Each week, I receive a variety of e-mails announcing livestream performances. Some streams are free, others are not.
As I review the offerings, my heart breaks for the performers who have lost work and are struggling through the pandemic. Many artists have watched their calendars go from full to empty, as spring, summer, and fall concerts were cancelled. Four months into the pandemic, we’re starting to see a few socially-distanced performances. But as reentry to concert halls continues to be on hold, “ticketed” livestreams are becoming more prevalent.
This week, I wrote about the live reunion of the Miró Quartet, who will perform all 16 Beethoven string quartets from July 16 to August 8. The price for a 12-concert pass is $120, which translates to just $10 per performance. Worth it? Ticket buyers will decide. I must say, I hope they decide it is. I personally think it’s as valid an approach as it is to charge for online lessons. Yes, there’s a difference between live and virtual. But there’s still great value being provided online, as well as the opportunity to reach a broader audience than ever.
Let’s take the Miro’s performances as an example. The original plan was for the quartet to perform in Washington state. I certainly would not have been able to attend. Now, I have the opportunity to hear this wonderful quartet perform live for only $10. In addition, I can download the scores from IMSLP (for free) and follow along — something I couldn’t do if I were sitting in a real venue. And I’ll have a better view of the musicians than from the “nosebleed” seats I can typically afford.
Don’t let my bias sway you. Trust me, I’ll be one of the first back in the concert halls when they are safe to reopen. I’m not saying streaming should replace in-person attendance. But it does have some upsides. What do you think? Please choose whatever answer corresponds best to your current thinking, then share your thoughts in the comments. It would be great if you would also comment on your livestream experiences to date.
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