Lockdown has had a significant effect on the entertainment industry, and all artists seem to be adapting in a different way. It can be jarring to see every DJ and singer launch into a sudden barrage of audience-less livestreams on your social media with a hyperbolic enthusiasm for their 4 viewers. To some, these are an exciting way to keep the vibe going; to others it resembles the musicians that played on the Titanic as it sank. That said, the entire music industry is evolving around its transformed habitat to deliver albums, festivals and live shows in new ways. Here are some of those innovative platforms that are a testament to the music going on.
The unstoppable force of music festivals
After every major music festival event of 2020 was cancelled or postponed due to the pandemic, NTS Radio launched Remote Utopias, a music festival broadcast that brought together global music-industry giants for radio sets, livestreams and exclusive premieres.
Jameson launched a 24-hour visual music festival online, featuring goliath names such as Grammy award-winner Skrillex, Tame Impala, Bicep, Erykah Badu, Jonah Hill, Four Tet, and JPEGMafia.
“As the world has gone into shutdown with gigs, festivals and tours being cancelled, mounting pressure has been placed on creatives, musicians and artists,” a statement says.
“To help, Jameson are supporting the NTS’ programmed 24-hour radio festival with that support going directly to upwards of fifty artists, from NTS residents to emerging and established talent, during a period of unprecedented uncertainty within the industry.”
One world at home together
Together at Home was a multinational, live and online concert. Curated by global superstar, Lady Gaga, the two-hour musical portion of the event had some of the world’s most iconic musicians livestream performances from their homes.
The star-studded line-up included names such as Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Billie Eilish, Taylor Swift, John Legend, Charlie Puth, Kesha, Sheryl Crow, and Michael Bublé. Some group performances included the likes of The Rolling Stones, Little Mix, (half of) The Killers, and a duet by Shaun Mendes and Camila Cabello.
The World Health Organisation and Global Citizen’s anti poverty campaign in response to COVID-19 event was viewed live by over 20.7 million people, and its online videos have been watched by even more people since then.
The centre of the arts
In the spirit of keeping the music alive, the Arts Centre Melbourne launched a new initiative on April 29 with the Aussie Pops Orchestra to bring Australian artists and musicians together virtually.
The Youtube series, Big Night In With John Foreman, gives performers a platform to connect with their audience during lockdown, and involves interviews, songs and a grand finale musical act featuring the Aussie Pops Orchestra where the musicians each perform their part from the comfort of their home.
The series has featured home grown talent like Casey Donovan and Rob ‘Millsy’ Mills, as well as performers from the West End and Broadway musicals.
Broadway in your living room
Legendary composer Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber is responsible for some of the most iconic musicals of all time, including Phantom of the Opera, Cats and Jesus Christ Superstar. Since isolation began, he’s been streaming and uploading videos of himself playing his piano, as part of his #composerinisolation campaign. All the songs are requested by viewers and Sir Andrew is uncannily relaxed and informal. “Welcome to episode I-can’t-remember-what of Composer in Isolation,” he says before playing the iconic, Memory from Cats. People are even recording their own performances to be a bigger part of the musical movement.
It really goes to show how intimate and raw these pieces of art can be when played by their composers in their own homes, showing us a new side to the artists and their works.
But Sir Andrew is no stranger to livestreams of his work. May 1 saw the world of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s legacy take to the stage. Sir Andrew made the announcement that his YouTube page, The Shows Must Go On!, would stream the 1999 gala in honour of his 50th birthday.
The works of one of the world’s most recognisable and influential composers were streamed at Royal Albert’s stage for a celebration of Sir Andrew’s biggest hits.
The massive event featured huge stars, like Glenn Close, Sarah Brightman and Michael Ball, performing songs from iconic shows, such as The Phantom of the Opera, Cats, Evita and Jesus Christ Superstar.
Charli XCX’s makes a new album with her fans
Pop music icon Charli XCX’s has been reinventing and refining her own lane in the genre for years now, but her latest album has been shaped by process more than anything. That process is making an album with her fans in quarantine.
The Fancy collaborator revealed on her Twitter that she’s begun working on a follow-up studio album to 2019’s Charli and that the extra free time could speed up the recording process. Using her social media channels, Charli began working on a new album and her number one collaborator was her fanbase.
When making her new album, How I’m Feeling Now, Charli asked her fans to send in their poetry, instrumentals, lyrics and other work to be part of the album. She also kept fans constantly updated with the creative process, from the song writing to the conceptual, recording, marketing and release process, as well as letting people in on her own thoughts of life in quarantine.
“This self quarantine is coming at a time where I was almosttttttt finished with the writing process of my next album,” Charli wrote on an Instagram. “I had one song left to write and then it was all about finishing and production and artwork etc.”
The LP has had an extremely quick release date, considering Charli has admitted that she tends to work slowly on her own – “like boomer slow tbh,” she joked.