In 2020, livestreamed concerts became a digital tether to a world that had been drastically altered by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Just like the explosion of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Houseparty, and Zoom, virtual concert experiences became a form of release for those who were cooped up inside and found themselves with extra time on their hands. Now, two years removed from the beginning of a new reality, streaming giants are still trying to shoehorn livestreamed concerts into our diet of musical consumption.
Apple Music announced in a tweet that it would be rolling out a new recurring concert series called Apple Music Live. Harry Styles will be the first act to headline this set of shows which are intended to “give the biggest stars in music the biggest possible platform,” to connect with their audiences. Styles will be performing live from UBS arena in Long Island, New York.
The series begins this Friday, May 20, and coincides with the release of Styles’ third studio album, Harry’s House. It’s been three years since he dropped Fine Line — his last project. If you’re into Styles and his music, Apple Music Live also released some Styles-adjacent content, which includes an in-depth interview with Zane Lowe about the making of the new record.
The future of music?— Appetite for livestreamed shows isn’t necessarily a given. A club night over Zoom probably can’t replace the energy and sense of intimacy you can feel when surrounded by people reciting the lyrics of your favorite artist. Still, the attempts at replicating this kind of experience are seemingly here to stay.
Fortnite, with its set of in-game concerts, allowed users to exist as a digital avatar while the stage and set-up for Travis Scott or Ariana Grande, exceeded what would be possible in real-life. There were also more niche events held in other games like Minecraft, that still aimed for immersion through a more dynamic experience that differed from static video feeds of an artist performing in their own space, or in the case of Apple Music Live, a massive arena.
Now, even a couple years removed from the livestreaming boom of 2020, virtual concerts still function as a way to juice streams and bring in a new host of subscribers to a given streaming service.