For 300 days straight, Josh Daniel has streamed a 2-hour concert from his couch, his porch, the beach — wherever he was, thousands of fans followed.
Why it matters: Daniel, a career musician, says the daily shows kept a roof over his family’s head through a time of uncertainty as local venues remain closed due to the pandemic.
- A number of Charlotte musicians and venues like Neighborhood Theatre have also used Facebook Live and other platforms to stream shows and generate tips and merchandise sales throughout the past year.
Daniel’s first show was on March 17, the day Gov. Cooper announced new restrictions that closed restaurants and limited mass gatherings. “I said at that first one, ‘I’ll play every day we’re in shutdown,'” Daniel recalls. He hasn’t missed a day since.
By the numbers: The livestreams have been transformational for Daniel’s career, he says. In 2020, he was ranked No. 8 on Pollstar’s top streamers alongside heavy-hitters like Norah Jones (No. 3) and The Grand Ole Opry (No. 1).
- Nearly 20,000 shares on Facebook.
- About $50,000 in donations to charities, including Children’s Craniofacial Association, a nonprofit close to Daniel, whose three-year-old son, Sonny, was born with Apert syndrome, a genetic disorder.
- Daniel hired 2 part-time employees this past year to help ship merch and coordinate the live shows.
Daniel’s fan page, called “The Jamily,” has garnered over 2,000 members since the private Facebook page was created in May.
- The Jamily goes beyond listening to the daily shows — they organized a Secret Santa gift exchange and a virtual recipe swap.
- When his son needed surgery, fans sent flowers to his hospital room.
I joined after hearing the faint sounds of Grateful Dead music from my porch this summer. I walked a block and a half toward the sound and found Josh strumming along.
What they’re saying: As much as the virtual tips and merch sales have helped Daniel and his family, fans say the music has helped them, too.
- “Knowing that we are participating in a live event provides a feeling of connectedness that is sorely lacking these days,” says Julie Figliozzi Wong, a fan based in California.
- JoDee Jetton says the shows have given her “a sense of hope that’s it’s all gonna be OK.”
- Glen Cordova started watching in March while ill with COVID-19. “It gave me a sense of relief from the misery of having the virus,” he says. “It also made me feel connected to others at a time when I felt very alone.”
Despite the virtual format, Daniel’s shows offer a senses of normalcy during not-so-normal times. Daily life carries on behind him as he plays — one day his wife, Kellie, did the dishes behind him. This Wednesday, as pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol, Daniel played in front of a beach sunset, his kids playing in the sand behind him.
What’s next: Like anyone, Daniel wants the pandemic to be over, but he’s guessing he’ll make it to the 365th show before that happens.
- He’s planning a west coast tour once the pandemic is over and already has a couple festivals booked for 2021.
Daniel is mostly optimist about the future of Charlotte’s music scene. He predicts we’ll see a renaissance here in the months and years after the pandemic, so long as the local venues can hang on.
“It’s like anything,” he says. “You take it away and you realize how much you miss it.”
Editor’s note: This article was updated after Daniel concluded his 300th show.