Creators across industries have had to rethink what their in-person events look like because of the challenges of COVID-19. One of the greatest pivots has been in the music industry. Large in-person concerts are hoped to resume in the summer. But for now, artists have shifted to performing live concerts online, and creators have put their ingenuity to the test and come up with amazing virtual and socially distanced events.

Some of our favourite creative shifts have come from the creators on our platform. Unable to host large gatherings indoors, event creator Max Fox started Safe Events in 2020 to stage drive-in cinema screenings and tribute concerts in a field near Blackpool. The New Scene has been hosting Lockdown Live, a series of livestream concerts filmed at a Bedford theatre with proceeds going toward helping musicians break out and reach new audiences. And for something completely different, a team launched immersive platform Sansar, offering both organisers and audiences a highly interactive online gig experience.

These creators adapted their events for the current social climate, and many realised that sometimes virtual concerts alone aren’t enough to draw a crowd. We’ve explored 10 ways that creators have upgraded their online concerts to inspire you to take your virtual music event to the next level.

1. Offer merch packages

One of the perks of attending a concert has always been exclusive merchandise, and this doesn’t have to change with the shift to live virtual concerts. Offer exclusive merch like T-shirts and records to attendees before, during, and after the event. Consider a merch package or add-on that can be purchased alongside tickets and sent to a home address so that your audience can enjoy their new swag and the livestream at the same time.

2. Get fans excited with related events

Build anticipation for your online gigs by inviting ticket-holders to other events related to your theme or the musical artists that are performing. Host a fan art contest with prizes like free tickets or merchandise, or put together karaoke sessions where fans can belt out their best cover versions of your performers’ songs. Extra events like these are additional opportunities to sell merch, boost ticket sales, and create shareable content.

3. Create a VIP experience

Usually, the more you pay for a concert ticket, the closer you are to the performance. Even though everyone has the same vantage point during live virtual concerts, you can still provide your attendees with tiered experiences. Offering VIP packages at different price points with perks like song requests, shout-outs, bonus content, or a Q&A with the performers can create an exclusive feel.

4. Make it a series

More concerts mean more ticket sales and the opportunity to showcase more artists. Pick a theme for your series of events, like celebrating International Women’s Day or Black History Month, and plan live virtual concerts with a number of related performers. Chances are your attendees will want to see more than one of the concerts, such as in a multi-day music festival with exciting performances at multiple online “stages.”

5. Include more performers

You can also bring together multiple performers for one larger event made up of smaller sets, like a virtual music festival, rather than featuring a single headliner. With more artists involved, you’ll pique the interest of a greater pool of potential attendees.

6. Offer unique extras

In many ways, live virtual concerts have the advantage of being more convenient than many in-person events. Attendees will love that they don’t have to wait in long lines for merch or pay premium prices for food and beverages. And online concerts can be made truly special with other experiences that attendees wouldn’t be guaranteed in person. Special cover performances, screenings of creative music videos, or throwback shows of older albums make watching from home a treat.

7. Make it a fundraiser

COVID-19 has hit the music industry hard – so why not donate some, or all, of your proceeds to a great musical cause? Lots of local venues are struggling in the time of virtual events, and could benefit from the support of the musical community. Contributing to charitable causes of any kind with your profits can make an enormous positive impact, and has the added benefit of boosting your reach because concert-goers will love to feel good about where they spend their pounds. Have a look at some unique fundraising ideas to get you started.

8. Get more intimate

It can be hard to recreate the closeness of an in-person concert during an online concert streaming. Setting up a Q&A with your performers or streaming behind-the-scenes video content can give your attendees that up-close-and-personal feeling.

9. Add real-time chat

Livestreaming services like Zoom and Twitch offer chat services so that attendees can interact with each other while they enjoy the music, which is an aspect of live concert-going that many are missing. This won’t interrupt your performers, and if any of your attendees would rather sit back and just listen to the music event, they can easily minimise the chat.

10. Turn it into a hybrid event

If you have space and local regulations allow, consider a drive-in event that is also livestreamed for fans who can’t make it in person. Drive-in events have grown by 1200% on Eventbrite, and they’re a great way to give attendees the opportunity to enjoy an outdoor concert.

Bring people together with music, virtually

With the right tools and proper planning, you can put on a memorable virtual music event to rival any in-person concert. A clear picture and beautiful sound quality are essential. A Pan-Tilt-Zoom (PTZ) camera, which can be operated remotely, will provide your events with high-quality video, but the venue you’re streaming from may have high-quality equipment that you can use. You can also consider hiring a sound engineer to help ensure that nothing takes away from your artists’ performance. Look into your options for a robust internet connection and the right streaming service for your needs to prevent any glitches or a dropped wireless signal.

When you’re ready, we’re here with our virtual events platform to help you market your event and reach potential attendees everywhere.

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