😷 Music streaming and sales rebound; US lends millions to indie labels and bands; Mike Shinoda about making an album on Twitch; UK industry asks gov't for clarity on support scheme

Daily update for the music business on the coronavirus (July 8)

Music Streaming and Sales Rebound — Will Concerts Follow Suit? Five Key Insights From New Nielsen Music/MRC Data COVID-19 Report (Billboard)

A full 26% of respondents said they were likely to attend a live event one month or less after the pandemic -- a 5% rise from the last survey. Within that group, teens represented the biggest increase: 31% said they were likely to attend a concert, marking a 7% increase from the previous report.

US music industry ‘missed out on nearly 900m streams’ (Music Ally)

Audio and video music streams have recovered from their initial decline in the early weeks of the US locking down, and a second dip in early June coinciding with protests across the country. The net impact of those declines, though: “Given how streaming was trending, we can approximate the industry missed out on nearly 900 million streams,” suggests the [Nielsen Music / MRC Data] report.

US Federal Government Loan Program Lends Millions to Indie Labels (Pitchfork)

Sub Pop Records, Third Man Records, and Knitting Factory Records each received a minimum of $350,000. J. Cole’s Dreamville Records, Light in the Attic, ATO Records, Dim Mak, Rostrum, Cleopatra, and Stones Throw Records each received at least $150,000.

Eagles, Pearl Jam, Guns N’ Roses Among Groups Receiving PPP Loans for Postponed Tours (Rolling Stone)

The loans are listed to the artists’ touring companies specifically, with the Eagles’ loan, for example, helping retain 50 jobs, the data says. Earlier in the pandemic, large corporations like burger chain Shake Shack returned small business loans after criticism. The Los Angeles Lakers, one of the world’s most valuable sports franchises, was also granted a loan but returned it.

UK music industry calls for clarity on government’s £1.57 billion COVID support scheme for the creative sector (CMU)

“UK festivals have, to date, largely fallen through the cracks when it comes to financial aid and business support. Boris Johnson has told Parliament that he is doing all he can to support our ‘very, very valuable sector’, but we are yet to see evidence of that. We need the Prime Minister to back this up with meaningful action and confirm that festival organisers will be eligible to access this emergency support package.”

- Paul Reed, CEO of AIF

Safe & Sound: As Recording Studios Reopen, Health Concerns Clash With Creativity (Billboard)

Spotting a Rubik’s Cube on the desk inside the control room, the composer and songwriter cracked a joke to lighten the mood. "I picked it up and said, 'When is the last time this Rubik's Cube was sterilized?'" Madden tells Billboard. But his humor was lost on the studio’s lead engineer, Andre Cantave, who replied without irony, "This morning."

Mike Shinoda Talks Making an Album on Twitch and Life After Quarantine (Spin)

“On my channel, I let fans submit song style suggestions into a bowl, and I’ll pick a few of them to mash up together. Often times, they’ll submit things I don’t know anything about or things I actually don’t like. On the stream, I’ve mashed up Kpop, melodic metal, horrorcore rap, video game music, country, and “a song in the style of the Pokemon Mew.””

Wiz Khalifa to play Genius Live interactive livestream (Music Ally)

Wiz Khalifa will be first to play a Genius Live concert this Thursday (9 July). It’ll be free to watch, and fans will be able to vote on the setlist, leave tips, chat to one another, and spend money on “special purchases” including getting a shoutout from Khalifa, or even going virtually ‘on stage’ with him.


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Thoughts

The first number in today’s newsletter is important. We see a lot of reports about the willingness of people returning to concerts. They are often accompanied by headlines such as 80% of people willing to visit concerts after lockdown. Most of these studies have 2 flaws: 1) they’re carried out by ticketing companies and event promoters who are hurting now and are tempted to spin surveys as possibly as possible, and 2) most of these studies poll see said companies polling their own customers. So the headlines should read: 80% of regular customers of ticketing company who bothered to open a survey they received by email, would be interested in attending events after lockdown, according to ticketing company.

The problem with the 26% number (post-pandemic) from the Nielsen / MRC study is that people are notoriously bad at predicting their own behaviour. If you’re in a country that’s been easing lockdowns, you can see people who took COVID-19 very seriously suddenly go about as if nothing’s the matter. Polling such a person a few weeks apart may get you 2 very different answers.

So take the data with a grain of salt. Don’t throw them around like truths or facts, because they’re not (similar studies producing wildly different results is proof of that). Use them for guidance and for understanding the challenges ahead, so you can adjust your strategies and keep building towards resilience.


MUSIC x CORONA goes out every weekday and is composed by Bas Grasmayer and Maarten Walraven.

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