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Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Covid-19’s Effects on the Music Industry and on Artists

In unprecedented times, the music industry has been highly volatile. Covid-19 has affected the way we consume, make, and share art in 2020. The most famous and widely recognized music platform is Spotify and it has been a roller coaster ride for artists due to the coronavirus. With the rise of streaming platforms and social media, anybody can get their song heard as long as they have an audience and find willing streamers with time on their hands.

But how does this translate when the world is in quarantine? More creatives are locked at home making new music, but are people listening? Let’s see how this period of time has affected creative musicians and songwriters. 

The Music Industry Before Covid-19 

The music industry has been in a renaissance period ever since Spotify and Apple Music became the new ways to consume music. The digital age came with pros and cons for songwriters. For one, anybody can learn and take music lessons in their home.  Anyone can discover you and Spotify makes it easier than ever to be found through playlisting, their algorithm, and opportunities they offer by placing artists in front of new audiences. 

The catch is that these streaming platforms don’t pay much for royalties, and album sales have hit a record low. This has caused songwriters to find other streams of revenue mostly through merchandising and touring. 

And then the coronavirus hit the world. 

Did Isolation Help Artist Discovery and Streams? 

When the coronavirus hit, the world went into isolation and quarantine. Many industries were hit. For example: alcohol sales went up. Car accidents went down. Entertainment like theaters and concerts were postponed. These changes affected many markets and industries like car accident doctors. But how about the music industry?

Many musicians and singers have had their shows canceled and have lost their jobs. Other music festivals are also experiencing hard times with re-scheduling, re-booking, and cancellations. Overall, COVID-19 has had a negative impact on the economy, and an even greater effect on the entertainment industry. 

But what about streams? Didn’t the general population have more time to listen to music now that everyone was asked to stay home? Spotify reported a drastic decline in streams when the US went into quarantine. Simple statistics explain why this is: a majority of streams come from music that is played in the car during traffic and when commuting to work. 

So, streams have gone down and musicians are out of work. Many artists cooped up in their homes turned to creating and writing. Childish Gambino, Oh Wonder, and many other artists have released new singles and albums. There has been a surge even more so in the indie community. Many unsigned acts are writing, recording, and releasing more than ever with extra time on their hands.

One new artist, in particular, is having a breakthrough with their music during COVID-19. Wind & Color released a full-length album, and they were afraid many wouldn’t stream it. Because singles are now king, and albums are too costly and require too much time from a listener, this duo was afraid that their album wouldn’t perform as well. Data has proven them wrong: their streams are up and the discovery algorithm is working in their favor. 

This is one small success story in the midst of the hardship of many other artists. Many bands have tried to encourage fans to listen or support them through donations. Spotify offered a relief fund link on every artist’s profile so listeners can easily donate to them via cash app, pay pal, and go fund me. 

What Now for the Music Industry? 

For every industry (not just music) there is uncertainty as to what the long-term effects Covid-19 will have on businesses. And while many industries have had the luxury of adapting or creating new economical services, the music industry’s backbone is built on fandom, support, and entertainment. 

Many either can’t afford to be a fan and/or can’t see their favorite bands live. Small support only goes such a long way. One thing to be said of creatives is that they’re romantics that will keep fighting for creating art. And that has been true even in the midst of Covid-19. 

Author Bio: 

Isaiah Ram is a writer for Lessons in Your Home, musician, and songwriter from Atlanta, Ga. He is a band called Wind & Color with his wife. The two write music and in their free time serving recovering addicts at Good Landing Recovery. Isaiah and Danielle want to unleash the potential in people and in businesses. Don’t hesitate to reach out to him by email

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