audiences during the period of physical distancing.
All musicians, dancers, theatre artists and other performers long for the return of the days of live audiences, but even when the lockdown ends, it seems unlikely that live streaming will vanish along with our N95 face masks. It’s a relatively inexpensive way for musicians to keep in touch with fans, and the intimate atmosphere has proven popular with many audiences.
If live streaming is here to stay, however, there are still some hurdles to be overcome. When it comes to live music streaming technology and attitudes are still very much – under construction.

Mass Migration
As the music industry has migrated to streaming, and CD and even download sales have plummeted, touring has become critical to financial success. Indie music acts that depend on gigs for cash flow are being crushed by the current crisis and shutdown of music venues. Some have offered to create mini concerts for their fans to be shared exclusively via social media channels for a small sum. Music venues are also starting to livestream entire spring concert series. Jazz singer Cecile McLorin Salvant is currently performing concerts from her living room with payments made through Venmo.

Collaboration between artists and media organizations have exploded since the pandemic, to not only galvanize efforts to support those impacted by COVID-19, but also to connect those feeling isolated. The star-studded virtual online concert “One World: Together at Home” by Global Citizen and the World Health Organization drew nearly 21 million viewers across networks and raised $12.7 million for health care workers and COVID-19 relief efforts.

What this means for the Specialized Project
The Specialized Project has lost thousands in income particularly due to gig cancellation. On May the 3rd 2020 we broadcast ‘ISOFEST’ a twelve our virtual festival featuring musicians from across the globe. Its exactly this global identity that Specialised enjoys that we wish to explore. We could enable ska fans access to live performances by bands that they wouldn’t normally be aware of or at least, not be able to see live. Long after lockdown restrictions are lifted, virtual gigs will become a regular feature of what we do. We also intend to broadcast unique and rare footage alongside our regular live events. After lockdown has lifted we’ll be inviting bands to record performances in their rehearsal space or even their homes as well as streaming concerts from across the globe.

There are many reasons why people can’t access live music, financally and physically. We know that this may seem different and difficult to envisage and at the moment our biggest challenge is helping people to visualise what this actually means. However, We’re striving to adapt and maybe even innovate in both securing our own future and providing something that has value both to musicians and music fans.