How has COVID-19 has affected musicians, and has all been negative?

Cameron Hailey, Staff Writer

With limited sponsorships and record deals, the music industry and rising artists have been hit hard by the pandemic. Concerts were some of the first events to be canceled worldwide when the pandemic began, and, for many artists, this was not an easy transition, with most revenue coming from live events and advertising. However, some artists found ways around this issue, digital events, such as digital festivals or Twitch live stream concerts, grew in favorability.

Some music scenes have experienced a tremendous rise in digital shows using platforms such as ones created in Minecraft, and even some made entirely for the event, such as a digital world created for Porter Robinson’s Secret Sky festival.

Pop and electronic artist, Duumu, said, “Interestingly, I’ve had more performance work with COVID due to digital events, but they are usually free, so my income has taken somewhat of a hit.”

Duumu and his music have shifted since the pandemic hit. He has made electronic music for years since his time in high school. However, he said his streaming numbers on his electronic music have gone down. He has said he is transitioning his style to be more pop-influenced.

Other artists have chosen a similar change of pace in their music, as the pandemic affects more than just revenue or viewing numbers on their music, but their mental health.

Nebita, a New England artist, said, “I have made a lot more music than I have in previous years, which is ironic considering the overwhelming feeling of guilt that I have felt during the pandemic for beating myself up for not being nearly as productive as I feel that I can be.”

Because of show cancellations, the pandemic has also impacted concert venues. Smaller venues do not have the space to adapt to open-air venues that can do drive-in style concerts. With many festivals such as Coachella and more being canceled, venues and event holders will need to find strategies to survive the current crisis.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, digital concerts have been an adaptation that allows fans to see their favorite artists, first without a ticket purchase and the ease of simply logging on to the streaming platform. Secret Sky was notable as a successful example of the use of digitizing a normally in-person style event. With over 4 million active viewers, it was more than the capacity of any standard festival while being completely free to attend.

Nebita said, “Online shows have been booming since the start of the pandemic. Myself and my friends run an online show agency called “Open Pit,” where we host multi-day music festivals within the video game, ‘Minecraft.’ The demand for these shows skyrocketed at the beginning of the pandemic, and we were able to host many shows with insane amounts of success.”

Duumu said, about whether COVID-19 has affected his career positively or negatively, “For my career, I would say neither. It opened my eyes to more possibilities and opportunities, but as I said, my income’s taken a hit, so overall neutral.”