Aaron Swain's blog about Southern Gospel Music, News, and other items of interest in the SG world.
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Archive for December 17th, 2011

Online Concerts: Flash In The Pan, or Starting A Trend?

December 17, 2011 By: Aaron Category: Booth Brothers, Concert Reviews, SG Artists, SG History, SG Music

Last week, I won a ticket to a Booth Brothers concert in a giveaway on SouthernGospelBlog.com. Big deal, you might say. Here’s the catch: the concert was not in a church, a concert hall, or even outdoors. No, the concert was held in the living/dining room area of a recording studio (I believe it was Homeland), and the audience consisted of myself and many others across the United States, and even in foreign countries, if I remember correctly. This wonder was accomplished with a relatively new technology that has found its way to our genre of music. Thanks to the American Society of Gospel Music (ASGM), that concert was one of the first to be held in a new venue: online.

To be clear, musical events being broadcast online is surely not a new event. National Quartet Convention has had a live stream on the web for several years, and the Singing News Fan Awards are also available to watch online, as well as other events throughout the year.  What separates these events from what the Booth Brothers did last night is the fact that these events have a live audience and just happen to be available for online viewing. The Booth Brothers sang to zero live audience; the concertgoers were all watching from computers. The dynamic of audience participation was absent, and there was no applause. In a live concert setting, they also don’t have to deal with the concert completely going out (at least, I’d hope not!). I was impressed with the class with which the Booth Brothers handled all the technical difficulties, giving the full music and Q&A section as promised.

The question here is whether or not this will become a more regular thing. This concept of using technology usually reserved for “webinars” to hold an online concert is certainly an interesting one, and the ASGM, by all indications, is planning on conducting more. Before the BB concert, there was a full schedule being displayed of other groups doing online concerts in the coming months.

I would say that this will catch on, but only if they can work to bring the technical issues down to a minimum (which is certainly not their fault; technology can be fickle). There are enough SG fans with an Internet connection these days that the idea of paying for a ticket to watch your favorite group do a concert for you online would be appealing, especially if they don’t come to your area very much. However, if half the concert experience is spent waiting for the thing to come back online, the advent of concerts on the Internet will go on a fast decline.