Post Pandemic Music Industry | The Popjustice Forum

Post Pandemic Music Industry

Discussion in 'Pop & Justice' started by xOJakeXo, Apr 15, 2020.

  1. My friend is a music manager for a well-known Canadian artist (no, it's not Avril Lavigne/Melissa). Over the last month, he's watched an entire tour, an award show, and other prominent promo opportunities be canceled or postponed indefinitely. Months and months of money and hard work out the window. According to him and other experts, many careers won't survive this. That includes musicians who depend on people like my friend to help create and promote their art. Thinking about some of our favorite independent musicians not being able to have the reach they want or the access their used to makes me incredibly sad.

    We've all seen acts of various sizes pivot their promotional strategies to live streams and pre-recorded home performances. Many of the albums slated for this year have been pushed back, some with arbitrary dates, some with no dates at all. Entire tours and festivals have been canceled, with some experts saying concerts won't be feasible until Fall 2021.. at the earliest. LA's Mayor just announced today that there won't be any live performances or sporting events until 2021.

    The future is grim. While we're seeing positive trends with the spread and containment of COVID-19, there's a long, uncertain road ahead.

    Hoping this thread can serve a few purposes:

    1. Discussion: I humbly believe this forum, along with its members, is one of the most progressive, intelligent places for music discussion. I'm consistently amazed at the level of insight produced by so many people, even when it's rehashing Kylie's Body Language era. In all honesty, I'm personally depending on the conversation around the changes about to take place to help us all deal with them.
    2. Promotion: The fact is, many artists we love won't be able to make music the same way. I hope that we can lift up artists looking to fundraise and promote themselves less traditionally and maximize their reach.
    3. Innovation: If concerts/tours aren't part of album cycles... what is an album cycle? How are artists making money? What stands in for live performance? Jewel fans may remember her Instant Live partnership where she offered concert recordings for purchase right after the show ended. I'd love to see new initiatives that leverage an artist's back catalogue, past performances, any way to bring music releases to fans. I'm praying Tori Amos lets me start an archive of purchasable performances from her past tours. It'd be fun to hear ideas others have, especially amongst the forum's own musicians and professionals.

    Anyway. Just wondering where everybody's heads are at. We're lucky to have the luxury to think about this stuff with so many people helplessly watching their lives destroyed. Nothing takes priority over supporting each other as humans, but music soundtracks humanity. I want to help it stay as strong as we can.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2020
  2. This is a good idea for a thread and let me start off by addressing point number three, innovation.

    The last few weeks of Dua Lipa's Future Nostalgia campaign.

    That is all for now—thank you for your time.
  3. I think Fiona Apple is super cool/innovative/punk for just dropping her shit digitally to start & not giving a fuck. I suppose Charli falls in that same category by choosing to make an entire album in a month & dropping it just because she has the extra downtime to be creative.

    I understand that there's (still) (some) money to be made in the music ~business~, but I hope some of the more well-established, wealthy artists capitalize artistically off of this downtime & worry less about their fucking numbers. I don't see why this wouldn't be an inspiring time creatively, it'd be great to see less of them trying to go viral on Instagram.

    It's incredibly refreshing & reassuring to see a few artists buck the trend & choose to give us music during this rough time - I can't help but be left with a bad taste in my mouth when other artists make up thinly veiled excuses to "press pause" on releases they have ready to go.

    As far as smaller-scale, indie artists go, it's much more complex & hard to say what the right moves are. I hope their fans still continue to come through for them & support them by purchasing merch & physical copies while this runs its course. I have & will continue to do so. Big props to Bandcamp for at least having one day dedicated to artists claiming 100% of the proceeds.

    I'm not all that fussed on concerts/festivals in general, so I don't have much of an opinion, except I empathize with the artists who make the bulk of their living off of it. And fuck Ticketmaster.
  4. Can we at least get socially distant outdoor concerts this summer?
  5. I wondered about that, but I don't see how any large scale production happens since the setup crew alone would force large groups of workers. Maybe if it's a simple setup.

    The more time passes, the more I think festivals (and even smaller concerts... bars?) won't return for another year at least.
    lushLuck and nooniebao like this.
  6. This is a great thread topic, so thank you for creating it first of all.

    The campaign for Dua’s album should definitely be used as an example of how a big popstar can still put out content, release an album (that is still sitting pretty at #1) and remain super visible despite the situation we find ourselves in. Honestly, everything her and her team have done has been sensational, especially when they could have pulled the plug on the campaign the moment we went into lockdown.

