Innovation has long been the thing that separates good entertainers from great ones. There’s nothing wrong with a classic, and we love a bit of nostalgia, but even the best performances get stale if they’re not regularly tweaked and refreshed. Nobody likes to think of themselves as a relic, and for that reason, the entertainment industry has always been a rapidly evolving field, inspired by new trends, emerging technologies and the work of creatives in other fields.
However, now that social media has given us 24/7 access to art and entertainment from across the globe, the pace at which ideas surface has intensified. This means that audiences are less easily impressed, and entertainers have to work harder – or more imaginatively – in order to delight and impress. But what does that mean for the future of entertainment? What will change? And will the industry be able to keep up?
One major trend that has been gathering steam in the last few years is a shift towards more interaction. While this isn’t unique to entertainment, events where the audience can become part of the show elevates performances to a whole new level and creates lasting memories. This is because audience participation means each performance becomes personalised, creating a unique experience that retains elements of surprise and unpredictability. Plus, the human ego loves attention, so getting to be part of a performance makes guests feel important, valued and connected. However, an interactive performance has to feel natural, so it’s more about making events immersive, and creating space for guests to get involved, rather than throwing out the scripts and going completely improv.
While the last 12 months have taught us that people are still more determined than ever to hold in person events, we’ve been thinking about how to make digital performances feel just as magical. Now that virtual and augmented reality technologies have become more mainstream, it’s easier to see how they can help remove traditional barriers to creative expression. As the technology continues to improve and become more affordable – and if the Metaverse ever gets off the ground – we’d expect to see more performances being created specifically for these platforms, or at least offered as a pandemic-proof alternative.
Like with most things, social media is also playing a major role in the evolution of the entertainment industry. Platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube have given rise to a whole new generation of content creators, who have engaged audiences returning to see them ‘perform’ daily. If you put production values aside, you’ll find some of the most creative ideas on social media, right alongside the cute dancing and singing challenges. Performance clips also tend to go viral on social media, which means reaching wider audiences and potentially raising artists profiles overnight, which is a gamechanger. Budding entertainers can be discovered more easily, marketing can become easier and more cost effective and best of all, more people can experience more art on a more regular basis.
It often seems like the world is evolving at a breakneck pace, and even though all change comes with challenge, entertainment is probably one of the industries best placed to adapt. Performance is all about connecting with people, and every advancement of technology gives us even more ways to do that. There’s really no telling exactly where the industry is headed, but it’s clear that it’s going to look very different from the past. Some of the things we’ve bought to life over the last few years would’ve seemed like science fiction not too long ago, so the only thing we can say for certain is that the future of entertainment most definitely won’t be boring!
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