Streaming For Vengeance


Written by: omne metallum
Published: 05.09.2020


Much like nearly every other industry in the world, the music industry has been blindsided and taken a heavy blow as a result of Covid-19, with artists finding one of their main sources of income brought to a standstill in physical concerts and their second stream, merchandise, reeling from the effects of a financially worried audience. Concert-going fans have suddenly seen their calendars emptied; where previous, weeks and months all led to 'that gig', now we find ourselves going through an enforced withdrawal, waiting for that day our favourite artists hit the stage once again.

It is to this point that some enterprising artists, labels and festivals have tried to plug the gap in both all our calendars and their own wallets with the use of livestreamed concerts. Where before the audience had to travel to the venue, queue up with ticket in hand and stake out a prime spot after browsing the merch stand, now you just have to turn on your computer and click play. It is a big adjustment to make, from a world where live videos would whet your appetite for the main course to now being the full meal; it is no surprise many are hungry for the real deal to return.

Watching the European Metal Alliance stream was a substitute for waking up hungover in my tent, which has been my tradition ever since I began attending Bloodstock Open Air many years ago; while I ensured the hangovers and loud music remained, switching up and having a clean toilet and better-priced food were other elements that changed alongside not being in a field with several thousand other like-minded metalheads. As striking up casual conversation with somebody in the crowd was replaced by chat boxes and someone tall blocking your view was replaced by a buffering stream, it made for an interesting weekend.

Being able to enjoy a range of artists both familiar and new (Dead Lord and Parasite Inc. are some newfound gems for me) that I would have otherwise been unlikely to watch was a big plus, given some rarely tour round my neck of the woods or I would not have discovered them had it not been for these streams. Bands can now reach an audience far easier, requiring them just to click a button to get a good taste of their live shows, rather than put any actual effort in.

It is ironic, then, that one of the main arguments thrown against many in the business side of the industry in the last two decades has now been turned against those who have readily accused others of it, namely, clutching onto a past and not embracing change. Where record labels were slow to adapt to the rise of the digital age and dug their heels in on physical media, we are now in a time (hopefully temporary) where physical concerts are unviable from both a public health and financial stand point. It is then we must ask ourselves, do we cling onto our past and wait out this drought and watch the industry we love die with a whimper, or do we see livestreams as a potential holding pattern for now?

I myself find my thoughts drift between the two; having watched many livestreams during the lockdown to try and fill that void that gigs once filled, I find them both entertaining and self-defeating. Though they fill the void, they end up digging the hole that bit deeper and have me wishing gigs could return sooner. Hearing your favourite artists on a screen is not the same as experiencing them in the flesh, but something is better than nothing.

I fully understand those who are unwilling to try this new medium, given that it is a far cry from the real experience; had you asked me this question hypothetically last year I would not have picked a livestream over a physical concert. As good as some of these streams are (the chance to see Trivium play otherwise rare tracks was a good twist to me), they just don't scratch that itch.

The main point we need to remember in all of this is that these are tough times for artists, venues and everyone involved in the live music industry. While I may find livestreams a bitter second choice to physical concerts, if it helps bands ride out this storm so that they may be in a position to return when the world is back to some semblance of normality, then it will have to do. If forking out some cash to watch a stream is done through clenched teeth, it is a small price to pay in the long run. Even if you aren't swayed by livestreaming, if you are wondering what to do with that extra money you would have spent on gig tickets then perhaps now is that time to buy that t-shirt you've had your eye on for awhile, and if you're feeling particularly flush, go for that hoodie as well; that bit of money can go a long way for some artists.

It is to all this that I will keep watching livestreams as long as is necessary to help combat efforts to beat Covid-19; the only disease I want to be spreading is the Anthrax album.



Poll

Do you enjoy livestreams?

Yes, but only until gigs return
6
No
4
Some are ok, some have been crap
2
Yes
1

Total votes: 13


 


Comments

Comments: 10   Visited by: 31 users
05.09.2020 - 23:08
musclassia
Pretty much, they've been enjoyable, particularly the ones that have been special nostalgia sets (had a great time with my bandmates watching the BTBAM Colors stream recorded in Blake's parents' basement) or with added effort put into the visuals (Enslaved's Below The Lights set the benchmark on this one, but RLHT and Oranssi Pazuzu put a lot of care into the stage show design when they did full playthroughs of their 2020 albums), but it's still not the same as being in the crowd singing along or being engulfed by the waves of a post-metal band live.
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06.09.2020 - 10:53
nikarg
Mod
Very well written piece, I agree with you on everything.
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06.09.2020 - 12:14
Bardamu
Well said. I've actually "attended" two live streams this past month, both were enjoyable but had their problems.

First was the album release stream for Unleash The Archers. This wasn't streamed live but was a recording of them playing to an empty hall, which was then made available to watch for 48hrs. It was well produced and enjoyable, but disappointing that it was recorded instead of "live".

Second was Patrick Walker (40 Watt Sun) playing an acoustic set in Germany to a small audience. This was streamed live, and while the audio and video qualities were individually good they weren't in sync! The video was a couple of seconds ahead of the audio. Very disappointing and only really saved by the fact that Patrick put on a great performance.

What both streams needed was more in the way of audience participation. Patrick's gig had a heart button that people could press that would send a heart emoji on the screen to everyone else watching, but no other form of interaction such a chat window.

If bands / record labels are serious about using live streaming going forward then there are a few things they need to get right:
- Get the technology and production right. There's no excuse for a poor quality stream these days given that any idiot can broadcast a decent quality picture from their phone or pc.
- Do it live rather than making a recording available
- Have a way for the audience to participate / interact - chat windows etc
- Keep the experience unique. Either no replay or a limited time to watch it. No posting the entire stream on youtube the next day etc.

Overall I'm supportive of live streaming as it gives me a way to watch and support bands that otherwise would be unlikely to tour in my area. I think they'll become part of the new normal for bands that can use them as a way to generate more income and reach a wider audience than they normally could. They just have to be careful about going overboard with it and streaming everything which might affect the demand for attending in person.

It'll be interesting to see whether live streaming gigs goes down the route of Spotify and Netflix where a single company emerges as major distributor for the streams. Think "Spoti-gig-flix" and a 9.99 a month subscription to watch any live streamed gig? I'm not too sure if that would be good or not, but maybe I'm getting ahead of things here...
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06.09.2020 - 16:41
Abattoir
Even though there have been a fair portion of 'this sort of gigs' online so far, it doesn't attract me enough to be honest. Occasionally I do check out (more or less) a random live stream. And I definitely salute the idea behind all this... to support the artists, especially, if there is any financial contribution for them in these fucked up times.

A week ago I was part of the Down live stream show, performing Nola in its entirety. Now that was a fucking blast.
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06.09.2020 - 21:18
musclassia
Written by Abattoir on 06.09.2020 at 16:41


A week ago I was part of the Down live stream show, performing Nola in its entirety. Now that was a fucking blast.


How the hell did I miss that
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07.09.2020 - 13:57
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Only live streem i did watch was 2006 something Iced Earth in Finland. Yes Iron Maiden, big 4 live in Swedish national tv. Candlemass on radio. Rest no, I dont even buy live cd. No live dvd. So no.
----
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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08.09.2020 - 09:24
Enemy of Reality
I think it's a great alternative for bands to make some money while the gigs are on halt, and for fans to get something valuable from the bands as well. Overall streams i've watched were good and the bands knew that they had to show something interesting visually for the tickets to be worth. Katatonia, Enslaved, Behemoth, Amorphis were all top notch streams. The e-festival Nuclear Blast promoted for free was great as well (even if i don't like most of the bands inthat fest). I won't mind if bands stream a show once in a while even after gigs are back. But the priority should of course be live events not streams.
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11.09.2020 - 16:56
omne metallum
Written by Bardamu on 06.09.2020 at 12:14


What both streams needed was more in the way of audience participation. Patrick's gig had a heart button that people could press that would send a heart emoji on the screen to everyone else watching, but no other form of interaction such a chat window.

If bands / record labels are serious about using live streaming going forward then there are a few things they need to get right:
- Get the technology and production right. There's no excuse for a poor quality stream these days given that any idiot can broadcast a decent quality picture from their phone or pc.
- Do it live rather than making a recording available
- Have a way for the audience to participate / interact - chat windows etc
- Keep the experience unique. Either no replay or a limited time to watch it. No posting the entire stream on youtube the next day etc.

It'll be interesting to see whether live streaming gigs goes down the route of Spotify and Netflix where a single company emerges as major distributor for the streams. Think "Spoti-gig-flix" and a 9.99 a month subscription to watch any live streamed gig? I'm not too sure if that would be good or not, but maybe I'm getting ahead of things here...


You make some good points but I have to disagree on two:

- Fan interaction in the way you suggest would annoy the hell out of me, much like someone next to you at a gig who just won't stop shouting or screaming it impedes on my experience; since I can't move away from them on a stream I'd be stuck with people spamming emoji's and crap that ruins my immersion. If there was a way of some people opting out of it however then I'd be fine with that.
- I like the ability to re-watch or watch later, given I treat streams separately from concerts mentally, the ability to watch at my own convenience is a boon.

The Spoti-gig-flix would be a cool idea, a neat way to sign off a touring cycle if they finished on one. The only problem would be I can see a lot of people who would otherwise be on the fence not taking the plunge to go and see said band live since they know they can wait and see the show for a smaller fee.

Written by Abattoir on 06.09.2020 at 16:41

A week ago I was part of the Down live stream show, performing Nola in its entirety. Now that was a fucking blast.


Well you could of told me that was happening
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12.09.2020 - 00:18
Bardamu
Written by omne metallum on 11.09.2020 at 16:56

You make some good points but I have to disagree on two:

- Fan interaction in the way you suggest would annoy the hell out of me, much like someone next to you at a gig who just won't stop shouting or screaming it impedes on my experience; since I can't move away from them on a stream I'd be stuck with people spamming emoji's and crap that ruins my immersion. If there was a way of some people opting out of it however then I'd be fine with that.
- I like the ability to re-watch or watch later, given I treat streams separately from concerts mentally, the ability to watch at my own convenience is a boon.


- I guess there's no reason why the stream providers can't provide the option to turn that stuff off if people find it annoying.
- What I've seen is bands making the the stream available to re-watch for 48hrs after the event, which I think probably works well.
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14.09.2020 - 21:29
omne metallum
Written by Bardamu on 12.09.2020 at 00:18

Written by omne metallum on 11.09.2020 at 16:56

You make some good points but I have to disagree on two:

- Fan interaction in the way you suggest would annoy the hell out of me, much like someone next to you at a gig who just won't stop shouting or screaming it impedes on my experience; since I can't move away from them on a stream I'd be stuck with people spamming emoji's and crap that ruins my immersion. If there was a way of some people opting out of it however then I'd be fine with that.
- I like the ability to re-watch or watch later, given I treat streams separately from concerts mentally, the ability to watch at my own convenience is a boon.


- I guess there's no reason why the stream providers can't provide the option to turn that stuff off if people find it annoying.
- What I've seen is bands making the the stream available to re-watch for 48hrs after the event, which I think probably works well.


The whole concept is still a work in progress so it'll be interesting how the whole concept evolves, it's good to see others are enjoying them for different reasons
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