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Published on March 25th, 2021 | by Dr. Jerry Doby


How has the Coronavirus Affected the Music Industry

While the coronavirus pandemic has hit us all very hard indeed, regardless of our socio-economic background or indeed our geographical location, there are some who have been hit worse than others and will continue to feel the after effects of the COVID-19 era long after it ceases to be an ongoing concern.

The unemployment rate worldwide has risen to previously unheard of numbers, outside major recessions and severe economic depressions, and some industries by their very nature have seen their collective livelihoods vanquished by the virus.

The perception of the music industry to most is the sight of millionaire entertainers prancing around stages and big budget videos and social media channels with follower counts similar to those of the population of some entire natures, the reality is somewhat different.

Hit Hard

The music industry, from top to bottom, had already been hit hard by technological advances that meant that buying physical music has become something of a relic of a bygone time, and now the coronavirus stopped progression for some, dead in the tracks.

For the past decade plus most musical acts derived the majority of their income from playing live to an audience. That’s the case whether you play packed out stadiums or to a dozen adoring fans in a dive bar downtown. 

This revenue was essentially propping up large portions of the industry and now a year of not being able to perform to a live crowd has had a devastating effect on the music business as a whole.

Supporting Players

At this point it’s worth noting that the music industry doesn’t just ‘employ’ the artists that make and perform music, it also supports an entire ecosystem of thousands and those employed by music venues, hospitality areas as well as administrative employees of production houses, are now living on the edge.

Clubs, music venues, bars and all locations that ran off the back of musical acts coming through town, are shuttered and await the time when they can fully reopen. That time may be some way down the road for some nations and states and the level to which they can open is another concern.

It’s likely that any reopening will be staggered and supported by some level of admission passport scheme, and in reality the time when these locations can be at full capacity is some months, maybe years, down the line.

Streaming Takes Centre Stage

Streaming services have experienced, to an extent, a renewed resurgence and for truly major artists this stream (no pun intended) of income can be decent but for those who are not mainstream darlings, the rewards are slim to none.

It’s also worth noting that while streaming services such as YouTube, Spotify and alike are still seeing some positive numbers the overall trend is interestingly of a downward nature.

This is due in many ways to the attitudes to such services and the way they had been previously consumed. Office workers would listen on their way to work, music from such services would play in bars to customers. So even in this corner of the music scene, things are some way from what you might call ‘normal’.

A Solution Is Coming

The idea of ‘living with the virus’ is one that is gaining more and more traction. The sense that we can’t beat the disease and that we should learn to deal with it, is now seemingly a more palatable option after a year of being stuck on pause.

It’s likely that as we exit the lockdown, wherever we are based, that vaccination programmes will be accompanied by some type of ‘passport’ that will permit you entry to locations, as well as giving you the possibility of leaving the country or going back to an office environment on a full-time basis.

One might imagine that on completion of the vaccine process, or having tested negative for the virus, you’ll then secure some sort of access pass. In which case it will be increasingly more important to know your own status.

Having access to quick testing facilities at home will be key in the coming months and years and with that in mind we’d recommend you read more about this product and the associated benefits of at-home diagnostic tests.

The easing of restrictions are seemingly on the cards and a return to our normal relationship to music and all the joys it brings is perhaps within touching distance. So hold on tight for festival season!


About the Author

Editor-in-Chief of The Hype Magazine, Media and SEO Consultant, Journalist, Ph.D. and retired combat vet. 2023 recipient of The President's Lifetime Achievement Award. Partner at THM Media Group. Member of the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture, the United States Press Agency and ForbesBLK.

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