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How The Coronavirus Will Impact The Music Industry

With the coronavirus upending life as we know it, questions are being raised as to how things will look once we eventually return to something resembling normalcy, and the music business gets back on its feet.

Guest post by James Shotwell of Haulix

The coronavirus is changing life as we know it, so we are predicting what happens once life returns to something that resembles normalcy.

It is time to accept that life as we know it is changing. The current quarantine and self-isolation efforts will end, but there is no going back. The music business, as well as the world, will have to accept we are entering a new reality where everyone will apply the knowledge and experiences from this unprecedented period to everything that follows.

Where the music business goes from here is anyone’s guess, but we have some ideas about three key aspects of the industry that we wanted to share:

Live Music:

Do you miss concerts? Of course, you do! Everyone misses live music, especially those in the industry whose livelihood depends on those performances taking place. The conversation around coronavirus has been about what’s already happening, which is the cancellation and postponement of events. Those changes kickstarted a domino effect that led to instability for countless professionals and musicians alike, all of whom are unsure when they will able to see music fans again.

We don’t believe the return to live music will be fast or instantaneous. The most likely return scenario involves various regions being cleared or approved for large gatherings. Venues will host ‘soft open’ events that host a limited number of guests to generate cash as quickly as possible. Local acts and cover bands will probably be among the first to perform outside of any major metro areas.

Fans are excited about live music returning. They may also be hesitant to enter a crowded space. We now understand how people contract Covid-19, and as a result, people may think twice before returning to venues en masse. That could lead to a short-term lull in ticket sales and lower guarantees, but remember, it’s only temporary.

Recorded music:

People are, thankfully, still releasing music. That said, many artists and groups are choosing or being forced to delay their upcoming releases until the coronavirus pandemic begins to slow.

Their reasons are numerous. Some artists are unable to get the physical products they need. Others are unable to create the promotional materials they need. Still others, especially those with high-profile releases through major labels, are unable to market their releases in a manner that ensures a return on investment for those that make their career possible.

We’re predicting a massive Fall release calendar. There will be multiple delayed releases from major artists finally reaching fans at the same time as material from artists who’ve always planned on releasing in the fall. That glut of content is going to force consumers to choose between releases, both for purchase and streaming purposes. Who will survive, and what will be their sales (or, more specifically, sales-equivalents)? Only time will tell.

Music jobs:

Anyone following our job board knows there are plenty of companies hiring during this time. There is always work, and there are still people looking for talented professionals to complete that work.

There are also a lot of people in our business who are suddenly out of work. Whether that is short or longterm remains to be seen, but once live music returns, there will no doubt be a hiring spree throughout the industry. Those hoping to secure the best opportunities should use the time they have right now to refine their skills, update their resumes, and do whatever they can to position themselves for success down the line. The competition is always fierce, but the next wave of opportunities will be different.

Something else to consider is how this time is informing the way businesses will operate in the future. Many companies are learning they don’t need large offices or a massive staff to succeed. People are adapting to the current conditions, and even though they miss the quote/unquote normalcy of the past, these adaptations may last for a long time, even after ‘shelter in place’ orders are over.

For more coronavirus coverage and music industry advice, take time to subscribe to our YouTube channel!

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company’s podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.

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