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Online concerts: Did our brands waste a crisis?

Irene Ntale

Covid-19 has changed the way the world is operating. We have no concerts showing, no bars open and no cinemas to go to for entertainment. With technology though, there are ways to connect. We have seen church sermons, comedy shows and of late, concerts go online.

Online shows are good, but at the moment, they only help artistes to connect with an audience.

For companies putting together shows, it’s innovative, an employment opportunity for those artistes, and maybe good for brand visibility. But one has to ask, as a company, why are you trying to host shows, that much?

Why do you think despite what people are going through – job loss, food scarcity and mental breakdown among other things – they need a show?

At the beginning of April, Global Citizen, an annual music festival embarked on having living room concerts with different celebrities. Most of these were aimed at encouraging people to stay home and stay safe.

As time went on, they started advertising concerts that were to happen online. The shows would bring together more than 100 artistes that would perform for more than six hours from different parts of the world.

This saw artistes such as Lady Antebellum, Burna Boy, Sho Madjozi, Black Coffee, Alicia Keys, Shawn Mendes, Camila Cabello, Lady Gaga, John Legend and Sam Smith among others perform from remote locations across the globe. The shows were popular even with Ugandans.

And in Uganda, we are good at jumping onto trends even when we don’t know why other people did those things.

In those countries for example, brands will host online shows at such times to either raise awareness, stand with the people or raise funds. In other words, it is okay to have a show as a corporate company but your reasons for doing the show matter.

When it comes to Uganda, it is hard to figure out why some of the country’s biggest brands have been organising shows.

It’s not like we can claim a certain amount was fundraised thanks to the shows.

It’s not like they celebrated people on the frontline like nurses, doctors, survivors willing to tell their stories, journalists or that woman sleeping in the market for a month now.

It’s not like they created awareness. Basically, besides otukubamu omuziki just bu just…

Imagine how different that show would have hit if somewhere in the middle, the now very popular Minister Jane Ruth Aceng appeared on the screen with a message!

Did brands miss an opportunity with an audience of about 20,000 people – (you and I know what it means to have 20,000 people with you in such times) and simply chose a party over anything?

Did brands miss an opportunity to entertain and while at it, educate and change people’s lives?

Did brands just waste this crisis?

This weekend, Swangz Avenue will be staging another concert; this will too bring together different artistes performing in their houses. Will they do better than those that have done it before them?


Well, we can only wait and see.

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