How ,and on what the audience members focus attention is the crucial variable here.The difference is between direct and diffuse attention.Those who come for music direct attetnion to the stage more often ,those who came to eat ,drink socialize ,see and be seen less often.I've certainky been to music events where the audinece was very focused on the stage ,but not necessarily the music. So much of this has to do with where the eyes are directed,but one can hear without seeing. But what of the performer's attention.The standard show biz tricks HELLO CLEVELAND ,LET ME HERE YOU SAY,make the audience feel attended to.What do you do when the audience is applauding ?Do you fiddle with gear,or noodle on the notes of the next song,do you listen to the applause/Do you open yourself to it as you would a truly great piece of music and let it move you? An interesting approcach esp for improvisational music is for the performer(s) to pay very keen attention to the audience-but in a diffuse way.The idea is to really hear and feel the physical and emotional energy present in the room,or space the performer and audience share.,I think to the extent that one can feel the vibe and express music into that energy field in a way that moves with it the audience finds the music,true irresistable .like steering out of a fishtail when driving.If we really are attuned to these spectrums ,treating the visual as secondary,the audience will experience the music wether they pay attention or not. I opened for Fishbone once and they'd mastered this approach in a perverse way. Rock music that's meant to be annoying to parents( I know that's redundant ,but it is how certain styles work,now that I'm old enough to have teenagers maybe I could get rich by creating music that I hate)) becomes predictable and you can start to partially screen i out ,but Fishbone was so attuned that as soon as you would start to screen they would change and become more annoying.If they applied those skills to music designed to make you feel high they would be totally amazing.Anyway it's not the subjective aesthetic qualities that make this approach work.Perhaps it could be called Ambient Attention,yet another oxymoron.