Musicians given help to replace cancelled gigs with immersive and interactive livestreams

A new initiative to help British artists and musicians replace their cancelled gigs with interactive online performances has been launched by Microsoft.

The company has announced the Re:Surface project, which will enable fans to experience, collaborate and engage with live, virtual, multi-dimensional performances.

A Re:Surface project blueprint will also be released, which includes a step-by-step guide on how on performers can work with other creative professionals to take advantage of multimedia streaming platforms such as Mixer.

The blueprint will feature guidance on topics such as interactive crowd engagement and monetisation.

Most music gigs and festivals were cancelled when the UK government brought in measures to tackle the Coronavirus pandemic. This had a huge impact on the livelihoods of performers across the UK, from emerging artists building their fan base from a bedroom or established acts signed to independent labels. All these artists will be able to access the Re:Surface project blueprint.

Microsoft RE:Surface logo

Microsoft Surface has developed the Blueprint with singer, songwriter and musician Jade Bird, who embraced streaming following the cancellation of her upcoming gigs. She will be the first artist to launch a new live experience for her fans via tap the Re:Surface project. Her first performance will be live-streamed to viewers at on Friday, May 29 at 8.30pm BST.

Bird said: “My entire tour was cancelled six weeks ago and from that point everything changed for me as an artist. I’ve had to completely update my approach to getting my music out there.

“I’m a singer-songwriter and my tech skills aren’t the best, which is why the Re:Surface project is so good for me. Microsoft has created a concept and a blueprint that’s really easy to use and it means I can continue to do what I do best, but collaborate with a number of other creative people who can evolve my gigs, taking them to a whole new level.

“I’m really excited about the gig next Saturday and I can’t wait to see what it looks like in rehearsals next week.”

Kate Wright, Director of UK & Ireland Category Management Consumer Devices at Microsoft, said: “In these challenging times we’ve seen thousands of artists cancel gigs, tours and effectively place their careers on hold. While many UK artists were the first to engage with their audiences online through live streaming, we knew there was a way that only Microsoft Surface could connect the creative community and unlock their creativity to take their rehearsals and performances to a different level.

“By pairing the power and creative potential of every Microsoft Surface device, the Re:Surface project will not only help artists to resurface cancelled gigs but we’ll help them to achieve more than they ever thought might be possible through the creation of an entirely new way of interacting with their audience during live, virtual performances.”