😷 Techstars Music startup accelerator goes virtual; The future of techno tourism; France axes social distancing for small events; NY Philharmonic restarts in pickup trucks

Daily update for the music business on the coronavirus (August 27)

Techstars Music 2021: Unprecedented challenge… and opportunity (Medium)

Techstars Music 2021 will run virtually — we will no longer require startups to relocate to Los Angeles upon acceptance. Our $120k USD per startup funding offers will remain the same, as will our perks package and program content. Techstars Music 2021 will start February 16th and end with our annual Demo Day on May 13th, 2021.

Saint Vitus’ David Castillo On Booking Strategies, Community & Raising $130K (Pollstar)

Very quickly, Brandon gave me Meredith Graves’ number, who used to be in Perfect Pussy and is head of music at Kickstarter. She was really enthusiastic and like, “I want to do this and I want to use Kickstarter in this way,” which I hadn’t thought about because I’d never made a product to fund. That’s usually what Kickstarter is. We basically changed the rules for Kickstarter. Through their legal team, they decided it’s a rights thing, basically, that a venue or a place can be a product. That wasn’t necessarily very clear at first.

Live music 🎤

What is the future of techno tourism? (DJ Mag)

So the loose plan is to stay closed until a vaccine is widely available, and the focus is on government support until then. But this doesn’t account for the prospect of significantly fewer people coming back once parties return. “30-40% of club-goers in Berlin are visitors, tourists. Right now tourism is basically a ‘No’. So even if we can open the clubs, there won’t be enough people for all of the venues [to operate without a loss],” says Leichsenring [of the Berlin Club Commission].

France axes social distancing for smaller events (IQ)

There is no longer a requirement to distance patrons at events with under 5,000 people in France, although mask wearing must be "continuous". The only exception is in départements – so-called ‘red zones’ – where new cases of Covid-19 are rapidly increasing, such as Paris, Lyon, Bouches-du-Rhône in Marseille and Gironde in Bordeux.

Nashville live music industry on the brink of calamity; asks government for help (Tennessee Lookout)

As the stopgap assistance provided by the federal government and the state dries up, Nashville’s live music venues are on the brink of extinction. Fifteen percent will be gone in one month, 38 percent will be shuttered in six weeks. In 13 weeks, all but one independent music venue in Nashville will be permanently closed.

National Independent Talent Organization Bringing Attention to Potential Live Music Collapse (American Songwriter)

“We have been approached by many people trying to buy the club. Real estate executives think now is a good time to get a deal on ‘distressed’ property. I’m sure there are a lot of venue owners across the country getting similar offers. As one of them said to us, ‘Everything is now on sale’. I hate to think about what will happen to sold places, and what the future of historic venues will look like if help doesn’t come.”

Robert Mercurio, co-owner of the Tipitina venue in New Orleans

New York Philharmonic Restarts the Music With a Pickup Truck (NYT)

It is a rented gray Ford F-250 pickup truck that has been tricked out in red, white and black wrapping. And it — along with Philharmonic musicians — may soon be appearing at street corners near you for short, impromptu chamber events.

Live events are absolutely vital to our economy- and our humanity (The Overtake)

“I have especially been missing LGBTQ+ events [and] venues as it has been months since I have interacted with another queer person and it feels like I am missing a large and important chunk of myself, especially considering how often queer identities are forged on the dance floor with techno, disco and drag ball culture.”

Livestreaming 🎧

Skrachy launches livestreaming app for DJs – royalties included (Music Ally)

News of a livestreaming app for DJs can’t help but spark questions about royalties for the musicians whose work those DJs are using in their sets. Skrachy is a US startup which claims to have an answer for that: it will charge DJs membership fees, and pay royalties out from that.


Thoughts: megaconcerts and the return to live music

You may remember us sharing the news about a Bryan Adams concert in Germany, which was set to take place with a reduced capacity of 12,000 people in September. It has been postponed due to rising infection numbers.

It’s a good example of what the return to live music looks like. The organisers did everything they could to create a safe event with hygiene protocols in place, but you’ll still operate at the mercy of what’s happening in the wider context.

Since we don’t really know what a world looks like in which vaccines exist (there are numerous scenarios), it may be safe to assume that the type of uncertainty we’re seeing here will last until 2022. The questions then become: how far will government and community support stretch? Can the independent live industry survive without finding new revenue streams?


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

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