The past few weeks have been marred with nothing but cancellations and bad news for the live music industry including festivals, concert venues, and gatherings in general.
Not just the music industry, but the entertainment industry, in general, is having a tough time coping. With the novel coronavirus or COVID-19 as it is called, spreading around the globe like wildfire, governments around the world are grappling to take control. And the most common ways have been to discourage and ban large gatherings.
The CDC went as far as to say they do not recommend any gatherings of larger then 50-people for the next 8 weeks, which in effect there would be no events until May 2020 looking at the current situation.
While these cancellations are bound to affect people across the industry, some parts will be hit more than others. The Recording Academy decided to assess the level of damage these en-mass cancellations are going to have on the industry and say that though it seems to have just begun, the financial collapse is already taking a toll industry-wide.
In an article by the editor of the Recording Academy, John Ochoa, he says:
“As the coronavirus itself continues to spread, so too does its ramifications on the music industry. While industry experts and analysts are projecting that the live concert business could stand to lose billions, the financial fallout is virtually immeasurable at this point.”
The Academy also has a program to aid musicians in such a time of needs called the MusiCares program and reminded the industry of the same. Going on to say,
“If you are an artist or music professional who has been impacted by this unprecedented circumstance and is in need of assistance, please visit the MusiCares (link – https://www.grammy.com/musicares ) page to learn more about the financial, medical and personal emergencies services and resources offered by the Recording Academy.”
Live Nation and AEG, North America’s largest concert promoters, also announced all their tours will go on hold till the end of March. While the hope is to be able to resume by April, this remains to be seen.
In an effort to have a unified approach to the situation, executives from Live Nation, AEG, Creative Artists Agency (CAA), William Morris Endeavor (WME), Paradigm, and United Talent Agency (UTA) said they are working together to develop best practices to safeguard artists, fans, and staff in the concert industry.
As reported by Rolling Stone, they said “The world’s leading forces in live entertainment have come together to form a global task force to drive strategic support and unified direction, ensuring precautionary efforts and ongoing protocol are in the best interest of artists, fans, staff, and the global community,” the coalition said in a joint statement. “At this time, we collectively recommend large-scale events through the end of March be postponed. We continue to support that small-scale events follow the guidance set by their local government officials. We feel fortunate to have the flexibility to reschedule concerts, festivals, and live events as needed, and look forward to connecting fans with all their favorite artists and live entertainment soon.”
While the real picture will continue to unfold in these times of uncertainty, the extent of damage will remain ambiguous until there is more clarity about the issue on hand.
With each passing day, there are more and more personalities who are testing positive for the virus. Just today, Edris Elba took to social media to announce he has tested positive, in addition to Universal Music Group Chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge has also been reportedly admitted to UCLA medical center and is being treated for the coronavirus after he tested positive.
Breaking down what these cancellations mean in terms of ramifications to each area of the business is not as straight forwards as it may seem. Pitchfork broke down what this means and what the repercussions are for everyone involved, from fans and artists to the staff, vendors, and organizers themselves. Read the detailed break down here.
As individuals, what we can do right now is to abide by the instructions of health care officials and make sure we take measures recommended to curb the exponential rate at which the virus is spreading. Simply avoiding social interactions and large gatherings for any reason at all and practicing social-distancing is key here in addition to maintaining stringent hand washing and avoiding touching our faces.