Here’s how the pandemic will continue to influence the future of virtual events.
Covid has left an undeniable mark on all of us. While much has changed – some good, some bad, and some ugly, the pandemic changed how we have experienced live events. We need to get used to this change as it will only continue to expand over the next few years. So buckle your seatbelts and get ready to experience a different kind of live event FOREVER.
Many of us didn’t have a choice about how we experienced some of our favorite pastimes in the beginning. Covid-19 prohibited us from leaving our homes, which meant that we all had a collective sense of disconnect and disassociation.
Live streams and virtual events became a saving grace. It made us feel like we were part of something again. It gave us a sense of connection, and we could enjoy a glimpse of normality as we were able to get little pockets of ourselves back again.
Virtual events were not only the savior to the commoner or the Layman, it also saved industries. Artists and creatives found a way to leverage existing digital spaces to gain traction in ways that they might not have done otherwise. Virtual networking and collaboration became commonplace as fans had the once-in-a-lifetime experience of feeling like a fly on the wall in artistic exchanges.
Virtual Music Events
Let’s start with web series, Verzuz. Created by music producers Timbaland and Swizz Beatz, Verzuz started as an Instagram live virtual DJ battle during the pandemic.
Today it has gone on to be sponsored by Doritos and vodka brand Ciroc. As a prerequisite to participating, all artists receive an equipment kit from the music brand, Roland, to create consistency in sound quality. It has garnered partnerships with Apple Music and Twitter, integrating the audio-visual capabilities of Apple and the engagement aspects of Twitter.
The show mostly features R&B and hip-hop artists, who were top of the charts around the same time. They “battle” it out by performing their hit songs live on Instagram.
Verzuz is just one example of how we can utilize platforms that we already access. Sometimes there is no need to reinvent the wheel. We simply need to navigate into unchartered waters.
Social media has made it easy to network virtually. Artists and brands have the opportunity to share their stories and engage their audiences on a more personal level, more so than selling out stadiums.
As more and more people are vaccinated against Covid-19, we predict that the digital aspects of virtual events will continue to be a part of our lives well into the future. “We realize that digital is now an integral part of an event,” said Jean Foster, the senior vice president of marketing and communications for the CTA (Consumer Technology Association) – hosts of CES (Consumer Electronics Show).
CES is a case in point for the evolution of live events. As a result of the pandemic, CES hosted an event out of this world – literally! They featured a virtual stage, floating through space with Billie Eilish headlining the event. The concert featured virtual VIP lounges, animated dancers, and even digital dots floating around, each representing a person live-streaming the event. “Going forward, our plan is for hybrid events where we’ll have a physical audience in Las Vegas, but we’ll also be able to again make that accessible to a much broader digital audience,” says Foster.
And this is only the beginning. We predict that the future of virtual events is about to shake up our lives in a very big way.
Not only are virtual and hybrid events the perfect solution for the moment, but it also sheds necessary light on groups that might have had difficulty accessing events before. It bridges a gap between potential attendees and events.
People who might not have been able to attend an event due to geographical limitations will now be able to participate in events. Caregivers and parents with young kids could attend, and events with on-demand content will offer their attendees the advantage of flexibility – this means that people from all over the world, regardless of time zones and other commitments, will be able to be part of the event.
Although the pandemic has robbed us of our “normal” lives, it has granted us the gift of inclusivity. Events are now accessible to many a group of people that may have been excluded otherwise. Events companies, businesses, and brands now have the opportunity to reach an audience on a much larger scale.
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