In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, live events are being cancelled left and right. Major universities are taking their classes online, and even the NBA has suspended basketball operations for the foreseeable future.
FanLabel takes our duty of keeping you up-to-date with the latest happenings in the music industry very seriously, and this situation is no different–but at much greater scale.
As for the music industry, Coachella, South by Southwest (SXSW), Ultra Music Festival and more have all been postponed. Artists like Pearl Jam, BTS and Miley Cyrus are putting their tours on hold.
The impact is causing a ripple effect—industry workers, artists and fans alike are all taking a hit.
Perhaps hurting the most are those who work within the music industry.
Today’s global music industry revenue is estimated at approximately $59 billion. Last week, industry analysts reported that the music industry stands to lose as much as $5 billion due to widespread effects of the coronavirus.
After the SXSW cancellation was announced, roughly one-third of its full-time workforce was terminated. With a full-time staff of about 175, that means nearly 60 people without jobs.
Additionally, SXSW’s economic impact on the local Austin economy totaled $350.6 million in 2018. Any local proprietors, like restaurants, bars, and hospitality services that depended on a surge in business this March are now left scrambling.
In the age of streaming, you may be surprised to learn that most artists make the majority of their money (over 75 percent of revenue) from touring.
To provide some perspective here, Taylor Swift was the highest-paid musician in 2019, and her “Reputation” tour the highest-grossing U.S. tour ever. From her stadium tour alone, she earned $266.1 million domestically ($345 million overall).
While surely Ms. Swift will not face too much of a blow with such astronomical numbers hitting her bank account, indie artists will be the ones left in a lurch.
Nashville singer-songwriter, Caleb Caudle, told Rolling Stone:
“If my tour goes away, it’s like a farmer losing their crops. Anyone who Is not a huge superstar, the time right before you go out on an album release tour—that’s famine right there. That’s when things are the tightest… the tour is like the tide coming back in.”
And when it comes to rescheduling festival appearances, musicians who planned to perform in March or April may not be able to make the same commitment six months later due to prior commitments or contractual obligations.
Fans are finding themselves in a tough spot, too.
While all ticket purchases will be honored for the rescheduled Coachella dates in October (or the option of a refund), the hospitality industry is not being nearly as accommodating. Nor is SXSW, which is not issuing refunds. Meanwhile, Ultra Music Festival is not issuing refunds, but validating tickets to the festival in 2021 or 2022.
As lovers of music, we sympathize with anyone who’s had to cancel their plans or lose out on any hard-earned cash due to fine-print clauses in various cancelation policies no one ever reads. But remember, these precautions are all being taken with fans’ best interest in mind.
Stay up-to-date with this list of major festivals and concerts cancelled due to the coronavirus.
How can we help flatten the curve?
With fear taking hold of the general public as panic spreads, we find ourselves in the midst of a global health crisis. Collectively, we’re all left wondering, “what’s next?”
To start, we can all help “flatten the curve” by taking the necessary precautions now that will help slow the spread of coronavirus, helping each other and our communities in the long run.
There are very little answers at this point, but know that FanLabel does not take this pandemic lightly. We want to be proactive and do our part, and that means informing our users.
Artists are taking to social media to keep fans informed, too, issuing announcements and apologies to fans, while the status of their live performances hangs in the balance for the foreseeable future.
One thing is evident: the common theme in each of these messages to fans is one of gratitude.
The future is no longer certain, so consider approaching your day-to-day with the same level of appreciation to yourself and those around you.