Getting The Most Out of An Online Concert: A Guide
Originally Appeared in Charley Magazine January 2021
Thanks to COVID19 (or no thanks rather) we’re seemingly stuck in an all work and no play outside loop. However, modern problems require modern solutions. We order food, we stream fashion shows, we watch movies, and play video games online, so it’s no surprise that the music industry is exploring this new territory in troves. Live online concerts, streamed for fans to watch from the comfort of their own homes. Sounds pretty cool right?
The advantages of an online concert are numerous, so I compiled a few. It’s a safe (and legal) way for fans to experience a live performance no matter how close or far they live from their favorite artist(s). Fans can also sign-up to be in a raffle to be chosen to be broadcast onscreen during the concert for the artists to see and interact with and in some cases ask them a question. Lastly, there are various platforms and apps so fans aren’t limited to specific devices and can rewatch the concert as many times as they want if VOD is available.
However, with the advantages come the disadvantages. This format is still new so the video may buffer or glitch causing fans to miss an important part of the concert. Concerts in another country usually start at a time convenient for the artists and local fans so if you live in Pacific Standard Time staying up anywhere between 11 pm and 4 am for a concert isn’t unheard of.
Advantages and disadvantages aside, I’ve created a guide to make sure that you’re getting the most out of an online concert because they are an experience of a lifetime, even if they are enjoyed at home.
Decorate Your Space
Decorating your space might sound a little silly, but the more you can do to make it feel like a live concert, the better. Posters, plushies, string lights, snacks, lightsticks (for us K-Pop fans) - you name it, nothing is off-limits! Don’t forget to dim the lights, boost the surround sound, and put the concert on the biggest screen you’ve got to make it like you’re there in person. If you have it and the option is available, I also recommend using dual monitors so you can watch the full concert on one screen and tab through the fan cam of your favorite member of the group.
Check your Tech
I can’t stress enough how important it is to check your technology and internet connection beforehand because there’s nothing worse than the WiFi rebooting itself in the middle of a solo.
Make sure everything you need is charged or has fresh batteries, give the sound system a trial run, conduct a WiFi test, and for your K-Pop fans make sure your lightstick is connected via Bluetooth. While there’s no guaranteeing that everything will run smoothly (I’ve seen seven online concerts and issues on three of them), it doesn’t hurt to be a little extra prepared.
Learn A Little of The Language
No one is going to be fluent in a foreign language overnight, but it’s still a good idea to learn a few key phrases, especially for my fellow K-Pop fans. While subtitling is typically offered it’s not instantaneous or up to the minute so it can get pretty confusing. Thankfully, a few groups have English-speaking members who will often summarize what was just said so you can get the gist of the conversation. However, if the subtitles get too confusing you can turn them off and wait to watch the VOD version of the concert if it was available to purchase (please note VOD can take 2-6 months).
Sign Up to Be On the Big Screen
Whether it’s signing up to be on the big screen or a combination of being on the big screen and participating in the live Q&A segment with your favorite artist it is worth it. Not only can your favorite artist see you, but they can also hear you when the staff turns up the volume which is meaningful to them. While your artist gets to see and hear you (something they’ve become accustomed to), you as a fan get to show your spirit by making signs, signing along, and participating in cheering for them. So if you’re not too camera-shy, check out fan cafés, the ticketing website for the concert, and Twitter to find out if and how you can participate.
Get There Early
Even though you aren’t going anywhere it’s still a good idea to get to the concert a little early. Some online concerts will feature pre-show reels, music videos, and various other content the artist has created for fans -- starting 30 to 60 minutes before the show. It’s also a great way to meet fellow fans before the show in the comments section and build off each other’s excitement together.
Invite Your Friends or Family to Join
Getting together with your friends or family to watch your favorite artist is a great way to make a live online concert feel almost as exciting and energetic as an in-person one. Be sure to check your local social distancing rules first before inviting over a slew of people and becoming tomorrow’s new headlines for not compiling. If you can’t get together in-person consider a video call with screen sharing so you can watch together and share your reactions in real-time!
Another bonus of live online concerts -- there’s no overpriced food or beverages (although I do miss them). Plus there’s no stress of trying to figure out how to carry food with all the merch you just bought and not spill, ruin or drop something in the process of getting back to your seat. So grab your favorite snacks, some beverages (including water if you plan to sing along), and get ready for an experience you’ll never forget!
The Comments Section
If there’s a comments section on the platform you’re watching on (and there usually is as artists like to read/react to comments live during breaks between performances) don’t be afraid to hop in! It’s a great way to show support for your favorite group, get other fans’ reactions on what is happening, and get support if your lightstick isn’t working.
Stay Involved Post-Show
Just because the screen is black doesn’t mean it’s over. A lot of time there’s still plenty of action awaiting fans whether it’s an encore performance, new album announcement, new music video, or a surprise live stream with fans (that won’t be included in the VOD). Additionally from behind-the-scenes photos and selfies to post-concert articles and performance videos from the concert itself, artists seemingly trying to keep fans well-fed (whether they attended the concert or not).
If you haven’t tried a live online concert, I highly recommend it. They are cool, fun, and a great way to engage with fellow fans and the artists (if you are so lucky) in a way you may otherwise not have had the opportunity to.