Record labels exist to release music, promote artists and help those artists organise live tours. Since the outbreak of COVID-19 though one leg of that tripod has been kicked out from underneath them. With artists no longer able to perform shows to audiences live in person the labels and artists have had to innovate and experiment. For Australian record label Island Records that process has seen them develop the Live From The Island streaming series.
Live From The Island takes place every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and has already had some of Island Record’s best newcomers joining hundreds of fans through Instagram Live for the virtual gigs. This streaming series is unlike others, it allows fans to interact with the labels’ diverse roster of artists in unique ways. Viewers are able to participate in trivia nights (just like another Thursday night at the pub), paint and cook together with a wine in hand with an artist, and engage in fun Q&A sessions, as well as of course showcasing some of the best live performers in the country, in special acoustic sets.
One artists from the Island Records roster who immediately jumped at the opportunity to participate in the program was Vera Blue.
“I was supposed to be overseas doing some shows with Flume at the moment. So as soon as I found out they were doing this I was really excited to connect with my audience and the audiences of Island Records and Universal Music,” explained Blue. “At a time like this it’s really important, and also really special, for artists to be able to connect with their audience and fanbase.”
While her participation in Live From The Island wasn’t her first venture into live streaming she told City Hub she put more into this particular performance.
“For previous streams I’ve just setup with just myself and my guitar but for Live From The Island I set up a microphone and an amp so that people could hear it a bit better, which worked really well.”
When reflecting on the performance Blue also realised that she had pre-show habits which didn’t really matter for this type of performance.
“Strangely before the shows you kind of forget what your doing so I put perfume on before the show and immediately realise no one can smell me,” she said with a giggle.
Adjusting to the unique dynamics of a live streamed performance can be a challenge, “It’s really lovely but also a weird experience at the same time. It’s a really unique and heartwarming experience because you can see what people are saying in the comments, which you don’t get at a live show. But it’s tough because you can’t hear anyone, so you have to deal with the quietness of your own room.”
After experiencing these streamed performances Blue believes they are here to stay now, even beyond COVID-19 and self-isolation.
“It’s a completely different form of performance but I think it will be important to keep doing it at random because they’re a nice way to see an artists in the very intimate setting of their own home. It shows a different side of an artist that people wouldn’t have seen before.”
Every Tue, Wed & Thu. Info & Watch: www.youtube.com