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The Live-Streaming Project That Can Help Save Live Music Venues

The fundraising platform United We Stream hosts concerts, DJ sets and other live performances in European cities to keep clubs from going out of business.
The Berlin club Rummels Bucht hosts a live DJ as part of United We Stream, a fundraising project designed to keep the city's fabled nightlife alive while coronavirus locksdowns persist.
The Berlin club Rummels Bucht hosts a live DJ as part of United We Stream, a fundraising project designed to keep the city's fabled nightlife alive while coronavirus locksdowns persist.Britta Pedersen/picture alliance via Getty Images

Many businesses are struggling during the pandemic, but live music venues and nightclubs are under particular strain. It’s not just that lockdowns make hosting shows unfeasible — it’s also that clubs and bars are likely to remain shuttered long after most shops and workplaces have reopened. Venues in Amsterdam, for example, will be kept closed until September 1 (and possibly longer) due to the contagion risk posed by crowds and confined spaces. When restrictions do finally lift, how many will have survived?

A fast-growing project created by nightlife advocates in Europe could provide one way to keep night businesses alive and working through the lockdown period, and the semi-lockdown that could linger long afterward. Called United We Stream, the combined live-streaming and fundraising platform hosts live music, DJ sets, performances and other live experiences from a growing roster of venues across Europe. Patrons are invited to drop into daily events staged for the platform, and invited via on-screen buttons to donate money if they can, either by buying merchandise or by splashing out on a “virtual drink.” These donations are plowed back into keeping music and nightlife scenes alive.