If we’re lucky, safe in-person music experiences will become a regular part of life again sometime in 2021––if we’re lucky. While music fans and artists alike are desperate for a sense of normalcy to return to live music, there are still a lot of unknowns around the idea of people packing into venues to see musicians. If you’re not sure what to do when it comes to waiting for touring to become safe and viable again, the same advice applies now as it did back when the U.S. started locking down in the spring. By staying productive, active, and creatively engaged, you’ll make the most of this time. We don’t know exactly when touring will be a major part of music again, but there is a lot we can do while we wait.
It’s a little more than obvious by now that livestream concerts are here to stay. Many artists and music fans spent the past few months trying them out for the first time and quickly realized their value. While nothing can replace the experience of watching musicians perform in person, live streaming delivers important benefits for both artists and audiences that conventional shows can’t, including the opportunity to play/watch concerts anywhere in the world that has a stable internet connection.
As the music industry continues to adjust, it’s becoming more and more clear that digital concerts are going to be a much larger part of the way audiences enjoy music moving forward. To get the most out of live-streaming shows as artists, the first thing we have to remember is that they’re not a suitable replacement for in-person experiences––far from it. Instead, we’re better off seeing digital concerts as completely separate performance opportunities with their own unique advantages and drawbacks. If you’re new to the world of digital performances, here are some important ways they differ from conventional concerts:
Every music scene is its own world, packed with locally famous venues, musicians, and history. It’s natural to want to develop within the music community that exists in your hometown. However, when musicians fail to evolve past their local scene, they limit not only their opportunities, but also their creativity. Forming an identity outside of your music scene isn’t easy, but it’s essential to connect with large audiences.
Don’t settle for local success
It can be incredibly exciting to find success within a local music scene for new and unestablished bands. Opening for national artists, getting written up in local media, and headlining shows at local venues are all signs of momentum within a scene. The problem comes when bands get addicted and comfortable with the notion of being the big fish swimming in the small ponds of their local music scenes. It’s completely possible to be a well-known and beloved band to the music fans in your hometown but no one else. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with this. Yet, if your music career ambitions are bigger than being locally successful, you’ll have to plan to be active outside of your hometown.
Making great music often requires uninhibited self expression. As musicians, we create some of our best work by removing filters on our thoughts and actions. If we come up with ideas that don’t fit the larger context of our work, we easily discard them later. But when it comes to the things we talk about on stage, that same unchecked expressiveness many of us use to write, record, and produce music could end up alienating our audiences and potentially damaging our careers in more serious ways. If you’re new to performing live, here are a few things you should avoid talking about when you’re up on stage:
Your sound engineer most likely isn’t the first thing you think of when you’re getting ready to play an important show, but people in this position wield an incredible amount of power that can make or break the sound of your performance. A smooth soundcheck will ensure that everything sounds the way it should on and off the stage, but also that you feel comfortable in your performance. But for some artists new to live performing, proper soundcheck etiquette has to be learned the hard way. Here are three tips to help ensure you get the best soundcheck you possibly can on stage.
For many music fans, a feeling of intimacy is what makes them feel most connected to the songs they love, whether they’re being played at home or live on stage. But from a musician’s perspective, creating music that feels a certain way when it’s recorded is often challenging to replicate in a live setting where the pressure of having one chance to get things right often dominates the performance. Intimacy in live performances can be a big challenge for musicians, it’s one of the characteristics that make playing on stage special, so it’s something you should care about.
Playing in a major city is always an exciting experience. While it takes a lot of planning to set up a successful show, it can also be very rewarding in the end. The most obvious advantage of playing in a major city is that you get exposure to more audiences and to different niche groups that might not exist in smaller towns. But there is also more competition, which is why planning, strategy, and flexibility are key for playing concerts in major cities.
Fortunately, we live in the age of social media and we can start spreading the word about our upcoming show to people beforehand. Even if we don’t have a fanbase in that city, we can still target certain audiences, demographics, and people who listen to artists who have similar sounds to us. This will not only build word of mouth marketing, but it will also lead the way for playing in more venues and selling more tickets. Read on for 10 tips to build an audience in a major city: