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14 May 2021

Research finds live streamed concerts are here to stay post-pandemic

New research finds artists are overwhelmingly positive about the power of accessing new audiences through live-streaming concerts


New research into live streaming music gigs has found artists are overwhelmingly positive about the power of accessing new audiences through this approach, and that most music fans are not deterred by having to pay for some live streamed shows. 

The research, led by Middlesex University and supported by Study co-author Dr Brian Kavanagh, Lecturer in Digital Innovation at King's, was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

The research, with the help of project partners including the Musicians’ Union, the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM), the Music Venue Trust, and Serious, also offers musicians an insight into fans’ experiences and expectations of live streamed gigs and concerts, plus detailed advice on the technical and legal aspects of live streaming.

A survey of musicians and concertgoers for the study, covering both classical and popular music across a wide variety of genres, found:

- 90% of musicians and 92% of fans agreed live streaming will in future be a successful tool to reach audiences unable or unwilling to go to physical venues. Over two thirds of those surveyed agreed livestreaming will remain an important part of the landscape after the pandemic

- 72% of live music fans and 74% of musicians agree that live streamed performances should be paid for. In addition, 62% of fans say the cost of paywalls for live streamed shows aren’t a barrier. 78% of fans would be prepared to pay for a live stream show by an artist who is offering some other live streamed content for free

- 95% of fans say emotional engagement from the artist during live stream concerts is important to them. 82% agreed that performers acknowledging individuals’ presence in the audience during a live stream made them feel connected


Access to live music events emerged as an important theme in our research, not only the potential of livestreamed concerts to reach audiences globally but also music fans who suffer from social anxiety or other health-related issues that prevents them from attending music events in a physical venue. The ability to reach global audiences through livestreaming may prove especially important for UK-based musicians in a post-Brexit world. Livestreaming became a default for many musicians and concert goers during the pandemic, it will be interesting to see how it will fit within the broader music industry ecosystem once in-person concerts return, perhaps a hybrid model will emerge to give audiences the choice of attending events such as the Glastonbury Festival in-person or online

Dr Brian Kavanagh

Musicians were split in their opinions about their future financial prospects from live streaming concerts, with 56% disagreeing and 44% agreeing that, long term, earnings from live streaming will provide a viable, additional income stream.

Large majorities of fans surveyed said that performers talking to the audience and acknowledging individuals’ presence during a live stream performance made them feel connected. The study notes that for this feeling of connection to have full effect, the live stream needs to remain a one-off and live experience, not recorded.

1484 people took part in the survey – 48% fans, 52% musicians. The researchers contacted 200 concert venues and 20 music and arts publications, inviting them to send out the survey, and interviewed five musicians, four concert promoters and a charity as part of the study.

The report is published here:


In this story

Brian Kavanagh

Lecturer in Digital Innovation