In recent years, there’s been an influx of musician biopics among the steady stream of concert documentaries, mini video diaries following a certain artist the day of the show, and exclusive behind-the-scenes footage that show the making of fans favorite videos. But what is it about these visual experiences that make them so addicting for fans and industry employees alike?
It’s not the fanfare, the stage sets, or the theatrics. It’s the personal connection that’s bridged between the musician, their experience, and the fans. While books and biographies do their own justice, there is something entirely different about seeing the world of your favorite musician come to life on the big screen.
For example, take Rocketman, the 2019 Elton John biopic — while Elton’s autobiography Me gives fans an inside look to the musician’s personal experience, the biopic brings it to the big screen and helps us visualize what it’s really like to be Elton John. The same can be said for biopics like Bohemian Rhapsody following Queen and Freddie Mercury on their tumultuous rise to fame. While these are large scale productions, smaller ones like Taylor Swift’s documentary Miss Americana and the Jonas Brothers’ Chasing Happiness also provide an in-depth view of the musicians behind our favorite tracks, albums, and videos.
As many of these documentaries show, it’s easy to get caught up in the fame — in the process of making it big, some artists have to make compromises, and just like us — they have to navigate their lives, heartbreaks, and experiences. The emotion these productions bring and value is the same feeling fans get at a concert — the feeling of connection, of understanding, and empathy.
Biopics and documentaries are important for a number of reasons, but greatest of all, they remind everyone involved that at the end of the day we are all human. More than that, they allow fans to really get to know the artist. While songs and books capture feelings in their own way, visualizing a lifetime is priceless.
In an era of COVID-19 and live stream concerts, biopics and musician documentaries have reminded me how rich this industry is. There is nothing that compares to learning about the process behind an album or the life experiences that formed our favorite musicians. Well, except for a live concert, but until we have those again — I encourage fans everywhere to consume as much musician media as they can. Who knows, you might learn something new!