Live Events are Back. Here are Three Ways to Reach New Audiences We Learned During the Pandemic

hands up at concert

By Rick Faigin, EVP, Acceleration Community of Companies (ACC) Client Advisory

Live music events are roaring back, with audiences eager to once again experience the joy of being part of a cheering crowd swaying to the music on a summer night.

During the depths of the pandemic, with concerts completely off the table, the artists who depend on live events to make their living and the brand sponsors who bring these events to life, had to find innovative new ways to connect with audiences.

Live streamed performances were beamed out from personal, intimate settings; “big events” were recreated through pay-per-view and brand-sponsored access like Justin Bieber’s T-Mobile New Year’s Eve concert, which ACC helped produce; social media happenings popped up, with DJs and solo artists taking to Instagram Live to deliver regular performances.

While big names like John Legend, Chris Martin, Billie Eilish and others are unlikely to continue playing in front of an iPhone in their bedrooms, live streams, virtual events and hybrid music shows are here to stay.

Here are some ways brands and other sponsors can build on the innovations that were developed during the pandemic, even as in-person gatherings return:

Enter the Metaverse for a Completely Different Audience Experience

Rather than trying to replace a live event, create something that isn’t possible in a physical location. Warner Music recently purchased land in the metaverse to host original immersive music experiences that are unique to that space.

Dolly Parton, along with a host of K Pop stars, are already dipping their toes in the water with live performances in the metaverse and Parton is teaming up with Fox Entertainment’s Blockchain Creative Labs to issue tokens to fans to authenticate their participation. These types of events are opportunities to reach audiences that may never see a live show or who come to the experience less as die-hard music fans and more as explorers of virtual worlds.

Hybrid Experiences Are Complementary and Value-Added

The buzzword of the pandemic was hybrid and there’s no reason you can’t get the best of both worlds. When venues were shut down, promoters and artists tried to simply recreate live performances in virtual spaces. Don’t try to do that: People can go to concerts again.

Instead, offer a hybrid of streaming and live, giving audiences a better experience with both. Producers can film rehearsals, short narrative videos and bonus footage that can be streamed during live events and even diced up and tailored to specific virtual audiences. Brands can offer packages and incentives for various levels of access and new content.

This approach obviously expands your audience globally but it can also be used to take advantage of local interest. When an act comes to a major city, virtual packages can be targeted to audiences that are close and may even share media markets but not close enough to reliably attend the event.

Think Bigger; It’s Now Possible to Be Truly Global

Major global concerts like Live Aid and the annual New Year’s Eve shows that simulcast from different locations harness the power of live TV to blend and connect audiences located in different places.

With VR technology, holograms and other new media, it’s possible to take this concept a step further. Where streaming can deliver live content to home audiences, newer technologies can seamlessly blend live audiences from all over the world.

Korean pop stars appearing “on stage” in Los Angeles and Seoul; musicians playing at Wembley Stadium in London performing a live duet with a band on stage in Sao Paulo.

The Bottom Line

For many fans, nothing can replace the live experience of a concert. For a new generation, there is a growing appetite to expand what that experience can mean.

About the Author

Rick Faigin is Executive Vice President of Acceleration Brand Advisory and oversees the Advisory’s client development, strategic partnerships and cultural marketing strategy. In this role, Rick has developed uniquely creative and robust marketing and cultural campaigns that drive innovation for clients such as T-Mobile presents NYE Live with Justin Bieber and the Dolby Atmos campaign which featured Lizzo, Coldplay, Olivia Rodrigo, The Weeknd, J Balvin and Post Malone. Before joining ACC, Rick was Executive Vice President of Brand Marketing at PMK*BNC, where he oversaw business development and the agency’s Entertainment Marketing division. A seasoned entertainment marketing executive with over a decade of experience bringing together iconic brands with creative and celebrity talent, Rick has orchestrated several lucrative partnerships and endorsement deals for Fortune 500 companies including American Express, Samsung, Anheuser-Bush, T-Mobile and Audi, among others. Rick also spent two years as Head of Marketing & Partnerships at Paradigm talent agency.