Boxoffice Insider: Virtual Merrymaking Streams Ring In 2021
Anthony Ghnassia / Getty Images – David Guetta
New Year’s livestream event drew 10.8 million viewers on Facebook and YouTube, benefiting UNICEF as well as a local charity.
Commemorating the arrival of a new year generally includes high-profile concert attractions as part of the celebration on the final night of December, and 2020 proved no exception. One significant difference, however, was that the fan experience on New Year’s Eve was based primarily on virtual reality rather than in-person live performing in a concert venue.
One of the most popular New Year’s Eve events streamed on multiple virtual platforms starred veteran French composer and performer Jean-Michel Jarre who scored over 75 million views of his “Welcome To The Other Side” concert set in a virtual Notre Dame. The electronic and new-age music pioneer performed live from Studio Gabriel in Paris while his avatar appeared virtually in the historic medieval cathedral. The performance included music from recent albums during the past decade along with classic releases from early in his career.
Jarre’s fellow countryman and EDM artist David Guetta also logged a multi-million viewership for his own virtual New Year’s Eve event, the third edition of the “United At Home” series. Staged in his hometown of Paris, the French concert was a fundraiser for various charities, as were the first and second events in the series that aired from Miami and New York City, respectively. The Miami performance last April 18 – one month after the live industry shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic – registered almost 8 million views as did the next event on May 30 in New York that ranked second overall on Pollstar’s Top 100 Livestreams of 2020. The Paris performance on New Year’s Eve drew a viewership of 10.8 million on both Facebook and YouTube and benefited UNICEF and Les Restos du Cœur, a local charity that provides food for the needy.
In North America one of the most popular virtual events on Dec. 31 came from the legendary country group Alabama, who surpassed one million views with a concert that aired from Nashville. The Country Music Hall of Fame members kicked off the “Ultimate RV Show National Tour” presented by Camping World, a weekly livestream performance series that will stretch over 10 weeks. The band also launched Camping World’s “Taking the Highways Across America” concert series back on Sept. 15 with the first of 10 performances in the fall. Ultimately, that series landed at No. 5 among the Top 100 Livestreamers of 2020 based on 7.4 million views on campingworld.com and other virtual platforms.
Snoop Dogg hosted an event on New Year’s Eve from his own compound and streamed on his YouTube channel with over a half-million views recorded. The show was presented by the TBS network’s “Go-Big Show,” an extreme talent competition with the rapper featured as a judge along with actress Rosario Dawson, country singer Jennifer Nettles and professional wrestler Cody Rhodes. Hosted by comedian Bert Kreischer, the television series debuted on Jan. 7. The New Year’s Eve show featured a wide range of notable personalities including Martha Stewart, Mike Tyson and Pharrell Williams as well as DJ sets by DJ Cassidy, Fredwreck and DJ Battlecat and many others.
Also streamed on YouTube was the Dec. 31 performance “Bud Light Seltzer Sessions presents New Year’s Eve 2021” that featured a midnight performance by Post Malone. Also appearing were Steve Aoki, Saweetie, Sebastián Yatra and Jack Harlow. Hosted by YouTuber Lilly Singh, the event aired live from MGM Resorts in Las Vegas with a viewership topping 355,000.