Coronavirus affecting Music Industry a lot more as SXSW is canceled. Coachella is delayed. Live Nation and AEG tours are suspended. Broadway is going dark. Some TV talk shows continue, eerily absent their lively studio audiences. Major sporting events are off until further notice.
With the worldwide concert industry now in flux, the coronavirus disruption has created a volatile environment for artists, musicians, songwriters and producers on every level .The music community has been hit especially hard by the coronavirus outbreak, with the cancellation or postponement of festivals large and small, entire concert tours and individual performances nationwide.
The brisk pace of the coronavirus outbreak is causing chaos in every sector of the entertainment industry. Curbing infections means breaking up crowds, and this is a bitter pill for musicians in particular, many of whom have come to count on touring for income and exposure since the record industry bubble burst in the early 2000s amid the rise of digital piracy.
Music Festivals are cancelled
If you think the coronavirus pandemic?s only affected massive festivals like SXSW and Coachella and big-scale tours like Billie Eilish?s and Cher?s, think again. As more metropolitan areas take necessary steps in an effort to contain the virus?s spread, thousands of smaller acts are having their entire year ? and, in many cases, their only source of income ? completely wiped out. Even in the best-case scenario, the spate of nationwide event postponements and cancellations will likely affect concert bookings until the end of the year, drastically changing the live-music landscape for the rest of 2020.
In an effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus, the CDC recommended a measure called social distancing, a form of self-quarantine that recommends avoiding large gatherings. From national acts like Tennis down to local bands playing bars down the street, those measures have compelled bands to cancel practices, concerts and entire tours in the interest of public safety.
Music streams falls down
The isolation caused by the spread of coronavirus means people are sitting inside all day streaming music, right? Actually, maybe not. At least for the most popular songs, people in some highly affected countries are streaming far fewer songs during the pandemic than before.
In Italy, one of the countries hardest hit by coronavirus, the top 200 most streamed songs on Spotify within the country averaged 18.3 million total streams per day in February 2019. Since Italy?s prime minister announced a national quarantine on March 9th, the total streams for the 200 most popular songs have not topped 14.4 million. There was a 23% drop in top 200 streams on Tuesday March 17th compared to Tuesday, March 3rd.
In the streaming age, Coronavirus affecting is Music Industry we?ve learned that many listeners who won?t necessarily pay very much for music will often spring for access and memorabilia. The enterprising artist is out on the road on both sides of the Atlantic hawking merch and doing meet-and-greets as often as their bodies and minds allow, the idea being that fans who have the means can subsidize what the casual listener no longer will. VIP ticket sales and nightclub appearances offer perks and access not everyone can get their hands on. It?s extra cash for the artist and a measure of clout and connectivity for fans. Memories are big business. The coolest place you can be in an era where everyone can stream all the same music and movies for the same price is in the room up close with someone you look up to.
What can we do?
What can we do? Support, support, support. If it?s in your budget, show love to an artist you like. Buy an album. Hit up a merch store. Keep running up streams and helping boost artists? signals on social media. In the long term, let?s start thinking about better ways to navigate the relationship between artist and audience. Fan-funded album projects cut overhead way down.
Bandcamp gives attention to independent artists without charging them to upload music or taking an absurd cut of the revenue. (Their rates run 10-15 percent on music and merch.) Artists like Newark rapper Mach-Hommy and Long Island?s Roc Marciano have been setting higher price points on their work that more deeply take into account the costs of working and living for talent instead of just the average price the public is willing to pay, following in the footsteps of Nipsey Hussle, who bet that his following would run him $100-1000 for a mixtape and succeeded.
Shell out for early access instead of waiting for the music to eventually hit streaming services, and you get to feel like a part of the process. Of course it?s not just the entertainment industry feeling the pinch from the current climate of social distancing. But those who can should do what they can, whatever way they can.