Uncertain times: The impacts of Coronavirus on the Music Industry and the industry’s new adaptation.

The COVID-19 pandemic is toppling the entertainment industry, with the music industry experiencing profound distractions. With lockdowns national wide curfews as well as travel restrictions to contain the spread of the virus, the music industry is with no doubt highly affected. The cultural and economic effects of the pandemic may leave massive negative effects on the industry. In a majority of ways, the pandemic has augmented trends that predated it. Some players and segments will be inalterably changed by the pandemic, while others might be shifted for adaptation and possible growth while the crisis subsides. The worldwide music industry is valued at about $50 billion, with two main streams of income. The first stream of income is live music, which makes about half of the industry’s entire revenues, resulting from the live performances ticket sales. The second revenue stream is from digital downloads, streaming, synchronizing revenues, and physical sales. Coronavirus has significantly impacted various sectors of the music industry, as discussed below.


1. Streaming and sales

As a result of the pandemic, physical sales in the music industry, which account for a quarter of recorded music revenues, have experienced a downward trend by a third. Statistics also indicate that digital sales have fallen by 11%. Evidence has shown that people’s patterns of listening to music are changing in the wake of coronavirus. For example, in China, it was reported by Tencent Music Entertainment (TME) that there was a change in the listening behavior during the pandemic with consumers opting for home applications on smart devices and TVs.

2. Advertising spend

Worldwide the music industry has also experienced a drop in advertising spending. The interactive Advertising Bureau did a survey that exhibited that about a quarter of media brands and buyers have stopped all their advertising activities in 2020’s first half while an additional 46% have reduced expenditure. This will consequently hurt the artists’ individual income and the total revenue for the industry.

3. Distribution

As far as distribution is concerned, artists have delayed their releases as a result of the pandemic. This is partially because they cannot utilize tours to promote their new albums and the fact that generally, live music has been affected intensely. There has also been a major cancellation of events and concerts. With the bans of huge gatherings, the revenue resulting from live performances is almost zero. Merchandise and Ticket sales aside, the six-month shutdown is projected to cost the industry over $10bn in sponsorship, worse being that longer interruptions may prove to be more devastating.

Post pandemic viewpoint appears not to be clear, with live music growth expected to change significantly. It will be hard to rebuild consumer confidence in the sector. Specifically, a conducted survey suggests that less than half of consumers in the US are willing to go to live concerts without a proven vaccine. This will have a great effect on artists as 75% of artist income comes from live shows.

The industry’s new ways to engage fans

Various online sites are emerging to help the music industry to adapt to the pandemics new norm. Online Reviews can help one find some reliable platforms. Some of these platforms help clients create content using music production software.  TicketLite, for example, is a self-service ticketing solution that musicians can give a try. Artists have also resulted to going direct to their fans by using services such as Instagram TV, Twitch, among others. While these aren’t completely new, the pandemic has widened the available audience. Record labels also enable musicians to reach a wide audience by offering live streaming equipment to performers. There are also new monetization methods that the streaming platforms have added, including artist channels, memberships that permit exclusive and early access to content, and paid-commenting features. These new methods for labels, venue providers, and musicians to engage with their followers can be a long-term strategy that will offer them a way to link with their audience, especially if the pandemic does not leave immediately.

In conclusion, looking at the long term, the music industry core value chain will most likely remain unaffected. Professional artists usually release their music through any of three record labels Sony Music, UMG, or Warner music or instead through an independent publisher. While fluctuations may be witnessed, disruption is unlikely. More so, the integration of composers, songwriters, and post-production engineers in music development is unlikely to change. However, there’s likely more work that will be done remotely. With all this said, it is important to note that the pandemic is still prevalent; its entire effect is yet to be realized.