How Artists Are Entertaining Massive Stay-At-Home Audiences From Their Own Home, Often For Free

It was a matter of time before we would see innovations in media and entertainment as the Coronavirus spreads, forcing more and more governments to enforce and extend lockdown provisions. With India and Russia joining in the last few days, more than 3 billion people are now under stay-at-home orders. With a massive captive audience craving quality content, what key trends are emerging?

Professional home studio productions

As both content creators and audiences got stuck at home, plenty of amateur content emerged in platforms like Tik Tok, YouTube, and Twitch. But increasingly professional artists and media companies are capitalizing on the opportunity to share content and promote talent, cheer up the new massive global stay-at-home society, and provide a service to society.

Take, for example, the Living Room Concert broadcast on Sunday on Fox, led by Elton John and featuring top artists like Billie Eilish, Demi Lovato, Sam Smith, Tim McGraw, Camila Cabello, Shawn Mendes, Mariah Carey, and Alicia Keys. It scored 4.6 million viewers, tied American Idol in ratings, and raised so far $8 Million for Coronavirus aid. It was really interesting to see musicians collaborate from the comfort of their own homes. Watch this short clip with Tim McGraw singing from his pool with his dog, accompanied remotely and in sync by three musicians.

As the entertainment industry sees this trend explode, you should expect more of these professional productions, with big names like those in the Living Room Music concert. Also, expect innovative home productions of traditional programming. For example, John Oliver started his HBO Last Week Tonight show from home on Sunday, and Trevor Noah introduced a stay-at-home version of his Daily Show last week, calling it The Daily Social Distancing Show.

Emerging artists join the bandwagon

With a massive stay-at-home audience at their fingertips and accessible technologies for remote collaborative creation, up and coming artists and creatives are joining the bandwagon. Leslie Kreiner, Director of the MFA Program in Writing for Screen and Television at Pepperdine’s Seaver College, states: “This situation may present a unique strategic opportunity for those hoping to break into the business. They can write and shoot with their iPhones and broadcast through various social media platforms.”

Networks, production companies, talent agents and managers will intensify their virtual search for new talent in the midst of an unprecedented halt in new studio productions and live sports. It’s a good opportunity for emerging artists, although they will have to compete hard to generate attention as many other artists join the bandwagon. For example, dancer Charli D’Amelio is now the most popular artist on Tik Tok with 44.2 million followers and billions of views, even though she joined the platform just last summer. See one of her recent videos with Jennifer Lopez prior to lockdown.

Free Content Amidst High Demand for Streaming

From the two trends above, there is already an influx of free high quality content. Free virtual live events and concerts are becoming a common theme, as content creators compete for eyeballs and organize charity events. Free and promotional offers to recorded shows and films are also becoming common, including free trials to streaming services. In music, for example, Amazon Music Unlimited is offering a 90-day trial.

Stay-at-home audiences benefit because they satisfy their craving for quality content. Social media and user-generated content platforms also win in the midst of the industry crisis, because they get top content in their platforms. Streaming services are also benefiting from a surge in viewership.

In the meantime, the only chance for many artists and performers is to produce quality content from their own homes, often for free. It’s really a tough and unprecedented time for artists and entertainment companies, but hopefully many will bubble up to success with their creative innovations.

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