The music industry is well known for being averse to change, but despite this in the course of a few decades the way we listen to music has constantly evolved. From the heyday of vinyl, through tapes, CDs and downloads, all the way up to the advent of streaming which provides a vast vault of music at the push of a button. However in all that time the way we experience music in a live setting has changed very little. But now one pioneering company called Stageit has set in motion an idea that potentially could change the music industry using the wide reaching power of the internet.
The idea is simple, like most brilliant ideas are, have bands perform online concerts for their fans. We’re not talking about the kind of recorded content you find on YouTube, the idea is to have unique live events that are streamed out across the globe. Each show is a once in a lifetime experience, and whilst normally even the most extensive world tour has limitations of where they can perform, with Stageit any fans with sufficient internet can take part. Fans are encouraged to interact with each other, and with the artist, through live chat which builds a sense of community amongst fans and allows artists to engage with their target audience. Performances often have a “pay what you can” mentality but also encourage those who are able to show their support through tips. It’s a win-win situation; fans feel like they get a good deal and up-and-coming artists earn funds to fuel their passion.
Although still in it’s early stages, often based around small tightly-knit fandoms watching intimate acoustic sessions, the project has the potential to change the world. In the future we could see Stageit’s approach given the kind of filming equipment that’s afforded to tv performances and other live recordings to provide audiences with high quality footage of concerts on a much grander scale. Imagine something as monumental as Roger Water’s The Wall being offered in 4k quality as a one-off interactive experience. Bands also have the potential to make huge profits, even with Stageit’s lower ticket prices. They could possibly draw in the same size crowd as numerous world tour stops put together and yet only have to pay expenses for a single performance. If more people get on board with the idea we could see a more connected and wide ranging community of fans with the ability to watch their favourite artists perform live at their leisure, or even while they are on the go.
Naturally watching a performance online, even one that is live, will never equate to actually being there, but there’s no reason why the two can’t exist together. In the same way that whilst streaming your favourite album may be far more convenient, most of us will still own a physical copy to cherish. With the growing popularity of surprise album releases, there is a real sense of something special when music lovers worldwide all listen together to something for the first time. Having experienced this, and having watched my fair share of highly enjoyable Stageit gigs, I can’t help but put 2 and 2 together and dream of what the future might hold. Keep going Stageit, with a bit of luck you might just change the world…