Photo of band performing in the background, with someone livestreaming the show from their phone in the crowd

Are you thinking about hosting a virtual event? Whether you’re an arts organization, a music venue, or an artist yourself, here are three reasons why designing an inclusive virtual event is a great idea! Virtual events often have lower overhead costs, create a platform to reach new audiences, and offer greater accessibility.

Let’s dive into why!

Lower Overhead Costs

The expenses associated with hosting a virtual event are often significantly lower than hosting a live show. For arts organizations, festivals, and individuals, virtual events can cut out the costs associated with booking a venue. While music venues can expand their audience reach and ticket sales with virtual and hybrid events, there are also less costs associated with audio production, lighting, and management, depending on the event setup. Additionally, artists have fewer costs to consider because they don’t need to spend time and money getting to and from a venue. 

Camera recording a livestream session

New Audiences 

One of the biggest advantages of virtual events is being able to expand audience reach and break away from the restrictions of physical spaces. Not only can artists and venues present music to their current fan bases, but they can reach audiences anywhere in the world. Additionally, individuals who live locally, especially people who have rigorous schedules, caretaking responsibilities, limited mobility, or restrictions around travel and transportation, have the opportunity to tune in from anywhere.

The Wallace Foundation surveyed arts leaders and found that 79% predicted a rise in demand for virtual events, while only 39% predicted a greater demand for live events. Another study found that “42% of global consumers who watched a live streamed concert or play for the first time due to the pandemic said they could see themselves continuing to do so for years to come.” These are promising statistics for the future and continued growth of virtual events. 

Screenshot of a YouTube video with captions

Greater Accessibility 

Virtual events offer greater accessibility. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Disability and Health and a Canadian Survey on Disability Reports, “More than one in every four to five adults in the US and Canada have some type of physical disability.” Livestreams and online shows create an alternative option that can be a relief for individuals with disabilities.

Particularly for resource-restrained organizations, designing inclusive virtual events can be an affordable way to act on your commitment to equity and inclusion, even as you continue to raise funds or seek resources to address issues of access impacting your live events. The workflows and habits of mind you develop to increase accessibility and prioritize inclusion in your virtual events can be adapted to hybrid and live events as well. 

Although these events create greater accessibility in many ways, it’s important to consider that some individuals do not have access to the internet and technology, and some artists and presenters don’t have the equipment and software necessary to engage with virtual events. 

Virtual events can also create inclusivity around financial accessibility. Consider having a suggested ticket price or tiered pricing instead of a set fee; this way anyone can attend, regardless of financial restrictions, and viewers who are able to can support the event financially.

These are just a few reasons why you should consider hosting a virtual event with accessibility and inclusivity at the forefront of your planning! While the COVID-19 pandemic forced the entertainment industry to shift to virtual events, there are many benefits to continuing to host virtual or even hybrid events.

We hope that this has inspired you to dive into how you can not only continue hosting virtual events but how you can make them accessible as possible.

Interested in learning more?

Download our FREE e-book, “Designing Inclusive Virtual Events”, to learn more about virtual event planning, technology considerations, ticketing, and more!

This resource was created as part of the Changing the Tune project, developed in partnership with Majestic Collaborations, and made possible thanks to a grant from Performing Arts Readiness, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Changing the Tune: Building Resilience for the Folk Community
Majestic Collaborations
Performing Arts Readiness

This article was created as part of the Changing the Tune project, developed in partnership with Majestic Collaborations and made possible thanks to a grant from Performing Arts Readiness.