😷 Music's long winter starts now
Renewed lockdowns accelerate music's troubles. Here's some things you can do.
We are heading into music’s longest winter. There was always a sense that we’d see a second wave with people spending more time inside, together, after the summer. That second wave is here now, with the EU’s infection rates finally surpassing those of the US:
This means renewed lockdowns, “lockdown lites”, and prolonged measures. The headlines for the music industry read as you would expect:
I imagine that without more support, we’ll see lots of people throw in the towel over the next few months. Whether that’s clubs and festivals that go out of business, people who work in such places who decide to start a new career elsewhere, and people who in other ways depend on live music, like artists, agents, etc. By the time warm weather comes back around to the northern hemisphere, and with it lower infection rates and a chance for outdoor events, people who will have been part of this industry for years will have left it.
Some things you can do:
Find out what music & cultural organisations are lobbying for government support locally and see what you can do to amplify them.
Donate to support funds if you can - most countries have at least one. Google it.
If you’re a music company or startup and you have job openings: share them far & wide, instead of privately. This is not only important for the sake of inclusion, but it will also give people in music a way to stay in music.
If you’re a company: think about how you open roles. Are there ways to make roles more compatible for people making a career switch inside music?
Participate in long-term thinking. We won’t “return to normal”. The world will be a different place post-pandemic - especially the world of music. Balance helping others keep their heads above water (or your own) with imagining where the world might be 5-10 years from now. What trends do you see? What might they impact? Plan for that.
If you’re new to MUSIC x CORONA: we send emails like this one out twice a week. It’s free.
Billie Eilish livestream charged $30 for tickets, which didn’t prove to be too much. The show had stunning visuals (online music is a visual culture) and fans on screens throughout the show.
Is the time ripe for adaptive music? Composer Ellen Reid created a location-specific music work that you install on your phone and then interactively listen to as you walk through New York’s Central Park. It’s called Soundwalk. I’m a big fan of projects like these, since they push beyond the traditional constraints of recording music. Back in 2011, a duo named Bluebrain also made an interactive composition specifically for Central Park. Perhaps now with social distancing and people wanting to get out of the house more, the time is ripe for more mainstream adoption of these concepts.
Gorillaz and Beck are the latest headliners to cross over into video games, as they appeared on Animal Talking - a talk show inside Animal Crossing - to perform their new song.
The US National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) raised $1.8 million through its 3-day #SOSFest, which saw major artists streaming from 25 indie venues across the US.
Henry Prince and Jeremie Joubert wrote a detailed guide to monetising livestreams. Goes into everything from ads to tipping, paywalls to subscriptions, merch to connecting it all to your presences elsewhere.
The pandemic has functioned as an accelerator for certain trends. I assume the increasing number of people building complex things in low-code to no-code environments has been accelerated too. One of such environments is Roblox. 80% of US kids between 9-12 have played Roblox. Under 13s spend more time on Roblox than YouTube, Netflix and Facebook combined. And that's PRE-pandmic.
Music Tectonics just did a podcast with Roblox’ global head of music John Vlassopulos. They have big plans for music in 2021.
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Next week: special US election edition
Keep your eyes peeled for a special edition next Tuesday, as we’ll look at this newsletter’s topic in the context of the US elections. It will also be the first time Maarten and I actually co-write a newsletter edition - we normally just take turns.
Since it will be a bit more work editorially, I’ll be able to give people on the MUSIC x Patreon a preview ahead of time.
Nostalgia is one of the key drivers in music trends currently. I’ve always referred to drum & bass music as my ‘home genre’. I’ve been listening to it a lot more recently from a Spotify playlist I started building ten years ago, which has amassed more followers than my TikTok account, but way less than this newsletter.