By Evan Henry
Deep Ellum is on the rise. Concertgoers and music fans have taken notice of all the music the suburb has to offer. With new shops and beer gardens bursting from the seams, plus the newly reopened Bomb Factory, the neighborhood is making waves.
But just when Deep Ellum started gaining traction for the first time in more than a decade, local radio station ellum.net has given patrons a reason to stay home instead. All with a little thing called “live streaming,” in potentially all of Deep Ellum’s music venues.
First thoughts: No, not a chance. There is no way everyone could say yes to something so absurd. If this is the future, I want out. I suppose this is great for out-of-towners. But why should locals sit at home when they could get out and support the scene?
Camera crews will invade venues to live-stream bands’ sets and have the stream available for public consumption on the web, much like what has been happening at Coachella and Lollapalooza lately. But in all honesty, who cares to see a group of spoiled musicians clown around while they wait to cash whatever ridiculous check they are getting?
Younger, rawer acts will suffer if this goes as planned. In 2015, it’s hard enough to get people out to a show. They have rent to pay, kids to feed and hefty Netflix bills. The excuse for missing that once-in-a-lifetime Dallas club performance will be, “Oh, I’ll just see it online.” The experience will be via tinny laptop speakers and a blinding monitor or a small cellphone screen.
There is something so human about seeing and hearing a show with your own eyes and ears. Though, to quote a disgusting truth from Los Angeles pop group The Growlers’ hit “Chinese Fountain,” “The Internet is bigger than Jesus and John Lennon.”
The Internet is slowly beginning to rule the world. The ability to stream a full performance of a burgeoning new act kills the suspense of actually being there, as well as the fun.
It was not until I reached 11 or 12 years old that my family integrated a computer into my home, and even then, I rarely used it. I had television, a PlayStation and a big backyard. That was enough for me.
When my school started using computers in labs for research, just about everyone except me played games on them.
What was the point? I preferred the local library for any information I needed.
Oddly enough, when I started middle school, I began using the computer more and discovered a world of music on the Internet. I searched for everything from The Beatles and Bob Dylan to Nirvana. When I hit high school, I was using the web to run my own music label.
For discovery, this live-streaming will be somewhat cool. Someone could check out a set, and if they don’t vibe, they can log out and go on about their business. But this could also sabotage a band’s entire audience. “Where is everyone?” Oh, they’re all at home listening.
On the bright side, the band is not the only player going broke – so are the bar and the promoter who put the whole thing together. So, if you love a band or music, go see it live (unless it’s some stadium rock band – no one needs that). Participate; otherwise, the party’s over.