Isolation has lended everyone the opportunity to reflect on what we’re grateful for, what we truly value and what we miss most about the outside world. A few things high on those lists for us? Community, gatherings and, most of all, live music. From the artists performing impressive livestream shows and the millions of viewers pouring into listening rooms around the world — we’re thrilled to see so many people coming together to connect, appreciate good music, and support the independent artists around the world who have been affected by COVID-19.
Because live music isn’t just a fun thing to do on a night out, it’s a crucial part of artist careers and a valuable piece of our culture.
While streaming and making a profit are helpful and necessary ways to gauge an artist’s success, nothing quite beats a live performance. From growing audience numbers at each show and livestream, to testing out new material, live shows are a long-proven tool that help perfect songs and build artists into knock out performers.
Ticket and merch sales help artists pay the bills (i.e. rent, studio fees, new merch, etc) and are the most lucrative way for artists to pursue their craft. As shows have been on pause due to COVID-19, independent artists have been deeply affected by the loss of IRL shows. (You can support independent artists by donating to the Sofar Global Artist fund and tuning in to the Sofar listening room and donating to the performing artist.)
It takes more than artists to make a show run. Tour crews, sound techs, venue staff, and so many more people contribute to the magic of live music, and are also deeply affected by the venue closures and show cancellations caused by COVID-19. While audiences are missing the thrill and connection of a live show, many in the industry are missing their everyday routines, tours, workloads, and income.
One of our favorite things about the Sofar listening room is the power it has to bring people together. We may be gathering around a laptop instead of a bar or rooftop venue, but we’re still getting the chance to laugh, dance, feel, and be moved by others in real-time. Live performances have the power to turn a two-dimensional album into a three-dimensional experience. For artists, this is a crucial step in connecting with new fans on an emotional, in-person level that can’t be mimicked with streaming. We’re honored by the vulnerability we’ve seen from our Sofar artists during their livestream shows, and we love watching the audience chat about the experience. Sofar shows have even been setting where audience members have fostered new friendships, met their significant others, and even gotten engaged!
Live shows are more than just a good time. They’re a cultural experience, the likes of which can influence concert-goers and shape the cities around them. What would New Orleans be without its historic jazz scene? Where would grunge rock be without the first garage shows in Seattle? Can you imagine a world without Flamenco? So many of the genres we know and love would never have taken off without the intricate culture of live shows that built them.
More than 50% of Americans attend live music events every year. When asked what defined them most as a person, concert-goers in a study conducted by Live Nation ranked music above religion, race, politics, and hometown.
In a time when community, culture, and connection are more important than ever, we’re grateful to still have live music to look forward to, live audiences to connect with, and an amazing community determined to support independent artists around the world. While the artists we love aren’t able to play IRL shows at the moment, luckily for us they’re still showcasing their talents on platforms like the Sofar listening room every day. You can support the independent artists who bring us all together by donating directly to the performing artists in the Sofar listening room or to the Sofar Sounds Global Artist Fund.