Musicians thrive, both artistically and financially, on concerts that place fans in close proximity, sometimes shoulder-to-shoulder. Under normal circumstances, the biggest safety concerns at concerts are bag checks, but COVID-19 changed that virtually overnight.
Shortly after the NBA set a precedent by cancelling the rest of its season, other sports teams, musicians, and specialty events followed suit. From the Kentucky Derby to Coachella, every major event has been postponed until the COVID-19 pandemic is no longer a threat.
This has encouraged musicians to get creative and connect with their fans in other ways. Most notably, to make up for cancelled tours and studio sessions, musicians are taking their concerts online.
Lady Gaga and Global Citizen Collaborate for Star-Studded Global Broadcast
On April 6, Global Citizen announced its One World: Together at Home broadcast in partnership with curator Lady Gaga. Hosted by late night funny men Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, and Stephen Colbert, musicians including John Legend, Taylor Swift, Alicia Keys, Celine Dion, and Sam Smith are joining to perform and raise funds for COVID-19 relief.
Lady Gaga has already raised over $35 million ahead of the event. She explained in a press conference that the concert is meant to “tell the stories of and celebrate the front line communities, health care workers and their acts of kindness.”
You can catch this two-hour fundraising special on April 18 from 8 to 10 p.m. ET. It will air on NBC, ABC, CBS, BBC, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and other streaming services and social platforms.
Elton John and iHeart Throw Benefit Concert for COVID-19 Relief
Elton John kicked off his COVID-19 efforts on March 29 when he banded together with iHeart to throw a benefit concert called the iHeart Living Room Concert for America. Stars like Billie Eilish, Mariah Carey, and Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong performed sets from their personal phones, using their own audio equipment. The concert encouraged donations to Feeding America and First Responders Children of America.
Individual Stars Turn to Social Media to Perform
Beyond major fundraising concerts, plenty of stars have turned to social media to connect with their fans. Some are posting brief three to four minute clips of songs, while others are live streaming full home events.
Country legend Garth Brooks and his country megastar wife, Trisha Yearwood, live streamed a free concert on Facebook Live on March 23. They took requests from fans and performed favorites such as “The Dance” and “Wrapped Up in You”.
As Brooks said in his tweet advertising the event, “Let’s let music connect us during this disconnected time!”
Other stars are performing from home using MTV’s new “Unplugged at Home” series that record artists as they perform two or three “stripped down acoustic versions of their greatest hits” and “discuss meaning and inspiration behind each song from the comfort of their own homes.” Wyclef Jean, JoJo, FINNEAS, Alessia Cara, and many other big names have performed in this way.