By Hannah Mercanti
According to some musicians, the initial struggle to adapt to a fully online environment now makes for new, innovative methods of performance.
According to a study from Statistics Canada, the sound recording industry suffered the least during the pandemic, yet solo performers and musical groups were largely left without familiar ways to promote and perform their work.
“The best thing you can do when you put out new music is to go out, tour, and connect with people face to face, and that wasn’t possible for a long time.” said Ezra Jordan, a Toronto based recording artist, in a phone interview.
(Visualization by Daysha Loppie)
“Initially, people weren’t as engaged at online shows as they are when you’re playing for them live. It was difficult to adapt to the new environment.”
Despite the fact that live performance is largely back in Ontario, Jordan says many artists feel their engagement with listeners had gone down during the pandemic.
However, technological developments have led to platforms like live streaming and social media gaining more traction and legitimacy among artists and fans.
Gabriella Kowalski, a recording artist and the events and activations assistant for the city of London, feels the key to adapting in the post-covid music industry is by continuing the use of online methods of performance.
“When I started live streaming my music, listeners would comment on the streams and let me know how they liked my songs. It allowed me to have an engaging connection with my audience despite the distance.”
These new methods of performance will continue to prevail long after the pandemic, says Dan Brodbeck, a Juno award winning record producer based in London.
“Some listeners like online more than live performance, so it can actually be beneficial for artists to continue to host events online.”
According to Brodbeck, new methods of online performance will only continue to develop now that COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted.
“Now artists can host concerts that are both online and live-streamed, bringing in a lot of extra revenue,” says Brodbeck. “Dedicated fans can spend hundreds of dollars on tickets for a live show and casual listeners who wouldn’t attend otherwise can spend 20 dollars on a ticket to just watch from home.”
As of 2021, many musicians continue to live stream and perform online despite COVID-19 restrictions being lifted.