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How Music Industry is facing Coronavirus
March 11, 2020

How Music Industry is facing Coronavirus

At this time, it is difficult not to talk about the risk of pandemic with Coronavirus taking a toll on the music industry. Even though the major part of what we do here at Reprtoir happens online, the whole industry is impacted by the virus spreading. Let’s take a step back and look at the whole picture. What are the music industry players doing to respond to the spreading?

The situation: music industry facing a decline of live shows

It is no news for anyone, live shows, festivals and concerts are getting canceled or postponed. Whether it’s Tomorrowland which was supposed to to gather around 25 000 participants or concerts in big venues all over the world, big gatherings are not happening to prevent Coronavirus from spreading. The bigger events are considering pushing the dates until September. For instance, Coachella is postponed until October. Live is expecting huge losses.

On the professional side, conferences are being canceled too, with their own load of crisis management. We all have in mind the cancellation of SXSW, without an insurance covering pandemics. A loss estimated around $350 million for the city of Austin, and a huge impact on the film and music industry. For the rest of the year, it is difficult to know when the series will end.

So now that costs have to be taken in from organizers and events attendees, that networking is on hold and live shows are being canceled, how does the industry respond?

Who is impacted: live & events

All in all, the whole music industry is taking a major hit. I’ll keep my focus on SXSW here because it is the more relevant. Independent artists, music execs are losing a massive platform for exposure and networking. This kind of events generally connects industries too fragmented, represents a place to launch new trends and gives artists a way to reach out to a new community.

Unsurprisingly, event organizers, promoters and their teams are put to technical unemployment. For now, to stop the Coronavirus from spreading, France and Germany have forbidden +1000 gatherings until at least mid-April, Italy is in a nationwide quarantine. First analysts are estimating economic loss for the music industry around $5 billion.

On the live side, numerous shows are pushed until after summer. But other strategies are put in motion, such as limiting the number of participants even if it means not filling the venues. Nada Surf is even doing two identical sets in one night to be able to maintain the concert in Paris.

Of course, livestream is a viable option and it is one aspect that could even benefit from the lack of in-person events.

Phone recording a live music show

Other parts of the music industry: what to expect?

Speaking about livestream, broadcasting platforms are about to get more attention. It could be a viable option for restrictive concerts, but also a good solution to compensate cancellations of professional conferences.

Looking at the recorded music part of the industry, things could actually keep going well. Warner Music Group announced the adjournment of their IPO, seeing the panic touching the US stock market. But, since less live events will be happening, consumers’ behavior could actually go their way. Music streaming is still expected to do well during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Even if some parts of the industry can make it through this tough phase, actors are rarely focused on just one aspect of the music business. So where do we go from here?

Marshmallow live music show

What to do now: staying on top of things

At this point, everything comes down to crisis communication. The impact on the music industry is obvious, and keeping clients, partners, public updated is mandatory. On this topic, I can only advise you to take a look at the tribune by Andy Saunders, corporate communication and reputation management expert.

As for yourself and your team, here are the official advices. Stay safe!

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