Staying In, Rocking Out: Online Live Music Portal Shows During the 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic

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    The 2020 Covid-19 global pandemic has greatly impacted societies around the world, where governmental strategies to curb and control the outbreak have resulted in citizens being unable to attend public businesses and spaces. For musicians who rely on touring as a dominant part of their income, the pandemic has had a hugely negative effect on their finances since they can no longer play face-to-face shows. However, a number of artists have turned to digital media to remedy this, performing online to audiences via Web 2.0 platforms. To better understand this cultural phenomenon, the article introduces the concept of portal shows that employ a converge between traditional live gigs, screen media and new media technologies. Analysing the textual, affective, performative and economic dynamics of portal shows, the article examines three differing case studies: Code Orange’s album release show on Twitch.TV, Beach Slang’s acoustic performance on StageIt and Delta Sleep’s in-store show on Instagram. In doing so, the article argues portal shows offer novel and nuanced ways artists and audiences can engage with one another through spatial convergence afforded by video streaming technologies and digital interfaces. Such live events also offer just-in-time fan engagement but does so within a digital transcultural remit, aiding the support of virtual scenes. As a result, the article expands on what is considered pandemic media and subsequent audience affective registers and enriches the study of the music industry’s engagement with digital media and wider convergence cultures more generally.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1092-1111
    Number of pages20
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2020


    • COVID19
    • Corona virus
    • music
    • music analysis
    • music fandom
    • live music
    • live music industry
    • online performance
    • Digital Media
    • web 2.0
    • fandom
    • gig economy


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