Virtual concerts rock our screens

Sophie Yang, Staff Writer

June 27th, 2019. Flashing lights, head-bopping, and excited screams filled Allstate Arena as thousands of fans sang along to Shawn Mendes’ hits from his new album. Although only around a year and a half ago, memories like this are now distant, as large groups, live music, and concerts are now a thing of the past. Among the crowd was junior Allison Lemmon.

“The concert was really good and such a fun experience! It was cool to hear the album and songs live after listening to the studio version so many times and just being there in person after seeing videos of it was amazing. ” Lemmon says.

Live music serves as an escape from everyday life and a place for excitement and fun. Due to the pandemic, the beloved summer festivals and concerts such as Lollapalooza, Pitchfork, and Summer Smash were all canceled. Even though it was the right call in terms of safety from the CDC guidelines, many students were extremely disappointed to not be able to attend. 

“I think that our health comes before anything, and if [Summer Smash] were to happen there would’ve been a massive surge in cases, so [canceling it] was the right thing to do,” junior Annegrace Bambi says.

Quarantine has given many artists time to write and release new music, although tours and concerts will probably not be making a comeback soon. However, artists have found finding alternative, creative means to hook fans and perform songs. H.E.R. and Khalid performed virtually through iHeartRadio for the annual HBCU Homecoming Celebration on Nov. 12th, while Metallica streamed a charity concert on Nov. 14th. 

“I think that it is an amazing idea to keep doing concerts like live streams, it’s very difficult because all of the people who run live concerts are out of jobs, so it’s really cool to see that it can still happen given these circumstances,” sophomore Sam Molitor says.

Even though these online performances aren’t the same as in-person concerts, there are perks that live shows don’t offer. To start, ticket prices are significantly lower. The band Wallows did an entire virtual concert in September where tickets cost $15 a show. According to SeatGeek, for previous live Wallows concerts, the average ticket price was $95. This is around an 84% decrease in pricing which makes virtual concerts more affordable than in-person ones. 

“I purchased a Billie Eilish Livestream concert ticket, and it was really cool to see. I would definitely consider going to another virtual concert because it’s such a creative way to continue to perform during a pandemic,” Molitor explains. 

While live performances aren’t happening, the release of new music hasn’t slowed. By 2020 we’ve gotten top albums such as Folklore by Taylor Swift, Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon by Pop Smoke, Kid Krow by Conan Gray, Legends Never Die by Juice Wrld, These Two Windows by Alec Benjamin, and many more. With only a month left in the year, we still have more to look forward to with artists like Shawn Mendes and Paul McCartney planning to release new albums before the end of the year.

“I’m glad [Mendes] is releasing something during the pandemic because it gets fans excited over something and gives them something to look forward to after being stuck inside for so long,” Lemmon says.

The enjoyment of streaming music may seem subpar to hearing in real life, but consumers have to make the best out of the situation. Musicians continue to write, produce, and release new music every day, and by doing our part in staying safe, we can look forward to one day hearing it live.