Noticed anything interesting about live productions recently? They seemed to have quadrupled in size, quality and most certainly budget and it’s begging us to ask the question: are live productions getting too big? And what does this mean for smaller artists?
As always at our Music Industry Mondays events, we provide top tips from industry professionals on how you can flourish in the music industry. This week we discussed whether live productions are getting too big with our original host Ipek Ozsoy (back for one night only!) and LCCM Principal Anthony Hamer-Hodges.
After watching Rihanna seamlessly float in mid-air for her Super Bowl half-time performance the night before – accompanied by a tremendous 280 backup dancers – we had some questions about the huge production values of performances today.
When did performances get THIS big?
The quality of performances nowadays is undoubtedly incredible. A big space and a guitar are no longer enough for audiences it seems (looking at you, Ed Sheeran).
The Super Bowl halftime show is one of the most anticipated entertainment events of the year and has advertisers falling over backwards just to get a three-minute slot. It manages to pull in an average of 100 million viewers every year with acts like Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney, Beyoncé and Lady Gaga making showstopping appearances.
The show also has advertisers falling over backwards just to get a three-minute slot, so understandably, this show has to be a big deal.
But big productions have been around for a while. Daft Punk’s 2007 concert Alive appeared to be ahead of its time within just the first couple of minutes. And artists such as The Rolling Stones have been putting on huge shows for their audiences, grossing over $300 million for their Licks Tour back in 2002.
These huge figures are all well and good, but where does that leave smaller artists?
Can smaller artists keep up?
If you’re reading this blog, you’re likely an emerging talent taking your first steps on the live circuit, or even worse, (sorry) you’re right in the middle.
For artists nowadays, you’re either a big deal or you’re not. It’s tough for those in-between artists who may have a little street cred bubbling up, but can’t yet afford the massive productions that bigger artists are pulling off like Lizzo and her team of dancers that go wherever she goes.
With the rise of high-production value performances and the pressure to innovate and create something truly iconic, are these artists creating a new benchmark that smaller artists can’t compete with?
If you’re a smaller artist wondering how to keep up, Ipek and Anthony have some suggestions for you – like the creative use of projectors. By pointing several projectors at the right angles, you can create an otherworldly experience for your audience, especially when it comes to playing around with the architecture of the room and the acoustics.
For more suggestions, you can click here to watch the entire event and hear more ideas from our lovely students!
It’s more than just the music
We know we’re all about having a music-first mindset here at LCCM but in this case, you need a little more than that.
People want shows that are visually stimulating as well as shows that play their favourites. They want to feel moved and experience something more than just listening to the music. Take ABBA Voyage for example – according to Ipek, everyone she knows who has seen that show has left crying. Now that’s an experience.
When it comes to concerts, live performances and shows that are viewed by millions, it doesn’t just become about the music anymore. This is the entertainment industry after all and at the end of the day, audiences want to be entertained. You don’t have to be Rihanna to put on a good performance so don’t be put off when you start thinking about how you can take your live performances to another level!
Want to join us for our next event and share your thoughts? (Or just come along to hear everyone else’s, that’s fine too) you can get tickets for future events right here.