Throwing Digital Horns: Covid-19 and the Rise of Online Live Music Portal Shows

This project explores how musicians are turning to digital Web 2.0 media to perform live to audiences during the Covid-19 global pandemic. To better understand this cultural phenomenon, the research project introduces the concept of portal shows that employ a converge between traditional live gigs, screen media, and new media technologies. Analysing the performative, textual, affective, and economic dynamics of portal shows, the project argues these events offer novel and nuanced ways artists and audiences can engage with one another through spatial convergence afforded by video streaming technologies and digital interfaces, which is especially pertinent during the Coronavirus pandemic. Thus, the project seeks to help support the creative industries, artists, and audiences during this time of uncertainty.

More details

The poster argues that portal shows offer a significant alternative to face-to-face live events during the Covid-19 global pandemic. From the findings of this research, portal shows novel textuality and liveness produce exclusivity and subcultural capital that is attractive to fans. Similarly, portal shows offer ‘just-in-time’ fan engagement but do so within a digital transcultural remit, aiding the support of virtual scenes. Portal shows can also expand on what is considered pandemic media and the related affective responses from audiences to said media.

James Rendell


Dr James Rendell is an early career lecturer in creative industries at the University of South Wales. His research largely focuses on audience engagement with, and digital participatory cultures that form around, screen media. His research has been published in Transformative Works and Cultures, Participations: Journal of Audience and Reception Studies, and the East Asian Journal of Popular Culture. He has forthcoming work in New Review of Film and Television Studies, Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, The Soundtrack, and Global TV Horror (University of Wales Press). His forthcoming monograph Transmedia Terrors in Post-TV Horror: Digital Distribution, Abject Spectrums and Participatory Culture is to be published with Amsterdam University Press.