Best Livestream (Music)

Fresh Produce Beat Battle

Staff Pick

Music livestreams can fall kind of flat. The problem lies mostly in the lack of atmosphere that you get compared to when you attend a live show in person — the simple fact is, watching a concert on a screen is never going to compare to standing shoulder-to-shoulder in a sweaty crowd belting out the lyrics to your favorite song with a small army of strangers. But St. Louis’ Fresh Produce Beat Battle has an ace in the hole: an element of competition. By pitting producers from across the nation against one another in a bracket-style tournament, with cash prizes and bragging rights on the line, the long-running event keeps things shockingly lively even as it’s gone digital. And the event brings top-notch production values too, utilizing Zoom and OBS Studio to keep the competitors on screen while their work still sounds stellar. Perhaps best of all, the competition has moved from being a monthly affair to a biweekly one, offering up twice the escape from the drudgery that is life in 2020. Frankly, with live music on life support, many sports canceled outright and the iterations of each that remain limping along at best, finding something worth rooting for is a win unto itself. Let us give thanks for the bounty that is Fresh Produce. — Daniel Hill

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