In the true spirit of Detty December, the place is packed, the music is blasting and we’re singing loudly along to the songs by my favourite group ever. It’s 1:00 am on Sunday, 29th December 2019. My friends, thousands of others and I are rocking with Show Dem Camp at their concert called the Palmwine Fest. Detty December refers to thoroughly enjoying the Christmas holidays, attending concerts, travelling, going out to eat with friends and drinking as much as you can while emptying your bank account.
On the 31st of December, 2019— just two days after the concert, China reported a novel strain of the coronavirus affecting citizens in the state of Wuhan. By March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the Corona Virus- COVID-19 a worldwide pandemic, due to the spread of the disease to many countries of the world, including Nigeria. By the end of March, many countries announced nationwide lockdowns to prevent further spread of the virus. Clubs, schools, offices, churches, restaurants were all shut down.
Interpersonal interactions became limited to the internet and social media, and something extraordinary started to happen. Videos of people, some of them professional musicians, on their balconies playing music and singing for their neighbours started to surface. It was delightful to witness and made me think about how our relationship with music will be altered by this pandemic.
I was scrolling through Twitter on one of such days and was disappointed to see that I had missed an e-concert Asa held on her Instagram live. Thankfully, she held more and it was beautiful to watch her make music in real-time. On the 30th of March, two popular Nigerian producers- Sarz and Shizzi, also took to Instagram to have a friendly face-off dubbed Battle of the Beats. This served as a reminder of the incredible talent in the Nigerian music industry. Several artistes have done the same, the most recent being the face-off between Drake and Rihanna.
The rapid spread of COVID-19 has made organisers of concerts like Coachella and Afro Nation cancel this year’s edition to ensure that we do not gather in crowds. Even after the world recovers and a vaccine is possibly developed, crowded places would be something most people, including myself, would avoid.
I’m delighted to see the creativity that artists are using to entertain in these times and it’s equally exciting to imagine how our interaction with music can evolve with the help of technology. Imagine a scenario where artists work together with UI/UX designers and developers to create virtual reality spaces, where fans can log in and simulate the feel of an actual concert, especially if the virus prevails for much longer without the development of a vaccine.
Although one might wonder how these entertainers would utilize the tools on the internet to continue commercializing their music, one thing that can be deduced from this situation is that our interaction with music has changed, maybe forever.
This article was written by Oluwatobi Afolabi; connect with her on Instagram via here