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Entertainers Are Creating New Content While Quarantined: Is it Necessary?

“Some entertainers are seeking to console or at least occupy the attention of those in lockdown by creating new content to stream online.”

As America joins other countries in hunkering down to avoid coronavirus, the internet is a safe bet for whiling away the hours at home. Some entertainers are seeking to console or at least occupy the attention of those in lockdown by creating new content to stream online.

In just one week, several videos have already gone viral: a celebrity singalong to John Lennon’s ode to peace and harmony, “Imagine”; rock stars giving intimate, dialed-down concerts from their own homes, and talk show hosts replicating their formats from home too.

Disney also famously released their hit animated blockbuster Frozen II, three months early on their streaming site, to keep kids occupied while they’re on hiatus from school.

MTV has even returned to their roots to take advantage of this new market, so to speak: premiering last week was “MTV Unplugged”, an old mainstay for musicians to perform their music in a stripped-down, acoustic format. Now, it’s featuring musicians who will do just that while quarantined, of course. The series is available now on MTV YouTube, Instagram and Twitter starting March 20. The first artist to be featured is Grammy-winning and platinum selling hip-hop artist Wyclef Jean. Other artists are expected to be announced soon.

However, if one were to adopt a cynical view of this new bout of online content, a chief question could be: didn’t we already have thousands of hours of content to view online — before coronavirus upended our lifestyles? How is it any different than viewing new content that celebrities are apparently trying to make in response to the virus?

There is some merit to creating new content in the wake of this unprecedented upheaval to civilian life, though.

MTV is using their platform to promote the use of safety measures during this global pandemic. Their new online “MTV Unplugged” coincides with their own #AloneTogether campaign, a global social media initiative that educates young people on the importance of social distancing in order to flatten the curve of the coronavirus pandemic.

Jimmy Fallon’s online version of his nightly talk show, “The Tonight Show: At Home Edition”, highlights a different charity each night. His segments have helped raise more than $31,000 for Feeding America, and $52,000 for Broadway Cares’ COVID 19 Emergency Assistance Fund.

Also, several concerts and music festivals have been cancelled or postponed indefinitely, for the sake of social distancing of course. Many music fans are missing out on their favorite artists performing live. Perhaps seeing them perform now via streaming, in virtual real-time, is the next best thing — a sign of our times? Late-night talk shows produce new episodes nightly; fans may yearn for their nightly dose of jokes and interviews too.

As of March 22, several states in the U.S. have been ordered by officials to “shelter in place”, affecting nearly 75 million Americans. It seems inevitable more Americans will be expected to do the same.


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