This year’s health crisis has negatively affected every industry. However, one of the worst hit industries has been music. A mere six-month shutdown cost the industry more than $10 billion in sponsorships alone, and we’re already past this duration. Since large gatherings are also banned, revenue generated from live performances has also been greatly reduced. However, the music industry is resilient. Here’s how it’s surviving these trying times.
Home Recordings and Labels
Even though we’re encouraged to stay at home, this isn’t enough to stop artists from creating music. After all, Ariana Grande and John Legend were able to release an album despite the stay-at-home restrictions. Usher was even able to film a music video for “I Cry” at home earlier this year.
Many independent musicians have also begun starting their own record labels at home in order to support themselves and other artists. On top of releasing her new album this year, the singer BENEE created a record label called Olive. “I love finding new artists and giving them a platform,” she said. “It’s like a hobby for me.” With the proper documents and the right home music equipment, musicians are finding ways to move away from the traditional practices of making music and starting their career at home. A lot of success stories, like ukulele sensation Maia and independent songwriter Bea Kristi, all began in a bedroom.
While it’s difficult to host live concerts anymore, there’s nothing stopping artists from hosting concerts virtually. In fact, not only have virtual concerts given artists a platform to perform on but it has also made live music more accessible for everyone. For example, DJ David Guetta hosted a virtual fundraising concert on Instagram last April. Other popular artists like Miley Cyrus, Michael Stipe, and Demi Lovato have also hosted an online concert this year.
Opera houses and theaters are also doing the same thing. The Sydney Opera House opened its doors for indie artists and aspiring musicians to come and play. People can watch these live and for free on the official Sydney Opera House website.
Modified Concert Venues
Of course, that doesn’t mean that physical concerns are long gone. Event organizers were quick to modify venues with proper distancing protocols. One great example of a modified concert venue is the Virgin Money Unity Arena, where Sam Fender’s concert was held.
Each friend or family group got their own metal platform, complete with a table, chairs, and a fridge full of refreshments. It was a little more expensive than your average concert to offset the fewer number of people in the venue, but it was an outstanding success. It even garnered a lot of attention online due to how pleasant the viewing experience was compared to a regular concert. We may be seeing more of it in the future.
Whether you’re a popular artist or a new indie producer, you can start making money by publishing your music on streaming platforms. In fact, this year’s extended quarantine has only encouraged people to use streaming apps more. According to a report from Spotify, their service gained more than six million paid subscribers during the first quarter of the year alone. Though the numbers weren’t as big, more have been added in Q2 and Q3 as well. Other popular streaming services like Apple Music and SoundCloud are showing a similar rise in users.
Times may be tough, but the music industry found several ways to adapt. Whether this was by creating music at home, publishing it on streaming platforms, or hosting virtual concerts, the industry shows what it means not just to survive but thrive in such a time.