SEOUL, April 28 (Korea Bizwire) — Can an online experience really replace the emotions of an on-site concert?
Thanks to a new wave of innovative online performances in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic and strict physical distancing measures, we’re about to find out.
With the performance market frozen due to the coronavirus pandemic, attempts by large K-pop agencies to come up with new online performance experiences are drawing attention.
Introduced last Sunday by SM Entertainment’s project group SuperM, “SuperM – Beyond the Future” made headlines in that it was the first “online” concert.
SuperM is the first installment in the “Beyond Live” performance series, in which SM produces content and Naver Co., South Korea’s top internet operator, provides the online platform.
Unlike live offline performances or online real-time performances in the past, the performance was planned in a new digital-oriented environment.
A tiger realized through augmented reality popped out of the screen, and real-time 3D graphics made it possible to see things only in online content through various technologies.
The good news is that unlike in-person concerts, there is no limit to accessibility and all spectators can enjoy performance details equally.
“I am satisfied that all the details that I could not fully incorporate in the on-site performance are being realized,” SuperM member Ten said at the concert.
SM also priced ‘tickets’ to the concert aggressively, at 33,000 won (US$26.92).
It is expected that 75,000 people watched the show simultaneously. Thus, it is estimated that SM generated more than 2.4 billion won in revenue from ticket sales alone.
Meanwhile, Big Hit Entertainment, K-pop boy band BTS’s management agency, has created emotional ties in a new way, bringing together fans scattered offline through platform technology.
On the April 18 and 19, Big Hit introduced “BTS Online Concert Weekend,” featuring eight BTS concerts and free fan meetings for 24 hours, with up to 2.24 million people watching.
In particular, what drew attention was the linking of “Army Bomb” light sticks to the video in real time through the band’s own fan community platform Weverse.
Confined to their homes, fans were unable to see the thousands of light sticks that dot the stands at a typical BTS show.
However, the color of the light sticks at each of the fans’ homes changed simultaneously to match the video, making fans feel connected to each other.
For two days, the number of “Army Bomb” light sticks connected reached about 500,000 in 162 regions around the world.
Fans shared their feelings of watching the performance together by sharing pictures of their cheering sticks and how they felt on social media.
In the meantime, Big Hit has focused its efforts on building its own platforms such as the global fan community Weverse and Fan Commerce Platform Weply.
It aims to combine BTS’ huge fandom with its own platform to create new fan experiences, communication and consumption methods. This attempt can also be interpreted in that context.
Attempts to perform online by two major agencies in a row are also expected to impact the local music industry, which is mulling a breakthrough in the wake of the “untact era.”
As the performance business, in which K-pop singers earn major sales, has been blocked by the spread of the coronavirus, the music industry is also turning online to diversify revenue streams.
However, concerns are also high because the online space has been geared more towards marketing efforts than a source of revenue.
“If YouTube has been used as a window for friendly content, all agencies will have the task of improving the quality of online content in general if they want customers to pay for it,” a K-pop industry official noted.
If online performances are established as a new model, attention is also being paid to how they will affect the landscape of the performance industry after the end of COVID-19.
Of course, many analyses have suggested that online performances have limitations in replacing the sense of unity and realism that only actual concert halls can offer.
“Online experiences that could not be attempted due to time or capital constraints will likely continue to be complementary to offline performances,” Lee Gyu-tag, a professor of liberal arts at George Mason University Korea predicted
D. M. Park (firstname.lastname@example.org)