🦠 MusiCares relief fund's new boss talks challenges ahead; Retooling Bandsintown for a world without tours; World's nightclub capital faces existential crisis; L.A. underground rave causes concern
Daily update for the music business on the coronavirus (June 17)
MusiCares’ New Chief Laura Segura Talks COVID-19 Fund, the Challenges Ahead and How We Can Help (Variety)
We’re seeing an increased need in private mental health sessions; we’re seeing a rise in addiction or challenges in people’s recovery; and simply meeting the needs of housing — there are eviction protections under the stimulus, but those will be expiring soon and we’re concerned that there will be a rise in homelessness in our community after those benefits are lifted.
Another way to characterize success: Physical events are coming back step by step, but livestreams now represent half of the additional creation of new events in our platform. It means artists are getting it. We are now in the second phase of this exploration because the first instinct was just to stay in touch. Livestreams are complementary to what fans used to have.
Most clubs always operated with paper-thin margins. Entry costs €10 on average, a fraction of what many clubs charge in New York or London. Berlin’s clubs view themselves as cultural institutions, where atmosphere, not profitability, is the mark of success. According to a recent study by lobby group Clubcommission, 51% of Berlin clubs either operate at a loss or break even. Most of the rest make small profits.
“Masks on everyone could help reduce the risk a bit, but even if many in the crowd were wearing them, I suspect they’d pull them down to talk, likely in very close proximity if the music is loud. Many would take them off to drink as well,” she added. “Will the [artist] be behind plexiglass? Tested for virus before performing? How are they being protected from the crowd and the crowd from them? We know that singing and shouting appear to help spread the virus farther than mere breathing or talking, which introduces additional risk.”
Music for Music, a new initiative that enables music professionals to market and sell face coverings, has launched to the global music industry. It’s described as an affiliate solution that offers “all global music industry professionals a way to help relieve pandemic financial insecurity”.
Venues in Israel had originally been given the go-ahead to reopen on 14 June for events of up to 500 people and at 75% of full capacity. However, the government pushed back the date over the weekend, with events halls still only able to reopen for religious ceremonies, such as weddings and bar mitzvahs, for up to 250 people, leading some to question why venues cannot open for events of a similar size.
Elsewhere in the Nordics, capacity limits have been eased much more swiftly, with concerts of up to 500 people already taking place in Denmark and Finland. If infection rates are kept under control, the capacity limit in Norway could potentially rise to 500 by September at the earliest.
As regular readers are well aware of, the pandemic has served as an accelerator for certain technologies, trends, and debates. The demand for a fairer split of industry has become louder, as artists and small companies face bankruptcy. That’s why I think it’s important to watch the European Commission’s anti-trust investigation into Apple’s App Store rules, triggered by a complaint from Spotify over Apple’s mandatory in-app purchase system through which Apple collects 30% of subscription fees.
Adding to the noise is a much-anticipated email app by the makers of project management tool Basecamp. The app, Hey, saw itself getting rejected for not having implemented Apple’s in-app purchasing system, despite having followed all the App Store submission guidelines according to Hey’s founder, adding: “There is never in a million years a way that I am paying Apple a third of our revenues.”
In the wake of the pandemic, lost revenues for artists, streaming services and labels’ deals under scrutiny, and pressure to find some type of compensation and re-arrangement for that, I expect the discussion of Apple’s platform cuts to hit more tables in the music business.
(Google charges a similar cut, but doesn’t force developers to use their payment systems in the same way Apple does)
Written while listening to a compilation of Romanian pop folk music from the 2000s called Sapte trandafiri on Spotify - a go-to summer genre for me to invoke nostalgia for South Eastern European summers.