With the outbreak of or Covid-19, disruption has been rampant across all industries, especially the entertainment world. While streaming and social media are bigger than ever, live music has been taken out of the equation. This not only affects fans and artists, but also booking agencies, sound engineers, and managers.
The struggle is real for the live music scene, but not all is lost. We will hopefully see the return of in-person performances before long, and in the meantime, we can relive the memories of concerts and festivals past.
What can we expect for the future of the live music industry, and is there a reasonable timeline to expect a return to normal? Let’s take a look at the main factors at play, and consider some short-term solutions.
Vaccine and Immunity
Flip on the news nowadays and the Covid conversation is focused mainly on producing and distributing a vaccine. It’s uncertain how effective or desirable vaccination could be, but public health experts deem this to be a crucial step forward.
We can wait and hope for a vaccine, and it will hopefully fix our problem, but how long it takes for the medicine to take full effect is beyond our grasp. Speculation only goes so far, and it could be wiser to simply be patient as things develop.
Alternatively, some officials state that reaching a certain level of immunity in the population is the more intelligent way to deal with the virus. The debate has been drawn out and politicized, so it’s difficult to get the facts about the situation, but as soon as the live music industry gets the green light, it’s back to business.
Some musicians are eager to get back on stage and hold outdoor, socially distanced concerts with some degree of success. These can certainly work for smaller acts, and thousands of fans came out during the summer to enjoy themselves despite the situation.
However, as the weather turns, outdoor shows will become less viable, and things will likely go on pause until Spring rolls around next year. Of course, various countries worldwide are taking different paths to combat the virus, and artists will likely travel to places with fewer restrictions in the meantime.
Many artists have shied away from live shows and taken refuge on the internet to connect with audiences. Websites such as Twitch, Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube have all offered platforms for performances in a live format, and for fans, it’s certainly better than nothing.
While a livestream doesn’t completely scratch the itch of a live show, it is completely safe, and audiences can enjoy some degree of interaction with artists and other fans. The digital show format can be much more intimate than one might think, with ways of reaching out, asking questions, and making requests. Perhaps we’ll see artists continue to perform these online shows after the pandemic is through.
We may have live music back at some point in 2021, we may not. It remains to be seen how artists, venues, and public health officials will move forward with their strategies into the new year. Keep an eye on how industry leaders such as Mark Gillespie and his company Three Six Zero will navigate this changing landscape moving forward.
What can you do in the meantime? Be patient and follow the rules – simple as that. Where a mask. Practice social distancing. Try to stay home unless necessary. It’s hard, but the payoff will be worth it. If we work together and get just a few lucky breaks, we could very well be crowd surfing by next summer.