One initiative is misguided in how they provide relief to nightlife institutions impacted by COVID-19 – if you ask Chris Liebing, that is. The German producer and DJ has criticized United We Stream‘s approach to supporting at-risk venues, arguing that staffing empty clubs for live streams is “unnecessary and frankly stupid.”
United We Stream’s Berlin brand was launched in a joint effort between club owners and Franco-German broadcasting platform ARTE Concert in the days following the city’s March 13th closure of bars, museums and gyms. By providing live streams of performances in some of Berlin’s most famous nightlife destinations, the organization directs music fans to a donation portal through which they can aid in fundraising efforts for said clubs.
Liebing called United We Stream’s methodology into question via Twitter. “As much as I wanna help funding clubs, I find the idea of DJs sets streamed out of empty clubs totally unnecessary and frankly stupid during these times,” he wrote. “Streams are easily done from home. United we stream should really reconsider their approach.”
Specifically, Liebing denounced the meetings between DJs and club employees necessary for such streams. “Unless you need to do essential stuff then keep your physical distance,” he wrote.
…you need to do essential stuff and then keep your physical distance. The more we do that the less people will be harmed and the quicker the world will be able to open up again.
DJs, club workers/technicians in empty clubs are really not essential right now. My 2 cents.
— Chris Liebing Ⓥ (@ChrisLiebing) April 6, 2020
The dilemmas faced by nightlife professionals amid the pandemic are a microcosm of the quandaries now plaguing society at large. Lawmakers the world over have issued stay at home orders and called for shutdowns of nonessential businesses, but some question to what extent halting industry may result in more dire impacts than the spread of the virus itself.
Electronic music’s transition to digital performances has been predictably swift. 2019 saw a short-lived movement towards virtual events among more contemporary artists, but the trend has reemerged out of necessity in light of event cancellations on account of COVID-19. Prior to that, broadcasting platforms like Cercle and Boiler Room have long capitalized on the appeal of video DJ set recordings.
United We Stream’s next event will be broadcast from Berlin nightclub Diskothek Melancholie 2 on April 8th, 2020. More information can be found on their official website.