Think back to the last time you listened to music. Where were you? Who were you with? What were you feeling? Maybe it was in solitude in the car on your morning commute, through ear buds at the gym, or on vinyl at home. Perhaps as thoughts of errands and the task at hand ran through your mind, no specific emotion connected you with the music. Typical daily occurrence.
Now, think back to the last time you heard live music. Let me pose those same questions. Where were you? Who were you with? What were you feeling? Regardless of the artist or venue of the concert, you probably were able to describe this memory with greater detail.
Live music and recorded music provide two vastly different listening experiences. Self-proclaimed audiophiles may prefer the sound quality of a recording, but there are significant benefits to listening live.
With the rise of streaming services like Pandora, Apple Music, and Spotify, music by our favorite artists is more easily accessible than ten years ago.
However, the convenience of listening on the go or even the privacy of your own home does not provide the same intimacy as live music. The performer creates an emotional connection with the audience members at a concert that is not possible through a recording. The audience feeds off of the energy and excitement of the show, bringing a human quality back to the music. This relationship benefits fans by giving them community, while giving the artist their loyalty.
Live music also supports the livelihood of those in the music industry. Performers earn more of their living through live shows than they do selling albums. If you want to support your favorite band, go see them in concert. In addition to the musicians, a whole team exists behind-the-scenes that makes our favorite artists’ careers function. When you attend a concert, income from ticket sales provides a living to sound engineers, booking agents, tour managers and many other professionals in this creative field. Live shows keep the industry booming.
Lastly, live music creates an experience over a passive activity. Most likely, when you last listened to recorded music, you were doing something else simultaneously. Whether you were working, cleaning, exercising, or driving, listening to recorded music has become a part of multitasking. Conversely, the live music at a concert becomes the focal point of the experience, instead of just background noise. You absorb the sights and sounds around you, without the distractions of anything else. This escapism from being constantly tied to social media or deadlines makes lasting memories with friends and family, while hearing the music as the artist intended.
Recorded music is an integral part of the music industry. It allows people all over the world to be exposed to music they might not otherwise have heard. However, you can support the artists whose music speaks to you best by attending their concerts. Live music provides a truly unique experience that connects you with musicians in a way that cannot be achieved through technology. Keep music human; listen live.
To hear about the significance of live music from the performers' perspective, click here to listen to our podcast, "The Value of the Choral Experience".