Melbourne based musician and record producer, Luke Crouch believes technology can keep the live music scene alive, as coronavirus forces society into social isolation.
Crouch, who runs LMC Recording Studio, is using the latest in streaming tech to keep the music sector playing to audiences, through real-time online concerts, jam sessions and music lessons.
“We’re seeing people cancelling lessons, or not being able to come, because they’ve been quarantined,” Crouch says.
“I think when you can collaborate with people and have a creative outlet, it’s vital for people’s mental health.
“If bands have a concert booked or they still wanted to perform, we can give them that vehicle to do it online and connect to audiences.”
Globally, massive music events, such as Glastonbury in the UK, as well as SXSW and Coachella in the US, are being cancelled or postponed.
But it’s the local music scenes throughout the world, without the financial buffers of big name acts and concerts, that are being especially hit hard.
The Australian Government’s banning of non-essential indoor gatherings of more than 100 people has thrown the live music scene into turmoil.
It’s seen bands, venues, technicians and audiences shut out from concerts, as authorities scramble to deal with the worsening pandemic.
“We have four staff, so my biggest concern is keeping them in a job, so we need to keep making a little bit of money, but at the same time we want to support the arts sector,” Crouch says.
Crucial to this, he says, is the vastly improved internet speeds that have helped overcome issues of latency – the time delay it takes to move sound from one online musician to another.
Latency issues have been seen as the biggest technological barrier to real-time internet jam sessions, preventing musicians from playing in time.
“We finally have the NBN, so we do have the speed,” he says.
“If you go back six months ago, our internet connection was ADSL and it would have struggled.
“It’s quick enough now where you can have four people on the other side of the world all jamming together over the internet.”
Crouch believes the technology will be crucial in providing human connection throughout the social isolation brought on by coronavirus.
“From either the teaching or recording aspect, or music in general, it’s always been an important creative outlet for people, but particularly now amid the coronavirus,” Crouch says.
“It definitely has a role to play in keeping people sane during these intense times.
“So why not use the technology to our advantage instead of sitting around thinking the world’s coming to an end, we have to try to remain positive and connected and I think music can help us do that.”