As much as some artists may not like it, technology and music often merge together and form a love-hate relationship. Technology has enabled musicians to have stunning audio-visuals at concerts, but at the same time, illegal downloading has been a big problem in the industry for a while now. The use of mobile phones at concerts to record music has also been considered as damaging to the live show experience.
But now, the advances in technology may change the music industry once more.
Earlier this year, Twitter launched Periscope – a new mobile app which enables users to live-stream videos to an audience. Since its launch, numerous musicians have used Periscope to broadcast part of their shows to a global audience.
However, aside from when artists use the app themselves, what does live-streaming mean in terms of how it may affect the experience of a live concert performance?
Already, a video has gone viral on social media after it shows an audience member at a concert on FaceTime to his friend. Whilst it may be funny at first, does the video tell a cautionary tale about the future relationship between technology and music? Could Periscope affect the live show experience?
It is possible, but the change may not be slowly – and perhaps somewhat reluctantly – accepted by the music industry like that of using mobile phones to record concerts.
On this occasion, viewers from across the world can be part of the audience without having to pay the price of a ticket. In that sense, we face a problem slightly similar to illegal downoading – where it is those who pay to listen to music and attend concerts who keep the industry alive when compared to those who don’t.
But if there’s anything to learn from the rise of illegal downloading, it’s that identifying the issue early could stop it from developing. Whilst illegal downloading was – and still is – hard to monitor and prevent, we shouldn’t let live-streaming at concerts develop to a point where it is accepted by the music industry because it is hard to control.
For example, concert venues could place restrictions on cameras or restrict internet access during performances. Whilst it is only a few individuals that might be using live-streaming at concerts, then the problem is more manageable.
It is once the issue is adopted on a national or global level that things become serious. Those who pay the money to see the show live feel ripped off if they see 200 people seeing the show for free via. live-streaming.
Granted, TV channels adopt a similar position when it comes to live-streaming certain festivals, for example. But as much as live-streaming by audience members might frustrate or rip-off others in the crowd, it also affects the musicians and their companies when they don’t receive the money they deserve.
At a time where live-streaming has only just become mainstream, now is the time for questions to be asked before technology leads to another change in the music industry.
Periscope have been contacted but were unavailable for comment.
By Liam O’Dell