Coronavirus and the live music industry

It’s safe to stay, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has had a massive impact on everyday life, no matter what industry you are in.

But the live music industry has been hit particularly hard, with many tours and gigs being cancelled due to the risk of infection. Some of these have been at the choice of the artist, some at the choice of the venue and some the tour managers.

Gaz Brookfield took the decision early on to cancel shows due to being a type 1 diabetic, so wanting to reduce the risk of infection to himself or others is pretty understandable. As I write this, I am also watching Gaz’s livestream on Facebook, with a Paypal as you want gig going on.

Frank Turner, the man who never stops going on tour has continued to play shows on his UK solo tour, currently ongoing. When I asked Frank about his take on COVID-19 and the live music industry, he had this to say:

“Coronavirus is looking a pretty catastrophic event for the live music industry, particularly at the independent level. No one really knows what’s going to happen, other than a lot of people are facing financial ruin right now. It’s thoroughly depressing. Times have been tough for a while now anyway, and this feels like a potentially killer blow. Hopefully when the situation comes under control, people will be able to get something back together, but it’s a horrible time for us at the moment.”

Lots of other artists have cancelled tours or gigs. I Prevail have postponed their upcoming UK tour for the time being. SXSW has been cancelled, as well as the Menzingers for their run of shows in NZ, and Spanish Love Songs for the remainder of their tour.

But this hasn’t just affected the bigger artists. Sofar sounds have annouced there will be no upcoming intimate gigs for a while, which will hit the smaller artists the hardest of all.

However, there is some hope at this difficult time.

Lots of small venues are staying open and encouraging people to still come down, provided they are well and are taking proper precautions.

Lots of artists are either experimenting with or have been talking about live streaming gigs. As I said earlier, while writing, Gaz Brookfield is experimenting with a Facebook live gig, and it seems to be going well with over 600 visitors in the first 45 mins.

Isolate Live is a platform that has been set up in collaboration with a group of artists. It aims to bring livestream gigs to people through a (kind of) universal platform. It looks good so far, and I hope it continues to grow.

So in the meantime, do continue to support your favourite artists by buying merch and paying for music. TrueStyleMusic will continue to post interviews and showcases, and I will be getting to as many gigs as I can – which sadly doesn’t look like many. And keep washing your hands, and stay home if you are ill.

Here’s to hoping this post will become meaningless as soon as possible.

Take care,

Ted

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