he COVID-19 pandemic has forced the music and entertainment industry to experiment seriously with AR to create virtual concerts.
However, historically musicians and their managers have been cautious about challenging the traditional concert model which has been a main source of income as revenue from album sales diminishes due to streaming services.
So is the current surge of virtual AR concerts here to stay or will it be abandoned as soon as large gatherings are permitted again?
For the lower and middle tier of musicians, virtual AR concerts are showing that they are a worthwhile part of their awareness campaign, business portfolio, generating income and engaging with fans from across the world.
But for the top tier of musicians who regularly perform in packed stadiums and arenas, the opportunity cost of virtual AR concerts does not make a whole lot of financial sense once in-person concerts return alongside with their revenue stream.
That said, performing a few virtual concerts a year could potentially unlock some untapped revenue from fans across the world who are not able to attend their usual concerts.
It’s clear to see that virtual concerts are having their moment and for the fans, it brings some level of normality to these strange and worrying times.
For the musicians, there’s no opportunity cost to trying a virtual concert during the COVID-19 pandemic. Musicians aren’t able to perform, tour, shoot videos or even practice at in-person sessions. And with the rest of the world stuck at home, fans will appreciate even a basic attempt at performing online while also giving the musician the chance to experiment.
Many companies are looking into how virtual concerts can help their business during this difficult time, Live Nation, the dominant concert promotion and venue management company, have even converted their site to curate a schedule of virtual performances to watch.
Concerts and AR go so well together. While AR is about bringing the real and virtual worlds together, live events are all about finding a delicate balance between sound, performance, and emotional connections. Both experiences reinforce the other, and in these strange and usual times it’s what we all need.