Several months have passed since the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic. We, at Planet singer, have decided to have a look at the actual situation (April 2020) and analyze the impact of COVID-19 in the Music Industry sector.
What is a Coronavirus and what is COVID-19?
Started in Wuhan, a central Chinese city, this virus is a novel Coronavirus, so new that it didn’t have a name, and like other coronaviruses, it is common among many animal species and can be passed from animal to human. Coronaviruses take their name from the typical crown (from Latin Corona) that can be seen around the virions (virus particles) through the microscope, and, when passed to a human, they tend to cause infections to the respiratory tract that can be mild like the common cold and lethal like SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrom ), MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrom), and the new COVID-19 (Corona Virus Disease 2019) that in many cases leads to pneumonia.
How did we pass from Patient 1 to a worldwide pandemic?
This virus is very contagious and the symptoms are very hard to identify. In most cases, it is asymptomatic for up to 2 weeks from the contagion and the early mild symptoms can be mistaken for a simple cold, such as dry cough, fever and breathing problems. If you consider how frenetic is our life nowadays and how many people we cross paths within the street, in the tube, underground, train or on a bus, in the shops or supermarket or simply in the office or elevator, you have a clear idea of how easily a virus, that at first is almost asymptomatic, can be spread.
Then came the lockdown and the quarantine: stay at home!
To slow down the spreading of this virus many countries had to force people to stay home, businesses to close and events to be canceled. Self-isolation and prohibition of gathering lead to a fast change in our habits and the fear of crowds is something our generation will hardly forget. These strong measures had a huge impact on the economy of these countries. Restaurants, pubs, bars, gyms and leisure centers, night clubs and churches, they all have been closed till further notice. Lots of offices and service companies had to requalify their employees and make them work from home when possible, and sadly lots of people have lost their jobs.
The first effects on the Music Industry.
One of the first signs we had that this virus was changing our way of life in a serious way was when all big public events like festivals and concerts have been canceled. One by one, all major artists and bands canceled their tours and postponed their shows until further notice. Some of them include The Rolling Stone, Elton John, The Foo Fighters, Kelly Clarkson, Jonas Brothers, Rage Against the Machine, Green Day, Avril Lavigne, The Met Opera, Madonna, Pearl Jam, Kiss, Aerosmith, Alicia Keys, just to mention a few. This is a domino that affected all major and independent artists and bands. Day after day, all main music festivals have been canceled and most of them will be simply deleted from the 2020 calendar without any chance to be postponed. Billboard Music Awards, Dreamville Festival, Eurovision Song Contest, ASCAP Experience, St. Patrick’s Day Parades, Primavera Sound Festival, Governors, Rock Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, Ultra Music Festival, Tomorrowland Music Festival, Academy of Country Music Awards, Daytime Emmys Ceremony, Cannes Film Festival, BottleRock Festival, and many more, the list of concerts, shows, film festivals and cultural events that have been canceled are endless.
The music industry is not only the artists and performers.
When we talk about the music industry often our attention goes to the main artists and performers, the bands and famous musicians that perform on big stages and sell millions of albums and are on the top charts of digital streaming platforms, YouTube, etc. The reality is that there is a big universe of people working behind the scenes that have been affected by this world crisis. It is important to remember that behind these artists there are managers, sound engineers and lighting engineers, photographers and designers, stage crew and assistants, drivers and make-up artists, graphic designers, and producers that have put their careers on hold. All those temporary jobs or seasonal contracts that have been canceled are affecting the lives of thousands of people worldwide that work in the music industry. But also let’s not forget about music stores and music instrument manufacturers, theaters and clubs. The list is very long.
Big and small artists are all on the same boat.
If the news talks mostly of the big artists canceling their tours and concerts, there is another side of the music industry that has been affected even more from this crisis. All smaller acts, independent artists, bands and singers that don’t have a label and work show by show, are struggling to keep the head above the water in this time of global crisis. If the big artists and the famous bands can survive thanks to the glory of the past and the strength of their presence on the radios, streaming platforms, and online services, CDs and merchandising sales, the small and “unknown” artists that need that weekend gig to pay the bills, often are not even mentioned by the news and press. The lockdown and consequent closure of all clubs, pubs, and bars that offer paid gigs to small and big independent acts affected the career and lives of many talented artists that see the future not very bright at the moment. Very few of them have a consistent fan base behind to sustain them, or an online presence that can guarantee them a proper income from streaming services, digital sales and other online revenues like major artists.
Will digital platforms save the future of the music industry?
According to Global health expert Alanna Shaikh, coronavirus will be the future and we will have to adapt to a new way of life. After this pandemic, things may be back to normal but we will have to get used to some new very strict measures that will change the way we participate in public performances, shows, and gatherings of all kinds. Even if all concerts and public events have been canceled, we have seen the downside of the huge increment of the usage of online platforms and streaming services that deliver music, movies and art of all kinds. The number of youtube videos’ views, Spotify streams, and digital downloads have skyrocketed in the last few months and went up to over 60%, due to the lockdown measure that obliged people from any country to stay home.
This is the Era of Creators.
In the last 10, 15 years we have witnessed a big change in the music industry. Internet and the digitalization of art grew exponentially every year, leading to a completely new way of listening to music and distributing the new and past releases. Technology is by your side. If in the decades before it would have been very expensive and time-consuming to create, promote and distribute a new single or even more a whole Album, nowadays we have the tools to create and promote our music in our home, and a possible worldwide audience inside the phone we have in our pocket. This time is the time of the creators. This is the time for you, artists, to ride this new wave and boost your online presence, your audience and why not, earn from it. Record your original songs or covers, upload them to your channel, share them on social media, distribute them on all digital stores, promote them through the endless number of advertising services on social media. Record your videos and start creating and engaging with your followers. Write music for others and collaborate with other artists on the other side of the world thanks to these online platforms. This is also a way to get noticed from labels looking for the next big act. Do not stay at home waiting for things to get back to what they were. Do not stay home being only an audience for the other artists that understood that things are changing and took action.
Take action and take your music career to a new level!
This is a unique moment where all your possible audience and new fans are sitting at home consuming digital content during the whole day. This is something that has never happened before and it is an opportunity that, as an artist, you cannot miss! Improve your marketing skills, learn new ways to distribute your music and take advantage of this great opportunity. If you want to take back your art and want to make a living out of it, this is your time to change, adapt and grow your music online! When, and if, things will get back to normal and you will be back on stage, you will notice that taking action now will help you in the future, you will grow your audience and sales and more people will want to see you perform live. Don’t waste this opportunity.
Do you want to know how to become an online performer, grow your fan base and make money with your music from home? Check out this article and TAKE ACTION TODAY!
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