While hundreds, if not thousands of musicians are slowly making their way back into touring plans that are reviving major cities’ independent venues, it’s safe to say that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way that artists release and perform their music forever. With major US festivals like Austin City Limits and Lollapalooza successfully moving major amounts of single and multiple day passes, it’s still a big toss up whether or not we’ll see casual and avid music fans alike reluctant to return to smaller and more intimate venues for performances indoors. With that being said, other entertainment platforms like Instagram, YouTube, Twitch and TikTok are becoming major outlets for artists to perform their own sets, some free and some for money (Miley Cyrus performed a Superbowl pre-show set that exclusively streamed on TikTok just a few months ago).
This is where the brand new streaming platform Blast comes in, though it’s more like a combination of Snapchat and Clubhouse rather than YouTube and/or Instagram live. Blast, launching today, is the only audio platform (no video whatsoever), where listeners can hear directly from the artists they love, daily. It’s a place where artists have the opportunity to broadcast content they may never share elsewhere. The kicker? These broadcasts are only available for 24 hours, simply no longer available once that final hour times out, similarly to the way that Snapchats disappear. Thanks to a simple piece of hardware called Blast Box, artists can plug any audio equipment into the device with an RCA cable, connect the device to their Blast Radio profile with Bluetooth, then press one button to broadcast live on the app.
Users who sign up to follow their favorite artists are notified when said artists broadcast, where they can then tune in live or for the next 24 hours.
“Over the last 15 years, I noticed that reality has no place on visual social media platforms. People have been reduced to doctored selfies and public displays of perfection. This is especially challenging for musicians where sound is their secret weapon. Blast gives artists an easy way to reach fans with their actual talents and to do so in an environment that’s not meant to be curated and perfect. It’s a space for artists, to be heard, and to highlight their work, not their appearance,” said Yousef Ali, Founder and CEO, Blast.
More than 150 artists have signed up to use the platform for spontaneous performances, weekly radio shows, album release previews, broadcasting from venues, and more. When major artists like Taylor Swift have developed bonus content for fans on previous albums that document her creative process, Blast gives artists a similar opportunity, but a spot to also document it in real time, exclusively, to fans who sign up to access the content, eliminating an artists’ need for extra time for said content to be edited/mixed/etc.
Some of the artists who have already signed up for the Blast Radio app:
- Matthew Dear, recording artist and co-founder of Ghostly International
- Carl Craig, Grammy-nominated composer and legendary DJ who plans on doing weekly broadcasts starting June 9
- Alarm Will Sound, the critically acclaimed chamber orchestra, who plans to invite listeners into their creative process with live broadcasts of rehearsals leading up to an upcoming album.
The Blast Radio app is available in both App and Google Play Stores. Artists can preorder their own Blast Boxes here.