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The business will return but in what state?

Banana & Salt CEO Lina Ugrinovska reflects on the turmoil caused by the pandemic and suggests ways in which we can heal and grow

09 Mar 2022

One of the most robust global industries – the live music industry – got a significant kick in the shins at the start of the pandemic. And almost two years later, the industry is still unsure if its lower limbs will work or if it’s going to need prosthetic ones.

The two-year pandemic pause has seen a brutal elimination of many vital businesses and freelancers, many of whom were already struggling to earn a buck.

It also provided a boost to the most motivated individuals; it saw the realisation of some incredibly creative projects; and it accelerated the adoption of technology into the realms of the gaming industry.

But rather than levelling the playing field between established and emerging talent, new hopeful artists found it difficult to connect with potential fans, while audiences were hampered with regard to finding new music.

The weight of 2020 and 2021 is still obvious. It totally transformed and twisted our expectations of what a regular day in 2022 should even look like.

The business is transforming away from the so-called established order into something different, something fresh

All that rescheduling, cancellations, quitting and changing professions created a large wound in this industry in which even the most passionate music and event industry lovers are now confronted with excel charts and mountains of numbers instead of artist wish lists. There is only one goal: to earn, survive and pull through the year.

This long period of Covid-inflicted self-analysis motivated a number of agents, and sometimes entire teams, to change agency, or launch their own independent agency, and sometimes to find completely new careers. But why? Weren’t they happy before? Perhaps happiness is not the question here but a lack of awareness of what’s really important in the life of the individual.

In this respect, the industry actually got stronger (and decentralised) during the pandemic, as proven agents and staff went off to set up new agencies – which is proof that the business is transforming away from the so-called established order into something different, something fresh.

But the truth is that one simply cannot do this or any other job well when one loses interest. The pause in the live business has led to many asking themselves: “Am I actually made for this job and industry?” The business will definitely return, yes, but the question is: in what state?

The detachment that many of us experienced during the pandemic, the separation of the self on one side and work on the other is not a bad thing. Let’s face it, many of us struggled with a healthy work/life balance pre-Coronavirus.

The industry actually got stronger (and decentralised) during the pandemic

So maybe now is the right time to encourage harmony between these two entities. Perhaps we can give ourselves more realistic deadlines and find healthier ways of dealing with our workloads so that our private lives remain just that. Picture the beginning of 2022 as a post-apocalyptic landscape. We are here and that by itself is an exceptionally big deal.

Now is the time to recognise a period of discomfort and embrace it, because many of the fundamental issues that the industry was supposed to be working on in 2020 were merely under discussion. At best, any action to tackle these issues had barely started, while in most cases solutions and plans for change were just beginning to be formulated.

However, time is never wasted if it is a function of one’s work. The way that we resolve problematic situations – whose rules we are supposed to follow; how creative we are going to be; or how the artists are going to act toward their work this year – everything is far from certain and that sets up a great scenario that should allow us to grow.

Moving forward
Each of us has to figure out different ways of getting through this challenging period. So be gentle with yourself. Give yourself recognition. Become a member of a movement, create a movement, ask, take part, change…

And, finally, have fun! If there is something that we all want, it’s to have fun whilst doing what we love. Removing the certainty from our hands forced us into having different perspectives towards everything in life, especially in situations where we don’t just have to hold the ball but also juggle with it.


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