Effects of Coronavirus on the Music Industry: a Detailed Summary

Cancellations of concerts and other crowded live music events were the initial, and arguably the most brutal, consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. With concerts, festivals, gigs and tours all up in the air indefinitely, here we take a closer look at the effects of Coronavirus on the Music industry; specifically individual artists.

People are Streaming Less Music… huh!?

Surprisingly, with more people at home practising social distancing, audio music streaming has actually decreased worldwide according to many sources.

How is it so, with more time to spend using music streaming services, that audio music streaming usership has decreased? While it seems sensible to have assumed that music streaming would increase during this time, consumer behaviour and reasoning are changing. With fewer people commuting to work, the preferred entertainment platform has proved to be video streaming services… Instead of increasing their use of audio music streaming services, consumers have opted for video streaming options instead.

People are Streaming More Video!

The effects of Coronavirus on Music industry are being seen in many different ways. In locations such as the USA and the UK, video streaming services have seen a steady increase in traffic since the week ending March 19, 2020. 

Consequently, Netflix has reprojected its estimated subscription numbers to show even higher growth, while platforms such as Twitch have witnessed its viewership increase 31% to 43 million between March 8th 2020 and March 22nd of this year.

Artists who have continued to release new music during the quarantine have had to become innovative in the way this music has been marketed and are therefore relying heavily on social media and Youtube. Latino artists such as J Blavin and Bad Bunny have released music during this time, with great success, by accompanying new and already released audio with powerful video clips on their Youtube channels. The viral film clip of Bad Bunny’s song “Perreo sola” was filmed in lockdown and shows the artist dressed in women’s clothes. The video has reached 204 million views. Similarly, J Balvin pushed ahead with the release of his new album “Colores” despite of the foreseen effects of Coronavirus on Music industry. However, the album has been received well with accompanying Youtube videos and a strong social media presence by the artist to connect with fans.

Live video streaming – the new way to ‘attend’ live music gigs

In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, many individual artists and other live concert events have migrated to live video streaming platforms such as Twitch. To support this change in music consumption, Bandsintown has launched a new feature. As a consequuence, Bandsintown will now push out a “watch live” notification to advise fans when musicians are live-streaming shows. The notifications will also appear on Facebook pages, Instagram Stories, and other locations that house Bandsintown listings.

The number of viewers watching live streams has dramatically increased across platforms such as Twitch, Instagram, and YouTube. In their ‘Music and Performance Arts Category’, viewership on the live video streaming platform Twitch increased by 524%.

The list of cancelled and postponed gigs and tours due to the coronavirus pandemic is seemingly endless. From Billie Eilish to Shania Twain and the Jonas Brothers to Baby Shark Live. As a result, the Amazon-owned platform Twitch (which is normally made up principally of gamers) has become a haven for people from sectors affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Twitch has become a makeshift home for the live events we have had to sacrifice due to coronavirus.

Twitch isn’t the only platform that artists and musicians are taking to. An increase in the use of Instagram live and other applications as a way for artists to connect with their audience has been seen. There are also smaller-scale initiatives that have been born out of these circumstances such as The Quiver. The Quiver is an Australian based independent online DJ platform who live stream DJ sets and work to provide local, independent artists with visibility.

A full list of live stream events on platforms such as Twitch, Facebook pages, TikTok, TonyAwards.com and BroadwayOnDemand.com can be found on Billboard’s website and is consistently being updated.  Many other sources of curated live stream music events on various platforms and Twitch electronic music live streams have been created to help music lovers at this time.

How can you support local and independent artists during this time?

Now, more than ever, it is important to support local businesses, the self-employed and those who have been greatly affected by the novel coronavirus. This includes independent musicians, whose income has been severely diminished.

So how can we do this? Firstly, many of us have more time on our hands, and our favourite artists are moving their ‘live gigs’ online. The majority of the platforms mentioned above are accepting tips and donations for performing artists during live streaming events. Some independent artists are also self-managing live stream performances on their social media (Facebook and Instagram pages). Therefore, be sure to seek out, follow, attend and donate at live stream gigs and support your favourite independent artists! 

You can also help by making playlists and streaming independent and local artists’ music on Spotify and Apple Music, watching their YouTube videos, subscribing or visiting online stores where you can purchase CDs and other merchandise. Remember to always stream and download songs using ethical and trusted sources to ensure that revenue is being shared directly with the artists.

Finally, if you’re working on any creative audio-visual projects, be sure to purchase royalty-free licences to tracks and songs by independent artists to feature in your projects. It’s the best option for creators, and it also supports independent artists both economically and through the visibility of their work.

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