NewsPinellas County


Musicians reconnect with fans online as everyone practices social distancing

Posted at 3:48 PM, Apr 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-01 15:48:49-04

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- With concert venues closed, Tampa Bay area musicians are looking for new ways to reach their fans. Online performances are becoming the new trend.

Ronnie Dee and his son AJ may be the only two people in the room at All Access Recording in Clearwater, but their music is being listened to live, by hundreds, all over the world.

“The real victory in playing music is being able to bring people together,” said AJ.

Ronnie and AJ, like most musicians in the Tampa Bay area, saw their concert calendar plucked from them with no return in sight.

“Our livelihoods were completely taken away in the course of two or three days, everything was canceled with no recourse. We are all independent contractors,” said Ronnie.

So they began streaming live performances as a way to stay connected with their fans and possibly make some money through donations.

“If we have 2,000 views, if 200 people gave $1 that might mean the difference between keeping the power on or feeding our children,” said Ronnie.

They also said with so many people isolated at home right now they’d like to think online musicians are providing a much needed entertainment outlet.

“We put the art out there because we love it and hopefully we can share that with someone else,” said AJ Dee.

Every day, new sites are being created to keep up with the demand.

“All these groups are dedicated to live streamers. I’m going to share to every one of these when we get started and potentially 80,000 people could be watching,” said Ronnie.

This Thursday, Ronnie’s Band, Ronnie Dee and the Super Stars, were supposed to perform at the Rock the Park Concert in Tampa. Now, the promoters are holding the concert online instead, with every band still being paid to perform from their own home or recording studio.

“I’m really grateful because it’s a principle, it’s something that you are really saying, ‘I believe in music, in these twisted times, I believe in music,'” said AJ.