Genshin Impact is a role-playing game release in 2020 that has taken world by storm. The game is an engaging yet simple role-playing game that is free to play and monetized through gatcha mechanics. Although the game is somewhat criticized in the media, it's difficult to argue with 60 millions averate monthly players and 4 billion dollars in revenue. This fall, miHoyo, the developer behind Genshin Impact, decided to thank their players with a concert on YouTube. The initiative is great, but calling it a concert might be a stretch.
Let's Talk About the Concert
No effort was spared hyping this event to the players. Emails were sent to the players, announcing the concert with a countdown timer to the event. Players could also create a virtual concert ticket, to share with their friends and win some prizes. If you preferred a physical ticket, that was available along with other merchandise in the official concert shop.
The concert itself was a collection of pre-recorded music videos strung togheter with no content between the songs themselves. Although the event was streamed to a live Youtube audience of at least 50k, there was no interaction with the audience itself.
Looking at comments in the chat and reaction videos, the event was very much appreciate by the fans. Popular songs were selected and paired with the appropriate artists, creating strong emotional reactions among watchers. The show was further enhanced by the addition of numerous clips from the videogame, some of them featuring key events.
Was it a Concert?
Lets start with the definition of the word concert by Merriam Webster , an American leading provider of language information for more than 180 years.
a public performance (as of music or dancing)
The definition hinges on the word public, which is itself defined,
exposed to general view
If we look at the example sentences provided the Cambridge Dictionary,
I'm playing in a concert at the church hall next weekend.
All the mothers and fathers had been invited to the end-of-term concert.
The musicians are busy rehearsing for the concert.
The choir will be performing the Hallelujah Chorus at the concert.
She finished the concert with a song from her first album.
we find a strong implication that the performance must be in front of a live audience. Yet, none of the performance in this event were recorded in front of a live audience.
This live component is essential, according to some sources like Wikipedia, who is quoting Routledge, a British multinational publisher founded in 1836.
A concert is a live music performance in front of an audience.
If looking at the pure semantics, some would argue that the difference lies in the definition of concert vs live concert. Others would imply the a live performance is the requirement of any concert.
This unfortunate murkiness in definitions makes it difficult to take a clear stance.
Why is this important?
As the pandemic forced many people to stay at home for several months, changes were needed to continue in our daily lives. Music performances moved online despite many synchronization problems caused by network congestion and delays. Because of these logistical challenges, many music events were pre-recorded, so they could be properly synchronized and mastered.
Does this change the definition of concerts? Semantically, according to Merriam Webster, you can string any collection of music video to make a concert, as long as you make available to people, paying are not. But that sets a dangerous precedence where people might be buying tickets for what they believe is a live performance, and receive a pre-recorded show instead.
In the case of the Genshin Concert 2022, this was not an issue, as the show was free. Those disappointed by the lack of a live component could simply choose not to watch. But for those buying tickets for an online concert, vigilance is highly encourage to make sure the tickets you are buying line up to your expectation.