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The Special Feature 2/2021 Editorial: Concert experiences of the future: something old, something new

​When the pandemic forced concerts to remove themselves from halls and clubs to a virtual space, everyone involved found themselves in a completely new situation: listeners, performers, venues and concert producers. At the time of writing, concerts are slowly returning to physical venues around the world, but many things have changed and many more things are in a state of flux. Many things that we were forced to learn under these exceptional circumstances will continue to affect the way we do things even after the pandemic is over.

In the FMQ Special Feature 2/2021, we take a look at the spaces occupied by music – both physical and virtual – where the concert experiences of today and tomorrow are created. 

There are plenty of concert halls, clubs and venues purposely designed for music all around Finland. Santeri Kaipiainen writes about certain particularly interesting concert halls and venues and discusses what the future looks like for them. Annamaija Saarela analyses how concert venues will recover from the pandemic and how the club scene is going to evolve.

Amanda Kauranne, meanwhile, discusses concerts during the pandemic from the perspective of the listener. Interviewees describe their concert experiences and listening moods. In what spaces and circumstances have they listened to concerts? What part did technology play in the concert experience? 

Wif Stenger interviews music professionals whose job it is to produce concert experiences and discusses what streamed concerts could have to offer going forward and what their role might be.


As the coronavirus restrictions are being lifted, both audiences and performers have a hankering to return to live music. It is important that we will continue to be able to perform and experience music in purpose-built spaces that can support and house the music in the best possible way. Restrictions on public gatherings have hit the entire live music sector hard in Finland – musicians, venues and everyone else employed in the industry. Whether we will be able to enjoy live music in the environments meant for it after the pandemic will largely depend on how the public administration will support this sector.

Come what may, live streaming is here to stay, even if its role in the future will probably not be limited to replacing a real live experience. Live streaming can augment concert audiences and improve accessibility, because a live stream can be accessed from anywhere in the world. Also, live streams could evolve into a format all their own and offer something that traditional concerts cannot. These new opportunities may have to do with technological advancements – such as immersive concert experiences or augmented reality – or direct interaction between artist and fans.

Streaming may become even more important as the generation that grew up with games and social media become adult consumers. Their idea of a live music experience may be very different from those of previous generations. However, we should remember that rather a high level of technology is required for accessing a concert stream, and in this sense listeners around the world are definitely not on an equal footing.


In the future, venues and concert organisers must find answers to a multitude of questions related not only to technology but also to accessibility and ecological sustainability.

Ultimately, however, every concert is about music and its makers, performers and audiences. For their symbiosis to work and for us to be able to return to enjoying music as we used to, concerts must be able to offer experiences that listeners re prepared to pay for; and on the other hand, to ensure that such experiences will be offered, we must ensure that performers, creators and the vast crowd of professionals who organise concerts receive a decent compensation for their work.