The cyborg in the audience: audience experiences of livestreamed gigs

  • Rosemary Lucy Hill (Speaker)
  • Molly Megson (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


The shift to livestreaming of live music events opens up the opportunity to pay fresh attention to the embodied value of live music for audiences, whilst also considering the embodied experience of the digital. This paper will take a cyborgian phenomenological approach to audience embodiment in the context of in-person and livestreamed gigs. Live music has depended on the twin concepts of here and now. Being in the room with other audience members and the musicians is important, as are activities such as clapping, dancing and singing. Attention has been paid to digital entwinings in the form of audience members’ social media activities, but not to the new forms of embodied engagement that come with livestreaming. Livestreamed music events have enabled audiences to maintain their relationships with musicians, and moreover, provided access to live music for those for who it was previously inaccessible due to, for example, disability, financial constraints or fear. Livestreamed gigs may lack the element of ‘being in the room’, but they may enable new modes of embodied activity and digital embodiment. To investigate these questions of embodiment and access, the paper will report on an audience survey designed to understand the different embodied practices and sensations that audience members experience when attending in-person and livestreamed gigs, alongside examining the types of technologies used and the enablers/barriers to participation. Attending a livestreamed gig is a different embodied experience to attending an in-person gig: it may also involve clapping, dancing and singing, but also crouching over a laptop, peering at a phone screen, or cleaning a kitchen. Thus, thinking about the embodied practices involved in live music can enable new perspectives on the body at the screen, on digital embodiment; meanwhile insights from digital engagement with livestreamed gigs can help us to understand the meanings of in-person live music participation for the body in the room.
Period20 May 2022
Event titleInternet Musicking: Popular Music and Online Cultures
Event typeConference
LocationCork, IrelandShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational