As much as we’d like it to be, the live concert industry isn’t going to be back to normal for a long time. Performing from home doesn’t come close to playing on stage in front of people, but this doesn’t mean there aren’t effective ways to connect with your audience without leaving your house. We can choose to either sit out performances until it’s safe to return to venues and festivals, or we can adapt and make the best out of this strange and difficult time. If you’re interested in the latter option, here are three performance opportunities to explore from home:
Let’s start with the most obvious one. Many artists who never considered live streaming performances from home have recently adapted the digital show format. Yes, there are plenty of challenges and drawbacks to live-streams, and you’ll probably be disappointed if you choose to compare them to conventional in-person shows. But compared to not playing at all, they’re a solid performance option, and provide a relatively easy and affordable way to stay connected to your audience. Live-streaming from home also gives you the opportunity to play in front of listeners who wouldn’t have been able to make it out to your in-person shows. But even if you live stream regularly from home for no reason other than to stay musically active and engaged, that’s a huge benefit for musicians right now. Livestreams will never replace conventional concerts, but because of their usefulness and reach, they’re sure to outlive the pandemic as a show format.
Recorded video performances
If the absence of live shows has made you feel bored and rusty, recording videos of your performances can help to keep you engaged and challenged. Plus, they’re a great way to connect with listeners and find new fans. These videos can be used to debut new songs or share covers, or you can use them as opportunities to collaborate with a visual artist to show your music in an entirely new light. Because of the cold, distanced music culture we’re now living in where some fans’ interest doesn’t go past liking a song on a playlist, video performances are a great way to make a lasting impact on audiences. And while you might not have thought about doing something like this back when you were touring and playing lots of shows, this is the perfect time to try to create something special and memorable.
Safe performances in front of small gatherings
The safety of in-person gatherings is a tricky subject. However, occasions like shows in your backyard for a small crowd of distanced guests might be a good at-home performance option for some artists. There are so many unknowns when it comes to the timeline of when we’ll be able to play venue and festival shows again. However, modest home shows are likely to be within reach much sooner. If you’re used to playing for hundreds of people at a time, performing for something like ten people might not seem worth your time. But if you think about the gift you’re giving those ten people with the benefit of staying musically active, you might reconsider. As we transition back to in-person shows, small house concerts might be a big part of the way we get back to normal, especially for independent artists. Common sense applies here, like keeping things small, distanced, masked, and outside. If you can pull off small house shows safely and stream them, you’ll have a way to give audiences an important form of connection during this tough time, and these experiences are ones people are likely to remember far into the future because they’re so rare right now. It should go without saying that you should only throw small house shows if you think it’s safe to. Outside shows are your best bet.
We all miss normal shows, and it shouldn’t be ignored that countless musicians, sound engineers, and venue staff are out of work right now. Performing at home can’t bring things back to normal, but it’s a great way to stay active and connect with fans during a time when they desperately need music.
Patrick McGuire is a writer, musician, and human man. He lives nowhere in particular, creates music under the name Straight White Teeth, and has a great affinity for dogs and putting his hands in his pockets.