Percept in the News

Bouncing Back: The EDM Industry’s Tryst with the Pandemic – Karan Singh, COO, Percept Live speaks to Outlook Traveller
15 October, 2020

Just like every industry, the global outbreak of coronavirus has also been harsh to the electronic music industry (EDM). Following the lockdown, all music gigs and tours were cancelled and clubs shut shop. And with the government’s decision to suspend visas for international tourists, many gigs that had line-ups featuring international DJs had to be cancelled in cities like Mumbai, Bengaluru and Delhi. According to a report, it was predicted that the live music industry across the world could lose around $9 billion due to the pandemic.

Keeping present circumstances in mind, most companies are looking at staging digital events for a while. Percept Live, which organises India’s biggest music festival Sunburn, also sensed a massive opportunity to scale up and offer events in the digital space. “We conceptualised, locked in the best of global technology, and rolled out many Sunburn variants in the digital domain," says Karan Singh, COO, Percept Live. "For instance, we launched Sunburn@Home–a live stream venture on our Instagram and YouTube handles, Twitch app and ZEE5 platforms."

Over the past six months, the company has featured more than 180 leading international and Indian artists including KSHMR, Nicky Romero, Alison Wonderland, Lost Frequencies, Paul Van Dyk, Skazi, Sam Feldt, Diego Miranda, Maddix, Spin Doctor, Bassjackers, and Vini Vici.
The company had to cancel all the Sunburn live events including their Arenas, Reloads and Campus tours. But they unveiled the Sunburn Home Festival, a virtual two-day mega music festival with the biggest global music artists, Vini Vici, MATTN, Bassjackers and Ummet Ozcan, After Hours and a whole host of exciting virtual entertainment experiences.

Singh says that the planning and production process of virtual events is profoundly different from live events and requires a higher level of technology confidence, but Percept Live is glad that it took the leap and incorporated virtual reality, mixed reality and hybrid formats to keep their connect with fans going strong. “Going virtual in 2020 was probably the safest strategy as it kept business going and created brand new revenue streams that remained unaffected by the social distancing rules. Transitioning to digital proved to be a very viable option, as we have evidenced with our many new digital ventures,” he adds.

When asked about the emerging trends in the electronic dance music industry in the post-pandemic world, Singh says that he foresees a blend of live events and digital events, co-existing to cater to multiple audience requirements and partner expectations. “Digital events are already generating revenue with innovative content, and expanding its global reach. Virtual events have great potential, but in order to succeed in this space, we will need to augment our technological prowess, change our way of thinking, and most importantly upgrade skill sets,” he says.  “This is a new frontier for all of us in the live events domain, and we will all benefit from collaborating together to help produce virtual events, share information and value add to the experiential industry,” Singh adds.