On any given day about 3000 live-streamed concerts are listed on Bandsintown. Fans are flocking Show4ME, StageIt, Bandsintown Live and other platforms. But what do they want to see and hear when they get there?
By Mary Ivanova, Content and PR Manager at Show4me Music Interaction Network
Online concerts have gone mainstream, and being one of the platforms that provides concert streaming and ticketed online show capabilities, we here at Show4me were naturally curious what are the fans’ opinions of their online show experiences – what draws them in, what keeps them interested, what they wish was improved.
To try and figure out the answers to these questions I’ve connected with fans on our platform and social media and started discussions on multiple themed music forums across Facebook and Reddit. Here are my findings.
An online concert is not a venue concert. What I’ve learned from my conversations with online concert-goers is that understanding the format of an online show and that it differs (a lot) from an in-person event can make or break the experience for them.
One fan shares their experience with Goose Live From Out There Show: “That one stood out not only because the guys were playing well, but it just had this cool, house-party vibe to it.”
Playing into the strength of the online show format, while dropping some usual gig habits will serve well any musician who wants to captivate fans with their online event and keep them coming for more.
This one was one of the most popular complaints. Lack of the usual energy from the performer during the show.
Some talked about the home setting being perhaps too relaxing for the musician, others surmised live audience was the key factor in energizing the artists.
Some noted that the viewers themselves were lacking the normal adrenaline-inducing setting of a new place, new people, the mere fact of getting out of the house.
Either way, something’s amiss.
“9/10 times it seems like the musicians don’t quite put the same energy in when there isn’t an audience (much love to those who do, though!),” shares music lover Scully.
It’s not going to surprise anyone that fans love a good quality picture and audio at their online show.
One user wonders: “Plenty of amateur videographers and filmmakers get much better results from consumer-level cameras every day so I don’t know why big label acts have shitty quality for some of their bigger gigs they had time to plan.”
Testing out all equipment and figuring out the streaming service is more important than a lot of artists think. Music lover Patricia shares her recent online show experiences: “There’s a delay using zoom. I’ve seen good players not sound good.”
A live show is about something happening in the moment and a show is created not just by the artist, but by the audience contributing. Fans told me time and time again that they need the show to be, at least to an extent, interactive.
One music fan explains the point this way:
“The thing I enjoy about the live streaming is the interactive aspect with the crowd, [musician] commenting on people[’s] comments as they come into the chat feed,” shares Tony. “It really helps with the sense of community and helps to make the “live” aspect feel live!”
Another music fan explains that interaction makes a show feel live: “The ones I liked the least are the ones where there’s no interaction at all and it might just as well have been (or in some cases was) a prerecorded video,” shares music lover Pieter.
A Reddit user expresses the general sentiment I’ve met across the board: “I’m hoping if they continue to do these livestreams they continue to explore ways to involve the audience… even if it’s having a chat scroll on the side, requests, etc.”
But there can be too much of a good thing as music fan named Pam shares that she’s “less enamored with the hellos to friends they spot leaving comments on the notifications feed.” She would rather listen to more music.
Too much talking
Sharing a little bit about what inspired your song or an anecdote related to it can be a nice way to segway from one song to another, but not everyone has the talent to do it in an entertaining way. Simply put, fans say a lot of online shows grew boring really fast because the musician talked too much instead of just playing the music. Ouch.
But if you can do it right, fans will be delighted. Here’s one music fan sharing their thoughts on Reddit: “Marc Rebillet’s livestreams are consistently entertaining. I’m not 1000% a fan of everything he does, but he does a great job of interacting with the audience via chat and the call-in line and the resulting banter/improv made you feel like you wanted to keep watching and not miss anything.”
I’d like to finish this overview with this quote from one fanI talked to on Reddit:
“It was an amazing musical experience that made you feel closer to the band.”
When putting together your show, remember that fans want to feel connected to you as an artist and experience your music in a quality, personal way. Try to put your best authentic effort into the event, do your due diligence, rehearsals, soundchecks, and prep, and the payoff will be more than you’d expect.