    I was having a chat with my boyfriend about this and this lockdown has been a real eye opener on which artists can actually thrive outside of the bells and whistles of their team behind them keeping them booked and busy. I’ve mentioned this all over the forum already, but in the case of smaller artists who don’t have massive label backing both JoJo and Tinashe have been incredible proactive in keeping their name in the conversation. Especially in Jo’s case when she has an album coming out (this Friday, pre-order that shit!!!) I was worried she’d just postpone everything. Instead she’s managed to go viral countless times, has drummed up a lot of interest in her new album and has landed performance slots on MTV all while from her home. Same with Tinashe, who doesn’t even have a project out. She’s given us concerts, dance classes and has kept her fans entertained and engaged.

    It helps that both Jo and Tinashe have always been (through necessity to some exten) very much ‘do it yourself’ type acts who have had to come up with ways to stay relevant when they don’t have a massive label machine behind them.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2020
    Euphoria, sesita, xOJakeXo and 10 others like this.
  7. I think the traditional way of promoting an album was dying anyway. The outbreak of course acted as a catalyst and made things considerably worse.

    Dua’s campaign is great but I feel like it was going to be great regardless since the opportunities were there. They still used the outlets and mainstream media tools they would have used anyway.
    Leopold and mindtrappa like this.
  8. Issue is, from what I’ve seen the few times I’ve been food shopping is some people don’t care about social distancing.

    I literally saw one woman walk down the middle of the aisle, she barged into me as I tried to move out of the middle into the side, she pointed and laughed at everyone moving away from her and her son was coughing at people and her family of 4 were laughing. All it takes is people like her to ruin it for everyone!
  9. It's interesting that you started off your post with this, because - and obviously I don't know if your friend is a manager for an artist who's well-known primarily in Canada (ex. Tyler Shaw), or a Canadian who's well-known globally (ex. Celine Dion) - my initial feelings about the negative impact this would have on artists revolved around my favourite Canadian artists (Victoria Duffield, Alyssa Reid/ASHS who unfortunately is rebranding at this time, Virginia to Vegas, PLAZA even though he seemingly will never release music again anyway) because as a music consumer it already appears that a lot of Canadian artists don't really have much happening as it is. They release a song, it's played on radio but streaming numbers aren't really significant, and without any promotional activities, which primarily seem to consist of summer festivals and... maybe a couple shows throughout the year, it's going to be even harder to try and get names and faces out there.

    Like I said, I'm coming from the perspective of somebody who loves music and enjoys paying attention to what Canadian artists do. Radios play a lot of songs by Canadian artists (as they're required to do) but nobody ever seems to actually know who's singing what because as it is people don't care. Summer festivals in particular are the primary form of promotion where I live (and within a 200km radius). I may not live in a significant market given I might as well live on the Moon where I'm at, but without those festivals being the only thing for anybody to do this summer, domestic artists are going to have a hell of a time keeping on. My city's main summer event was just canceled last week - that's already four artists who have lost out on local promotion.

    ...I know that comes off a bit rant-y and maybe I've naive or overthinking it but I am really frustrated and disheartened for every artist who's missing out on opportunities.
    Deleted member 22682 likes this.
  10. I feel like we'll see a shift towards fans actively wanting to support artists financially, now they know how the entire thing is hanging by a thread for a lot of the B and C list acts, indie bands and DIY girls.

    To me that means some form of transparency: artists encouraging fans to use more ethical and financially beneficial forms of support (buying merch, pointing people to use Bandcamp and not Spotify, tipping and donation buttons, paid livestreams and paywalled content) and being honest about the fact it's a symbiotic relationship.

    The normalisation of services like Onlyfans during lockdown will mean a lot of artists will be less scared to try out subscription services, I think. Artists like MIA and Zola Jesus have trialled this before but I think a lot of musicians have been shy of trying it because there's an assumption that it implies you're struggling for cash – when in reality it's actually a really good way of getting bits of content to fans that isn't in the quite strict parameters of, say, Spotify or Youtube. Having a semi-reliable source of income (even if it's a few hundred dollars every month) would make all the difference to a lot of musicians.

    I also feel like now is the time for a genuine ethical rival to Spotify/Apple: probably Bandcamp are in the best position to create something like this. Artists would get a % cut of your subscription depending how much you stream them that month, and not... whatever the fuck Spotify are doing.
  11. I would definitely be up for helping fund an artist's career in other areas, than the usual music, shows etc.

    Now is the perfect time for them to go into their archives and get the unreleased stuff out.
    xOJakeXo likes this.
  12. I really wish I could support some of my more indie/less well-known favourite artists right now, but I just don't know how. I have no good experiences with buying merch online and I'd rather not order vinyl so ... I'm a bit at a loss. The things that @bestinase has mentioned, like a subscription service for streamed gigs or extra goodies, does sound like a good solution. The only thing I've been able to do recently is supporting my favourite record shop. I wish I could do more. I feel for the artists that I follow online that have been struggling lately.

