Online experiences connect fans to artists

Concert cancellations spark engagement with fans online

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As students begin to anticipate summer vacation, the days have a dreary tone with the number of concert and festival cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many artists and companies are providing alternative methods for their fans to stay connected during a time when live entertainment is restricted due to public health and safety concerns. 

Seattle Pacific University sophomore and integrated studies major, Reyna Camarena is not sure tuning into the online concerts makes it better. 

“For me, it’s better than nothing [ … ] it’s nice to still be able to see my favorite artists, and it’s a great way for us fans to stay connected with them,” Camarena said. “A lot of the artists have said [online concerts] are helpful for them too, it gives us all something else to focus on rather than the negativity and stress of this time.”

Whether artists are hosting solo shows via Instagram Live, or banding together to host “festivals” via Youtube, they provide a much needed source of entertainment and connection between fans and creators. 

Global Citizen, an organization dedicated to ending extreme poverty began the #TogetherAtHome initiative in March. The organization encouraged some of the biggest names in music to host online concerts via Instagram and then challenge their friends and colleagues to participate in their own #TogetherAtHome concerts. 

As stated on the organization’s website, Global Citizen’s current mission is to gather money for the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. 

Global Citizen ended their series of concerts April 18, with “One World: Together At Home” a live concert event streamed via Youtube that seemed to inspire a hoard of other artists to host their own concerts and festivals in an online format. 

As a regular concert attendee, Camarena shared that she planned on going to about six concerts this summer which have almost all been postponed indefinitely or canceled. 

“Only one concert has been rescheduled so far, but a lot of the artists I listen to are doing live streams on Instagram and Youtube to supplement the lack of concerts,” Camarena said. 

As concert season lulls on, fans rejoice at the various forms of communication the internet has provided them to stay connected with their favorite artists, while also enjoying live performances in a safe manner. 

Max Schneider, more popularly known by his stage name “MAX,” enthusiastically hosted his online concert with Global Citizen on March 22, in which he performed hits like “Lights Down Low.” He also teased new music from his upcoming album “Colourvision” which is set to release Sept. 18.  

MAX has since participated in festivals such as the Elvis Duran’s “Stay At Home Ball”  streamed via Youtube April 24. 

Although the online concert format poses a solution to the lack of live performances, it does not seem to satisfy the urge for a complete concert experience. 

“I think going to online concerts almost makes me feel worse than not having the live show. Since you’re just sitting at home watching it, you don’t have the feeling of being with your friends or seeing the artist right in front of you,” Camarena said. 

The heartbreak of concert cancellations is just as painful for the artists as it is for the fans. Because of this, artists are making an effort now more than ever to connect with fans on a more personal level.

Sister duo Chloe and Halle Bailey, known to fans as “Chloe X Halle” have taken the initiative to better connect with their listeners.

Aside from their personal concert with Global CItizen and appearances in live streams hosted by Black Entertainment Network (BET) and global organization UNICEF to support COVID-19 relief funds, the pair have hosted weekly live streams via Instagram. 

Thursday nights at 8 p.m. PST, the sisters host a segment on Instagram they call “Tea Time” where they invite fans to share personal stories about drama and receive advice from them in return. 

The two have made it clear during these live streams that they are not therapists, but they wanted to provide their fans with an opportunity to connect with them on a deeper level and have a place to rant and relax during these stressful times.

“You’re all such cool people and we’re so thankful for all your continued support. We are sending you all love and light during this difficult time, we’re gonna get through this,” Chloe x Halle said in a recent live stream May 14. 

Fans of Chloe x Halle and many others consider this a crucial time to connect with one another. 

Individuals like Camarena have found these live streams to be effective stress relievers among the stresses of schoolwork and life. 

“It’s nice because artists have more time to connect with their fans and get to know them on a deeper level,” she said. 

For Camarena, there is no way for online concerts to make up for the experience of a live show although she is grateful that artists are making an effort to connect with their fans during this difficult time. 

“The live streams may not be the best solution, but it still gives fans that time to connect with their favorite artists and, in a way, can help relieve stress,” Camarena said. 

“Knowing that my favorite artists are going live gives me a distraction from the craziness of the world and a moment to relax.”