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What is the ultimate 2020 experience? Staying at home, staying healthy, and yes, watching a lot of TV. Not only was this year a time to catch up with Netflix shows, but also a year to redefine what normal is. One particular industry that has completely changed their definition of normal is the music industry. Up till a year ago, it was easy to picture countless number of fans lined up outside a venue, eager to meet their favorite artists. It was easy to picture extremely enthusiastic audience reactions during any performance. 2020 has brought these very events that fans would attend live, such as concerts, award ceremonies, and stand up comedies, straight to our homes. 

For anyone who has been watching many events live streamed online for ages now, this new era of virtual events may not shock you. But, there is just something about online events this year that cannot be explained simply – this year’s online events are more SPECIAL!

S is for Strategic

Artists were quick to respond to the ongoing pandemic and deliver music and performances to their fans. From NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Home Concerts to Global Citizens One World: Together at Home event, artists delivered content through every medium possible during a time of great difficulty. The way in which the industry responded through music was truly admirable. 

P is for Passion

Live or not live, passion is passion – and it shows in a performance! People listen to music for reward, to feel, to relax. When an artist delivers a performance, people connect to that performance and the meaning behind it. This year, Demi Lovato delivered a powerful performance at the Pepsi Unmute Your Voice Live Event. Despite not having an audience, Demi Lovato’s passion and the message she wanted to deliver about her hardships came through in her vocally stunning performance. With many, many online events taking place, artists pour every bit of what they have – and possibly more, to engage with fans – and we’re here for it! 

E is for Exhilarating 

New music releases and new content is always exciting. With events being cancelled and everyone’s plans being put on hold, new music has been healing and refreshing. Staying up and tuning into YouTube to listen to a new song the minute it comes out, is an experience like none other. This year, like every other year, brought more exciting music – Ariana Grande’s Positions, Lady Gaga’s Chromatica, Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia, MAMAMOO’s Travel-Ep, and the Weekend’s After hours, to name a few. Which album made you feel “exhilarated”? 

C is for Connectivity 

Not only are artists delivering stunning performances, they are also working hard to connect with their fans from all over the world through various platforms. Instagram live, V live, Weverse are just three platforms that allow this. This year, Justin Bieber did a few Instagram lives where he invited fans to join into conversations and hear their voices. Furthermore, some artists, like Seventeen, even gave fans the opportunity to have one-on-one virtual interactions, imitating a fan meeting. 

I is for Inexpensive

Online events take away the pressure of travel. This year, many events were live streamed on different applications like YouTube, for free. Therefore, sitting down to enjoy an evening of music amidst the pandemic was comparably less expensive than attending an event. Events that required payment were also relatively cheaper than live events. BTSs concert tickets cost an average of $141. However, their tickets to the Map of the Soul: One online concert cost $52. 

A is for Alone

The beauty of a live concert is interacting with other fans who share the same passion and interests about music as you do. Watching a concert at home can feel lonely. Who do you talk to? Can you scream? Can you sing-along? Will you neighbors complain if you do sing (probably scream) along? If you ever find yourself watching an event alone, just grab a tub of ice-cream – food is the best partner! 

L is for Let’s tell a story! 

There are many things we can learn and adapt to from this year’s virtual events. This year is also when a lot of firsts of the music industry took place. If there’s one thing that everyone can take away from the online events, it’s that they get to brag about how they attended the first online concerts! Yes, it was the ultimate 2020 experience.

Harshita (more commonly known as Harshi - in fact, so commonly, that she is unresponsive towards anyone calling her Harshita) is an FSE student at Waseda. Her hobbies include singing and sleeping. Harshi hopes to use this platform to explore different forms of writing and what she is capable of.
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