SMN Insights: The 21st Century Concert Experience

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SMN Insights: The 21st Century Concert Experience

Written by Anneliese Herbosa, Content Manager of The Social Media Network 2013-14.

SMN Insights features the informed thoughts and opinions of our team. We probe the latest news and trends related to social media, marketing, public relations, and the vast digital space.

Social networking platforms have allowed us to experience and share moments in ways like never before. For modern day concert goers, their experience leading up to, during, and even after a show, is enhanced and unprecedented through their social media usage. Vuitton, Corinne and I channelled our inner ‘fan girl’ and reflected on how social media and new technologies have revolutionized the 21st century concert experience.

Pre-Concert Hype

These days, prior to a concert happening, it isn’t unusual to find a lot of buzz online surrounding the much-anticipated musical spectacle. The internet normally becomes flooded with articles and blog posts profiling the musicians who will be gracing the stage. In addition to serving as a promotional and advertising platform, the web also acts as a rich source for teasers and previews, whetting the appetite of concert-goers just before the show. By browsing the net, you can discover how previous legs of the tour went, and how your favourite artist/band was received in other cities.

I usually use social media prior to a concert to check for set lists and surprise guests. I also check to see if there will be contests to meet and greet the artist, or for upgraded tickets. A girl can hope, right? (Vuitton)

RELATED:  Live Nation Dives Deeper Into Data, Acquires

Capturing and Sharing Moments as They Happen

“You and 749 others have checked in.”

When asked how her personal social media usage during a concert alters or enhances her overall experience, Corinne touched on how real-time updates help her determine her proximity to her other friends who may be at the same concert.

I really enjoy using Twitter and Facebook to “check in” to the venue and see who else is there with me. (Corinne)

 To record, or not to record?

Vuitton and I found ourselves in a bit of a dilemma when it came to splitting our time between fiddling with our mobile devices to record noteworthy moments and save them for later, and hastily putting our phones away so that we could join in singing and dancing along with the energetic crowd.

I get too focused on sharing pictures and videos on my social channels that I sometimes miss out on being fully present and experiencing concerts like I used to. (Vuitton)

Record, re-watch, and relive over and over again while risking ‘living in the moment’, or dance like no one’s watching now and rely on my human memory to later remember how I felt in that exact moment in time? It’s a bit of a trade-off, but as long as I’m having a blast, I’m happy. (Anneliese)

Here’s a video I took on Instagram of Jay-Z spittin’ a rhyme from Izzo (H.O.V.A.) from the Legends of The Summer Tour. I have no regrets since I managed to record and dance/rap along (hence the shaky recording).


The plus side? Play, pause, rewind. Repeat.

Vuitton and Corinne seemed to share a love for Instagram as it has helped them not only produce memorable, shareable media, but consume them after the fact as well.

I love checking Instagram for videos of things like the Squamish Fest to see people’s videos of bands I didn’t have a chance to see. (Corinne)

Here’s some visual media captured by Corinne at the Squamish Valley Music Festival:

Here's a picture snapped by Corinne at Squamish Fest!

Picture snapped by Corinne at Squamish Fest!

Ever since I became an avid Instagram user this past year, whenever the artist sings one of my favourite songs, I feel obliged to Instagram a picture of it. That way, I get to share it with my friends who weren’t able to attend the concert and usually, they thank me for it. (Vuitton)

Same Experience, Different Perspective

What I found to be most exciting about having the ability to document and share your favourite most memorable moments with your personal networks is being able to connect with others who shared the same experience afterwards.

Here’s a picture I wish I took at the New Kids on The Block concert…

Through conducting specific hashtag searches of the tour on Instagram, I was able to discover pictures and videos taken by people who were right there with me! I could easily identify if the fellow attendee was sitting on the other side of the venue opposite me, if they had farther or closer seats than mine. It’s a pretty cool feeling to know we all breathed the same air. (Anneliese)

I left a comment on this fellow concert goer’s photo, and here’s a snippet of how the conversation went:

Artists and Musicians on Social Media

Following the Myspace era, artists and musicians have taken to other social platforms to tease their latest projects, announce tour dates, and interact directly with fans. How do their updates influence our modern day concert experience?

RELATED: Myspace Returns as Social Launch Pad for Artists

Sneak peeks and heartfelt thank-you’s

One of the best examples Corinne could draw from was when she had the chance to see Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z rock out in Vancouver. On Instagram, they posted that a pair of JT’s shoes were going to be hidden somewhere in Vancouver, and the first person to retrieve them would get their picture taken and keep the autographed shoes.

For Vuitton, artists that frequently update – especially before a concert – get her more pumped and stoked for the show. It makes her feel that they actually take the time to leverage social media to interact with their fans. Vuitton drew from an artist that she recently had the chance to watch perform live:

Just before the Taylor Swift concert, someone tweeted a sneak peek of the venue and set-up. It got me really excited because it looked so cool! I was looking forward to the show all the more. (Vuitton)

I love it when musicians say thank you to the crowd via their social media accounts. It always seems so personal, and I like it when they show their appreciation for their fans in a public way! (Corinne)

In a similar vein, a few months ago, I had the honour of being in the same room as three boy bands who had defined my nineties childhood: 98 Degrees, Boyz II Men, and New Kids On The Block. Here’s a pic from Instagram that 98 Degrees posted later that night that was captioned “Thank you, Vancouver!! We had a maple syrup, hockey playin’, Justin Bieber good time!!”:

It’s incredible to see how we can experience other people’s experiences vicariously through our mobile devices, social networking sites, and the internet. These digital avenues essentially act as windows to a million different personal experiences, helping us overcome the traditional constraints of space and time.

How does your personal social media usage prior to, during, and after a concert, alter your overall experience?

These are our insights – now we’d like to hear yours. How has social media, if at all, changed the way you experience concerts online and offline? Make sure to use the hashtag #SMNinsights to weigh in!

Featured Image courtesy of Kaytee Lauren.
These thoughts are our own and do not represent those of the organization.
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