Tim’s Twitter Listening Parties: The Lockdown Alternative to Live Music?


COVID-19 has facilitated the cancellation of an entire year’s worth of gigs and festivals worldwide. Experts have anticipated that live music will not be able to return until Autumn 2021. Economic downturn has placed venues under threat, and many music publications face an uncertain future. Amongst this depressing backdrop are Tim’s Twitter Listening Parties. Organised by Tim Burgess of The Charlatans, they have received immense popularity since they began back in March. Serving simultaneously as an alternative to live music and a beacon of hope, the listening parties take place each night. Above all, accompanied by live commentary on Twitter with insights from both the artists and fans alike.

A tweet from Bombay Bicycle Club in lieu with Tim’s Twitter Listening Party

This format has been hugely successful, with one New Order song receiving a total of 56,000 tweets.   

Previous Listening Parties

The album picks are carefully curated, representing work from some of the most cherished names in indie and alternative music. Each and every album is a classic. Included on this week’s schedule are the likes of The Horrors’ Primary Colours, British Sea Power’s Let the Dancers Inherit The Party, and Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures. Past listening parties have included 1980s picks Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s Welcome To The Pleasuredome, Kraftwerk’s Computer World, and New Order’s Power Corruption & Lies. Furthermore, representation from the 2010s has come in the form of Bombay Bicycle Club’s So Long, See You Tomorrow, Wolf Alice’s My Love is Cool, and Idles’ Joy as an Act of Resistance.

What Makes Tim’s Listening Parties Different?

Tim’s listening parties have become the most popular isolation sessions in lockdown, attracting listeners from New Zealand, Japan, and Antarctica. Every fan has a memory or a story of their own to contribute, separating these isolation sessions from the rest. Taking place oftentimes at 10pm, they serve as a distraction from the pessimism of the evening news.

Burgess has likened the listening parties to a gig; “the trepidation beforehand, then an hour of craziness, and finally a period where you’re kind of decompressing. The only difference with this is that nobody’s nicking your beers!” For those that can’t make the set times, all past listening parties are available at timstwitterlisteningparty.com. Moreover, you can read the tweets in real time while listening.    

Music has always been the perfect tonic to hard times. Lockdown has only strengthened its healing powers and the sense of community that comes with it. Live music might not be possible at the moment, but tuning into Tim’s Twitter Listening Parties with thousands of other like-minded fans is almost akin to the loving energy at a great gig. 

Words by Eleanor Noyce.


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