Ismail Sirdah, the owner of Lulu Promotions, performs event planning out of Duluth, Georgia, a community on the outskirts of Atlanta. Traditionally, the greater Atlanta area has hosted some of the finest live music events in the Southeastern United States.
The State of Live Music
In August 2020, NPR noted that live music “currently sits, like so many, on the brink of catastrophe.”
Live music, by definition, can’t “go remote” like many office jobs or streamed media. It’s true that populations don’t need live music to stay alive during a global pandemic and economic lockdown. But for the musicians and organizers that host these live events, livelihoods are severely threatened.
Dedicated musicians and organizers work around the challenges using virtual tools to deliver music to the masses and squeeze in meager wages to stay in business. Others temporarily change careers to pay the bills and hope to return to their “calling” once the COVID-19 threat has passed.
But the big question remains, “Will concerts and live events ever be the same?” Economists and industry experts disagree. As vaccines trickle into local communities, the immediate future of live music remains to be seen, notes Ismail Sirdah.
Music and Social Media
That said, listeners depend greatly on musical artists to cope with the current crisis. Media streaming is up significantly, especially with the proliferation of 5G mobile data.
Many musicians have turned to social media, acting as influencers to bring joy to fans and monetize their talents, says Ismail Sirdah.
Twitch used to be a social media platform for gamers. But in the last couple of years, it is now a leading channel for live music and instrument tutorials. Pop and classical, performers and DJs, professional and amateur — Twitch allows thousands of artists to connect with new fans and share their music.
Twitch partners also receive compensation from banner ads (similar to YouTube). Many musicians are using that income to hone their craft until they can return to the stage.
Instagram remains the leading influencer platform. Often referred to as creators, many musicians are building a following that fits the category of Micro and Macro influencers. Creators have the option to create videos (short and long), reels, and compelling images to maintain virtual relationships with fans.
YouTube remains the leading platform for long-form video (videos lasting longer than five minutes). Musicians with videography skills (or assistance) can post liberally for free and build a following.
Today, most users search YouTube for “how-to” videos. Musicians can give tips and FAQs for fans and also upload home-made videos to delight audiences.
Ismail Sirdah on Supporting Artists and Live Music in 2021
As North America emerges from this pandemic, listeners are likely to flock to live concerts once again. The “pent up demand” is very high, even though media streaming has provided much-needed emotional relief for the greater population.
But struggling artists will need the support from fans more than ever. Event planners like Ismail Sirdah will need to think carefully about how to make concerts sustainable in 2021, including maintaining health safety standards and staying within smaller budgets.