As we continue to feel the ripple of COVID-19 across the globe, a new reality for musicians is fast emerging, one that again places content at the forefront of engagement and creative expression.
In the years preceding COVID-19, content had become an element of a much larger communication strategy - mainly to expand an audience beyond the reach of physical spaces - for promoting world tours, concerts and gigs. Online platforms were a secondary translation of the core physical event for many performers.
And while we face the absence of many physical interactions, the online world has offered musicians the ability to focus their efforts towards a digital-only audience. Evidently, COVID-19 has driven a sense of urgency for those artists currently lacking an online presence, whilst for those well embedded in the world of digital, this is their moment to push the boundaries of creativity.
So, what does this mean for the professional audio sector moving forward? How exactly will this change both the way artists work and look to engage with their audiences? These are just some of the key trends we believe will stick for the long run…
One thing for certain is that we’ll see professional workflows translate into the home space, eliminating the need for unnecessary travel and costs. We’ve already seen a vast range of equipment being utilised from home for TV broadcast, production, live streaming and music, which raises questions about the long-term importance of the home studio in the professional content creation industries. Its importance has already notably increased over recent years, but the coming years will see this continue at an accelerated pace.
All levels of content creators are currently investing time and money in improving the quality of their work at home, to either increase their follower engagement or hone their creative expression. The learning, education and investment in new equipment taking place is helping to drive an entire generation of content creators that now have the time to learn the skills to create higher quality content. This is deepening their association with their creations and increasing their dependence on the products that support them. This dynamic is expected to push many content creators into a “committed” category, which will see them become long-term users and purchasers of equipment.
Facebook Live, Instagram and YouTube videos have become a core focus area to provide fans with that ‘behind the scenes’ content while they’re unable to view their favourite artists live. Artists have been able to share messages, give ‘shoutouts’ and respond to song requests personally, all from the intimacy of their own home. This in itself has furthered a different type of one-on-one engagement. As we’ve already seen from the varied mix of performances during lockdown, high quality audio is a powerful tool for these interactions. In this regard, we can expect home studio equipment to become not only a substitution for professional facilities, but an additional set-up for these more frequent engagements, that require a lesser, but still high-quality production – all from the comfort of home.
Musicians have found a compelling way to better utilise the video entertainment space during the outbreak. While fan engagement and online profile-building will remain a priority during the lockdown period – we are also seeing live streaming and performances become a revenue opportunity, with artists using virtual ticketing and advertisements for live performances. There are varying views on the potential success of such engagements – many artists see this as taking advantage of fans for something that has come at a relatively low cost for some time. However, there is still revenue to be made, with the “Bang Bang Con Live” virtual concert (performed by Korean sensations BST) being a key example and grossing $20m in ticket sales. However, is this just the right time and a bit of a niche? Or can lockdown and the months preceding be the force to normalise virtual ticketing? The demand is clearly out there at the moment, with many promoters and performers looking to diversify away from the physical event. This is especially relevant given that large events will likely still be postponed for a long time after initial lockdowns have been lifted.
Futuresource Consulting continue to monitor the changes happening across the Professional Audio sector. For more information on the range of Professional Audio reports we provide, click here, or download our latest YouTube video discussing the latest trends across the Pro AV sector.
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