Deejay Mash has worked in the entertainment industry for over 20 years. He is also a consultant, event planner, writer and researcher.
Changing face of entertainment
As the world grapples with the various COVID-19 virus waves and strains, and embarks on a cautious, calculated and partial easing of lockdowns, clubs will most probably be the last on the list to resume business fully. This is due to the great difficulty in enforcing social distancing rules during partying. However, partying never stopped even when the virus was at its peak wrecking havoc.
What changed is how and where parties are hosted. Concerts, Dj performances, comedians and other forms of entertainment have shifted to live streams on social media and other platforms. This move was meant to solve the emerging challenges occasioned by lockdowns, isolations and quarantines.
Numerous lessons have been learned during this difficult period in history. Some have provided valuable insight and will be carried forward to the post-pandemic era. A good example is the use of technology as an alternative to broadcast entertainment and effectively reduce physical interaction.
From the ‘One World Together at Home’ virtual concert, an initiative of Lady Gaga, which featured various artist performances, to Dj’s spinning your favourite tracks just like in the club; more shows are now streaming live to be enjoyed in the comfort of homes.
In the course of the pandemic, live online entertainment has come of age.
1.Partying is possible online
Before the pandemic, most people believed that in order to have a good time, a visit to a club or other social hangout joint to attend a party was the only way to go. However, necessity is the mother of invention; club closures and lockdowns prompted the industry to pursue ways on how entertainment would reach their fans regardless of location.
With a huge portion of the world’s population under lockdown and bored, the only viable option that served as a connecter to a large majority was the internet. ‘Quarantine’ and ‘Lockdown’ themed groups on social media were formed and Dj’s and other entertainers begun using them to perform. The idea was an instant hit, and spread fast; live virtual entertainment, which included partying, was officially launched.
Some entertainers choose to advertise, hype their event and then present a live show on their respective social media pages, Youtube channels, via Skype or Zoom. Some charge for their shows, while others perform free-of-charge and depend on tips from their audience. Due to the wide variety of entertainment currently on offer online, fans have been the greatest beneficiaries and are now spoilt for choice. More people also realized that partying at home is possible and should not only be restricted to clubs and other physical venues.
2. Virtual parties will continue post-pandemic
When the virus is finally brought under control and normalcy resumes, it will not mark the end of online virtual parties. When clubs reopen, it will most probably become standard practice to live stream entertainment in real-time, direct from the source. By doing this, clubs will benefit in two major ways;
- By using the live streams as a marketing tool to showcase the entertainment a club offers to attract more revellers and consequently increase the existing customer base in the process.
- As a way to ensure a club’s regular clientele who cannot make it to the club on a particular night, do not miss out and are part and parcel of the action wherever they are. It bolsters a sense of belonging on the absentee customers and promotes brand loyalty as clients feel included and valued by the club.
Distance poses a challenge for people planning to come together like relatives, colleagues and friends, especially if they are scattered across the world. It could take years to organize a get-together at a central location and on a specific day that suits everybody. This should not be the case any more. Virtual interaction can save everybody the logistical nightmare of travel to hook up for a fun-filled night by organizing a party online.
Hosting virtual parties for groups and clubs has the following benefits;
Clubs can only hold a specific number of people at a given time during an event, and it is common for revellers to miss tickets or space especially in popular entertainment joints. This forces some people to either go early before the club fills up to secure their slots, book tables in advance or pay an arm and a leg to gain entry. Virtual parties do away with all these inconveniences since there is no limit on the number of party lovers that can be hosted during a virtual party. Additionally, if an online party is meant only for a select group of people like colleagues or family members, it is possible to provide access to the invitees only and ensure the party remains a private affair.
If an event is huge and attracts a large number of people, everyone gets a front-row seat with no overcrowding, jostling, or restrictions; and the location of the attendees is of no consequence.
Entertainment preferences are diverse. On weekend party nights, clubs try their best to deliver on the varied tastes of revellers by offering mixed cocktails that touch on a little bit of everything, to satisfy a wide range of entertainment demands. With virtual parties, multiple events that cater to a specific form of entertainment or musical genre can be streamed at the same time on various social media platforms. For example, club Instagram live streams can be dedicated to rock lovers, Facebook to a comedy show, YouTube to contemporary music, Zoom to 90’s music, Skype to Afro-beat music, and so on.
Alternatively, one social media site, for example, Facebook, can be used and the different classes of entertainment divided into groups. Party lovers can then join the group which delivers their preferred entertainment. Offering multiple forms of entertainment does not only guarantee a legion of loyal party lovers trooping to the respective sites, but also transforms the online party to a one-stop-shop, all-under-one-roof kind of entertainment powerhouse. These options are not practically possible in a conventional club setting.
Since social media is interactive, instant feedback on the entertainment on offer is possible, and can be used to improve the parties and gauge their level of popularity. Revellers also get a chance to interact directly with the Dj, request, and have their favourite tracks played in real-time. It's also a great opportunity to bring on board advertisers to boost income.
The parties can also be recorded for posterity and allow fans to share, download, or get a second helping of the entertainment menu at their own convenient time.
Virtual parties have opened a whole new world of endless possibilities and limitless opportunities, and there is plenty of room to innovate and customize entertainment according to emerging trends and demands. The flexibility of online live parties is incomparable to any other entertainment delivery options currently available.
Only time will tell when the world will return to normalcy; some things will change, others will remain the same, while others will emerge. Virtual parties, on the other hand, will continue to grow in stature and importance as a way to keep party people connected, happy, reduce stress levels and provide a ray of hope in an often dark world. By delivering much-needed food for the soul in the form of entertainment.