What is a Hybrid Event and Why are Event Organisers Suddenly Doing Them?
5th August 2021
You may have heard the term ‘Hybrid Event’ thrown around recently - especially in the context of the music industry - but what does it actually mean?
What is a Hybrid Event?
Put simply, a hybrid event is a live event that is experienced by both a physical audience and a digital audience. For example; a hybrid music event would be a concert that takes place in a venue, with a stage and an audience (just like normal), but is also streamed simultaneously to the web, radio or to live TV, to a ‘digital audience’ (people who are using technology to access the event). Hybrid simply means it is a combination - however that may take place - of physical and digital.
Why Would You Do a Hybrid Event?
There are a lot of reasons why people choose to hybridise their events, and as we move into a more digital, accessibility-orientated and environmentally-focused future - it’s likely they’ll become the norm for many event organisers as they simply make so much sense. Below are some of the main reasons musicians and event organisers choose to hybridise their event and stream it online.
You’ve got a global audience and you can’t get to all of them
With streaming and social media playing such a large role in the music industry, many artists find themselves with a fan base spread around the world. And how can you cater to all of these fans? It’s neither logistically nor financially viable to tour to remote countries and do gigs to only 5 people - so how can artists offer these fans something special? It’s important for musicians to let their fans know they are valued, and so a hybrid event that offers them an intimate and unique experience with the artist is the perfect way for letting their far away fans know they care. In fact, it was one of the biggest benefits fans talked about when live streaming stepped up to the plate during the Coronavirus-pandemic. Suddenly large expensive shows became accessible to people that previously wouldn't have been able to afford them, or physically have been able to get there. It’s making access to events equal for all.
You want to lower your Carbon Footprint
It’s a big issue in the music industry at the moment, and for good reason. Artists around the world are waking up to the fact that international touring is one of the biggest ways the music industry contributes to carbon emissions and climate change. Lugging huge amounts of musical equipment, stage production and event crew around the world is using up limited natural resources and having huge repercussions on the environment and its inhabitants. But the need for the income from touring still remains - so despite Billie Eilish, Foals, and IDLES' best efforts - little has actually changed.
As you’ve probably guessed; hybridising events could be the music industry’s saving grace when it comes to tackling its carbon footprint. In an ideal world, artists wouldn’t travel at all and everyone would be satisfied watching live streams instead of physically going to events. But that is unlikely to be accepted for a number of reasons - not least because tours are so enjoyable and build incredibly strong artist-fan relationships, so there needs to be a compromise. An example of this might be reducing the number of dates on the tour; visiting less cities in a country, or visiting less countries. Each tour, you could alternate where you go so more fans get a chance to be there physically, and offer those who can’t be there, live stream tickets. This relies on making the live stream experience a worthy replacement (we've got an answer for that too...!).
You want to make more money from your live shows
It’s no news that live streaming is a sure-fire way to boost an artist's revenue from events. Thanks to streaming services dramatically reducing musician’s income from record sales, touring quickly became the industry’s biggest earner. However, it’s also the most exhausting and time consuming avenue of income - it’s a no brainer to try your best to get the most out of every show. So - add a live stream! After paying a set fee for the stream production, you then have the opportunity to sell unlimited tickets and earn unlimited revenue - paying back production costs effortlessly and making it worth the relatively small investment. One hybrid event could increase a night’s revenue by ten-fold. Granted, it relies on having an existing fan base to appeal to - but there are ways to get around this. Creating an appealing, easy to access stream that can be shared on socials with a creative way to grab people’s attention could be the ticket to appealing to an entirely new audience.
It’s an amazing event - and more people should see it!
Why limit all the hard work and amazing production of a great show to just the physical audience, who, after experiencing it once, will forget it as soon as they see the next big show? Live streaming means any one around the world can enjoy your brilliant event, and with the increased accessibility of live streams (cheaper tickets, and the only requirement being access to a device) your audience just got a whole lot bigger and, importantly, diverse. More people will see your brand, invest in you as an artist or organisation and provide you with future business.
What’s more, when you live stream it you can record it, which then enables you to keep the performance. Whether you then choose to leave it up on the web and continue selling access to it (ahem, income), keep it private and use it for future promotional material, or upload it at a later date as part of a marketing campaign as a limited time experience, you now have a permanent, well produced memory of the event that you can do with what you want. Benefits, benefits, benefits.
So - there you have it. We know what a hybrid event is, and why so many event organisers are deciding to put them on. So the next question is; how can we make the live streams worthy experiences that will satisfy fans as much as physical show?
Lucky for you… we’ve answered that too!
How Can You Make Your Hybrid Event Great?