The best channels and services for watching live musical performances, documentaries, and historical footage
How to Stream Live Concerts
Ideally, we’d all be able to pick up our lives and take a trip to see our favorite band in concert. But even the most avid music fans can’t make it to every show and festival. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to get your music fix without leaving the couch.
Here we’ll go over all of the best ways to enjoy musical performances at home, including services for watching live concerts, music documentaries, and historical footage of your favorite acts.
Use a live-streaming service to catch live concerts
We can’t all be digital nomads who get to roam the country in a retrofitted van following our favorite bands. But with the explosion of live streaming TV services we can still catch a piece of the action (and have a warm shower to boot).
A lot of the focus of new live-streaming services is on sports, with companies like fuboTV. But several streamers have branched out to offer virtual music events that air totally live, so you feel like you’re just another member of the audience.
If you’re wondering how to stream live concerts, these services have the answer.
Hulu isn’t just home to great shows like Great Expectations, Not Dead Yet, and Schitt’s Creek. It’s also one of the best ways to watch live music, thanks to a deal that Disney (Hulu’s parent company) cut with some major music festivals.
Hulu is the official television streaming partner for Lollapalooza, the Austin City Limits Music Festival, and Bonnaroo. That’s hundreds of major acts that you watch right there. Throw in Hulu’s big library of musical shows, documentaries, and performances and you should have plenty of content to get you through the summer festival season.
All Hulu subscribers can livestream all four days of the Lollapalooza 2023 music festival.
The festival begins at 12 noon (MT) on Thursday, August 3 and runs through 9 p.m. (MT) Sunday, August 6.
There will be two channels with completely separate lineups, so there will be tons of musical acts to choose from.
Here are some of the most exciting acts in the lineup:
- DAY 1 - Thursday, August 3, 2023
- Billie Eilish - Channel 1 at 7:45 p.m. (MT)
- Diplo - Channel 1 at 9 p.m. (MT)
- Portugal. The Man - Channel 2 at 5:45 p.m. (MT)
- DAY 2 - Friday, August 4, 2023
- The 1975 - Channel 1 at 9 p.m. (MT)
- DAY 3 - Saturday, August 5, 2023
- Pusha T - Channel 1 at 7:45 p.m. (MT)
The full lineup can be found on Hulu's website.
YouTube is the undisputed GOAT when it comes to finding footage of your favorite musical acts. YouTube has it all, whether it’s obscure interviews with Kurt Cobain, early rap battles between Busta Rhymes and ODB, or a professionally recorded two-hour Taylor Swift concert.
But YouTube is also increasingly offering live video streams. If you subscribe to your favorite musical artists, you may be able to catch some spontaneous live performances.
Bandcamp has long been a hub for indie musicians who want to grow their fan base. They can release their music on the site, share news, and even play live concerts with Bandcamp Live.
To stream live concerts on Bandcamp you’ll usually have to pay a small fee ($5 is typical for smaller acts), but you get a beautiful and intimate performance that feels like you're at your own local venue.
Twitch isn’t just for 13-year-old kids who want to stream Fortnite and spew edge-lord memes in their parents' basement. In fact, Twitch has grown into a huge platform where you can watch interesting people doing cool stuff, like playing chess, painting, cooking, and yes, playing music.
Twitch can be an awesome way to connect with up-and-coming artists as well as established acts. Live streams aren’t just a good way to catch live performances. They can also let you peer into the creative process as people write songs, come up with hooks, and even record.
StageIt is a unique streaming service. The only thing it offers is live concert streams. The concerts that are streamed through StageIt are only available online and they are not cataloged anywhere. It’s kind of like real life: no rewind and no replays. You just have to relive the moments in your memory, like that Green Day concert you went to back in 1999.
In the past StageIt has teamed up with some huge names, including Bon Jovi, Tom Morello, Indigo Girls, Common, Joan Jett, and Korn. But most of the artists on the service seem to be smaller, up-and-coming acts.
SongKick is more of a clearing house for concert tickets than it is a site for live streaming concerts. But the service does have a notable list of links to artists’ pages, YouTube channels, and other sites where there are streaming concerts.
If you are dying to see Bruce Springsteen’s perform live in 2023, but his tour isn’t hitting your town, then your only bet is a service called Nugs.net. That’s because Nugs has the exclusive rights to stream Bruce’s concerts. It has cut similar deals to stream other big acts, like Metallica and Santana.
To get access to Nugs live concert streams you have to sign up for a monthly subscription. There are two tiers: Premium Streaming, which costs $12.99/month, and Hi-Fi Streaming, which doubles the cost at $24.99/month. You can start with a free 7-day trial if you’re curious.
Watch recorded concerts and documentaries on streaming services
If you’re willing to give up the “live” part of the concert watching experience, then there are lots of ways to catch your favorite artists performing. Check out the extensive collections of taped concerts available on these streaming services.
HBO on Max
HBO does everything with just a little more class than the other TV streaming services. You can catch incredibly produced concerts from The Weeknd, Lizzo, Shakira, and more with the Max streaming app (formerly HBO Max). You can also watch some entertaining and educational music documentaries, like David Byrne's American Utopia.
Netflix has a bit of everything, including live concerts. You can catch Dolly Parton’s Here I Am, Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen), Homecoming (Beyoncé), Taylor Swift’s Reputation and more on the streaming service.
Peacock may not be as well-known as Netflix or (HBO) Max, but the streaming service has a lot of great musical content, including recorded performances from over 50 popular artists, like Rihanna.
Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video’s catalog is way too big to list out here. But it includes tons of concerts and biopic movies of your favorite musicians, like Tina Turner.
Qello is all about streaming classic concerts by incredibly popular acts. It’s the Woodstock of concert streaming apps. They’ve got Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, Fleetwood Mac, and many more. The music may be a bit older, but, as they say, “legends never die.”
You can sign up for a free 7-day trial membership. After that, Qello charges $11.99 a month.
Follow your favorite musicians on social media
There’s nothing like the energy of a big stadium concert. That said, there’s something magic about spontaneous performance. The saxophone player in the subway, the guitar player in the park, or catching your favorite musician warming up backstage.
Musicians are increasingly using social media apps to stream these sorts of spontaneous and intimate moments. Here are some apps to check out.
Instagram has become one of the go-to sites not just for pretty filtered photos, but also live clips. Many artists will share “reels” or videos of themselves doing an impromptu session or even play a concert.
Much like Instagram, musicians will often go “live” on Facebook to give their fans a look into their lives. Friend or follow your favorite musicians to make sure you’re not missing anything.
Who knows how much longer Americans will have access to TikTok. But for now, you can still follow your favorite artists. You can also catch clips of big shows from fans who are using TikTok to stream their concert going experience.
Frequently asked questions
A virtual concert may never be able to convey the same sounds, sights, and smells (stale beer?) that a real live concert gives you. That said, there are some ways in which a virtual concert is better than a real one.
First of all, you don’t have to leave your couch. Second of all, you can pause or rewind when you want to go use the bathroom or heat up a frozen pizza. Finally, virtual concerts are usually a lot cheaper than buying admission to a real concert at a big venue.
As we mentioned above, Facebook Live is a great service for following your favorite musicians. Sometimes artists will stream live music, but the site itself is not always the best for watching a full-length concert.
Yes. Peacock boasts over 50 performances from popular artists, like Rihanna and Adele.
The pricing for live concert streaming varies. On the low end, artists on services like Bandcamp usually charge around $5 for a live concert stream. On the higher end you have acts like BTS, who charged $45–$55 for a single day or $81–$91 for two days for a virtual concert experience in 2020.