During the coronavirus lockdown, music fans are being denied a lot of things they were anticipating. Gigs. Festivals. Albums. You name it. Less acknowledged, however, is that they’re also getting a lot of things they weren’t expecting. Charli XCX announcing a new album that she’s recording in self-isolation is just the tip of the iceberg. Right now, fans are being super-served with some original, highly intimate content – and with a regularity we have never seen before.
You can take your pick here. Biffy Clyro and Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda have both delivered daily music tutorials and jams, Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong has been uploading new covers every Monday, while Hayley Williams gave her recent single Over Yet an all-new workout music video filmed in her front room.
Indeed, the ingenuity of what we’re seeing right now is astounding. US group Echosmith, for one, have embarked on a digital tour. It will see them perform live from their home on a number of different days, only instead of different venues they’ll be appearing on various sites, from Amazon Music to Radio Disney and Consequence Of Sound. US singer The White Buffalo, meanwhile, launched a new pay-per-view interactive livestream, charged at $10. It attracted fans from 68 countries.
Right now, fans are being super-served with some original, highly intimate content – and with a regularity we have never seen before.
Much has already been made of the rise of artists livestreaming gigs, but there is an altogether different trend that has me transfixed: archival deep-diving. A host of high-profile acts like Bruce Springsteen, Radiohead, Metallica and The National are currently streaming full, professionally-shot concerts from yesteryear. To look at this merely as a pleasing lockdown distraction is to miss the point. Judging from the ecstatic reception online, the demand for old concerts is very real – people want to see more than shaky fan footage or that one-off crowning gig captured for a special Blu-ray/live album.
A lot of acts would be wise to really take stock of the assets they have that have otherwise been collecting dust. You have to wonder: just how much footage is actually amassed by videographers on world tours every year that never sees the light of day? Now might be a good time to think a lot bigger than anniversary reissues and boxsets...
To make sure you can access Music Week wherever you are, subscribe to our digital issue by clicking here.