I never imagined that I’d be able to put BTS and World Wrestling Entertainment together in a sentence, let alone a post, but here we are. Almost all live entertainment around the world has been cancelled because of the pandemic. The at-home concerts we’ve been seeing are not live. The performances have been pre-recorded and edited together for broadcast. Verzuz on Instagram is live, yes, but the concept functions almost like a vlog, a diary between two people who are alone in a room (with the exception of Teddy Riley, LOL), and the actual art isn’t live in that the songs are mostly coming from recordings.
There has been an exception though: the WWE. Duana and I talked about this on Show Your Work a few weeks ago because they managed to pull off Wrestlemania without a live audience in April and have continued to put on shows ever since. They’re really the only ones… until now. BTS made an announcement today:
Here’s the release from their label:
“Hello, this is Big Hit Entertainment.
Big Hit Entertainment is pleased to provide information on “BANG BANG CON The Live.”
[What is “BANG BANG CON The Live”?]
“BANG BANG CON The Live” is an online live concert that will let BTS and ARMY [BTS’s official fan club name] continue to nurture their special connection together while keeping everyone safe and healthy!
It’s a multi-view BTS concert experience right in the home of each and every ARMY! Are you ready for a virtual visit to BTS’s own room, specially prepared for ARMY?
Join us for ARMY’s very special “On-Contact” experience with BTS with “BANG BANG CON The Live.”
“BANG BANG CON The Live” will begin at 6 p.m. KST on June 14 via pay-per-view streaming, and will be available for purchase from 1 p.m. KST on June 1 on Weverse Shop.”
So it IS kinda like WWE, non? WWE is also pay-per-view featuring multiple performers staging matches and shot from multiple angles. The seven members of BTS won’t be fake-fighting each other but then again, wrestling isn’t just the wrestling moves, it’s storytelling. That’s really why fans get so into it. Because they’re constantly spinning a narrative. Music has a narrative too. Music is storytelling too.
And BTS has evidently found a way to do this live, in these unprecedented times, without an audience, but still connecting to and with an audience.
I haven’t followed the WWE in years (I used to watch everything, during the “Attitude Era” when Stone Cold Steve Austin was king) but as I said during that episode of Show Your Work, I checked in on Wrestlemania because I was so curious about how they were going to manage it. It was weird, sure, but by all accounts, it also kinda works, given the circumstances. The biggest issue, of course, is how to cut around the lack of audience shots and sound. There’s so much to be gained when an audience is roaring during certain moments. And the performers too are jacked up by the crowd reaction.
That’s the big question as to how BTS will pull this off. They’re super connected with their fanbase. As I’ve written before, they spend more time talking to their fans during their shows than almost any other artists I’ve ever seen. And they have said many times that they thrive off that energy exchange.
Still, they’re leading the way again in the industry on this. They’re putting on a virtual LIVE CONCERT – and if they say it’s “live”, I’m believing that it’s actually live. Like when the red light is on, we’re seeing them in real-time. This is not, then, just relevant to BTS’s ARMY, it’s also homework for the entertainment business as a whole, participants and observers both. BTS may be setting a new standard for operation during a time when the ecosystem has been disrupted.