James Haidak: The pandemic has made live streaming more popular than ever

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James Haidak laments the fact that professional DJs who rely on live gigs to make a living have been hit hard by the pandemic. Add to that the uncertainty of when and how things will return to normal, and things just look bleaker.

However, history has shown that sudden shifts in the global system can lead to the streamlining of ideas. For today’s world, that idea is live streaming. In the past six months, the dynamics of dance music culture have changed, perhaps permanently.

All over the world, DJs are embracing live streaming, staying engaged with their fans, integrating track IDs and creative production into their performances, and even raising money for people in need.

While COVID-19 has dealt a great blow to businesses and events everywhere, people always find a way to make a living. For DJs, they have replaced music clubs and festivals with a burgeoning virtual culture over streaming sites such as Twitch. In these virtual spaces, fans chat with each other during a real-time performance, get to see their favorite DJs up close and personal, and feel connected in ways that social distancing and safety protocols restrict.

Live streaming in a broader scope could only be possible if the most popular DJs would be willing to perform from their home, which would be a massive adjustment for performers used to playing in front of thousands of adoring fans each week. One of the positive things to come out of this is that music fans are finding new ways to connect and dance in smaller groups and more socially distanced locations.

It also has to be said that in the past few weeks, the audience has grown. While smaller groups tune in to live-stream shows, the rise in popularity has led to an increase in the number of groups, with more and more people “attending” the event. The experience is different from being at a festival, but it’s still special and unique.

Today, only after a few months, live streaming has become phenomenally popular. Some streaming sites have even reported a massive influx of subscribers, with numbers skyrocketing to four times their usual figures.

Even with everyone still eagerly awaiting the return of nightclubs, music venues, and festivals, it seems quite clear that, rather than shut down music and DJs, COVID-19 has expanded dance culture in unforeseen ways that will only strengthen the community bond.