    I can't see concerts and festivals happening at all this year, unfortunately. I think even the concerts that ended up being postponed to October are a lost cause. I really miss going to gigs as concerts abroad are always the highlight of my month/year, but it must suck even more for the indie artists whose main income is gigging.
    xOJakeXo likes this.
  13. Artists should focus on creating merchandise that is not overpriced or tacky.

    Many fans are willing to support their favourites with some good quality merchandise that will not break their bank accounts.

    Perhaps ticket based streaming concerts could work too. Stripped back. Obviously much cheaper than it would be live. They could even have 2 or 3 different setlists that appeal to older and newer fans. List the setlists upfront so fans know which ones they would ve keen for.

    Some more popular bands could have setlists focused on one of their favourite albums. Imagine Madonna performing the whole of Ray of Light.

    Some artists are doing regular live performances from their homes via instagram where they sing 2 or 3 songs. A good way to keep your presence out there.

    Either way it is going to be incredibly tough for newer and lesser known artists to break out but the innovative ones like Dua may thrive in a less crowded market.
    Euphoria likes this.
  14. It’s been inspiring to see how younger artists are taking this on. Two or so weeks ago I watched a ‘festival’ on a meme account where the host had the artist’s Spotify and Venmo posted on the split screen above the act.

    I don’t know that it’s sustainable but I trust the young people who are hungry to pave the way here.
  15. I think there is definitely a market for online concerts once lockdowns are over. In South Korea SuperM just made $2 million dollars from virtual ticket sales. Though I do think fair pricing needs to be considered cause not everyone will be in a position to pay $30 for a virtual ticket even though it’s cheaper than most concert tickets in real life.

    That said I hope many big popstars and labels can learn from Dua’s hustle from her airbnb during this pandemic.
  16. I'm maybe less optimistic about the livestreaming prospect long-term purely because I feel like the novelty's going to wear off at some point once more and more artists start trying to do it. Plus the simple fact that it just doesn't come close to sharing a concert with other people in the same room, as well as the lack of stuff like lights/sound/smoke/volume that all make a gig a transcendent experience.

    I think the suggestion of doing special concerts that'd attract hardcore fans (B-sides, rarities, acoustic, something like that) is a nice suggestion, though it's kind of impossible to stop anyone screen recording them and throwing them on twitter, so the value is lost instantly. I dunno.
  17. Yeah, I’m more interested in how campaigns are going to launch with these limited resources rather than how currently active ones, with photoshoots and videos already in the bag, will continue. Artists like Dua and The Weeknd have it pretty easy at this stage. Yungblud just launched his new single the other day, and so far everything’s been done from the house he’s staying in while in quarantine. Charli is doing the same, as are Little Mix (?) via all their separate homes. So is that the new industry norm for the next 6–9 months? Should be interesting to see.
  18. I had a friend touring with Jessie Reyez on Billie Eilish's tour and things are pretty bleak for him now. As essentially a freelance touring musician, there won't be much work ahead, so he's having to figure out what to do next and where his income will come from for the foreseeable future.

    As others have said, there's not much to worry about when it comes to established acts - the Arianas, Drakes, and Gagas of the world can keep dropping music and get 100s of millions of streams without having to really lift a finger. But smaller acts and their teams are going to be in a really tough position for at least the next year.
  19. It's also really fucking tough for the people who work in the live sector of the music industry but don't have huge salaries. I'm not looking to start a pity party, but both my husband and I work in live music so we've both had pay cuts indefinitely, we've had to put our mortgage on hold (yes, we own a house and no, we couldn't buy one in London), cut a bunch of non-essential monthly outgoings etc. There's no sign of this changing any time soon so the next thing we expect is to be furloughed / made redundant. While we're both lucky to have jobs at the moment, realistically I think the concept of us both keeping them is 50/50 right now.

    It's absolutely fucking soul destroying when all you do day in day out is cancel tours and festival appearances, then try to reschedule them only for them to be pushed back again. It's really hard to find the motivation to get up in the morning right now.
  20. I'm mostly saddened about what's going to happen to live concerts. As people have pointed out, the majority of an album promotion or creation can be altered or moved online in one way or another. Streaming was already the dominant way of music listening and traditional promotional outlets like award shows and in person performances have been waning for a good year or two as well. But concerts and tours have no way of adjusting to this new vaccine-less climate, there's no way to scale them down since it would be very precarious for the crew's and artist's safety plus I dont think fans can unfortunately be trusted to follow regulations in such an environment. And this is going to have far-reaching implications since touring has been the bread and butter of all top music acts in the last decade. It's a very sad and uncertain state at the moment, and probably for the rest of the year at least.
    DoggySwami likes this.
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