Online Concerts: Free or Pay?


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Live online concerts are flourishing as an entertainment alternative caused by social distancing, but should they all be free or should we pay for some?

Live Online Concerts During Coronavirus Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic forced governments around the world to promote and/or enforce social distancing. The live concert industry was among the many industries that came to a halt. Many upcoming concerts and music festivals have been cancelled or suspended indefinitely.

With few choices, people turned online for their news and entertainment. With movie theaters closed, the movie industry moved to start releasing titles digitally much ahead of their normal time. On the other hand, the music industry has been relying mostly on online releases for quite some time now.

However, digital music, be that via streaming services or video platforms, does not provide a significant income for most artists. For these artists, recorded music and their promotional videos are a great marketing tool for their upcoming live concert tours. Live performances are where musicians make their money.

With the pandemic putting an end to live concerts, then live online concerts are popping up. These are great alternatives to serve a captive audience.

Live Online Concerts: Free or Pay?

Fito Paez also offered a free online concert.
Fito Paez also offered a free online concert due to the coronavirus pandemic.

So far, most live online concerts have been free. Mayor artists are donating their time to entertain people and therefore encouraging them to stay home and support social distancing. That’s great; bravo!

But other artists are struggling to pay rent or put food on the table. According to Maslow, these, along with security, are the primary needs of human beings. Live performances were their main form of income. So if you’re not a big name artist, they probably are like many of us without a lot of financial reserves to outlast the pandemic without generating any income.

Some of these artists have also decided to do online concerts. However, they are adding the option of a voluntary donation to help their financial situation.

I believe there is room to pay for these live concerts. Let’s look at the other entertainment industry, the movies. As I said above, movie production companies are releasing movies in digital format ahead of their normal schedule. But they are not free! On the contrary, they are only making them available for purchase at $20 each. There’s not a rent option, which would mean paying a more affordable $5 per 48-hour rent.

The way I see it, artists could very well charge the price of renting a movie for their online concerts. Of course, you would be more understanding of this with an everyday blue-collar artist than with a big-name one. Marc Anthony, Alejandro Sanz, Ednita Nazario, Gilberto Santa Rosa, and Ricky Martin can all give free concerts without risk of missing a mortgage payment on any one of their properties.

Other artists are not so fortunate, and for those, I would gladly pay a fee without hesitation.

Live Online Concerts: Temporary or New Fad?

Ah, that’s the question! Will the live online concerts die after the coronavirus pandemic is over? Will it become a new fad for the 2020’s?

I’ll dive into that in my next blog. In the meantime, enjoy the recorded version of the Alejandro Sanz & Juanes concert which they did recently live and free.

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