Are online experiences here to stay?
For many cultural organisations, such as live music venues, museums, theatres and arts venues, Covid-19 has meant a pivot to an online presence. But as attractions move through a phased period of reopening we have to ask: Are online experiences here to stay?
Over the last three months, Vivid Interface has put a variety of research projects in the field to track consumer sentiment, the mood of organisations and their online intentions. This has revealed an extraordinary growth in online consumption in terms of cultural experiences, media viewing and health and wellbeing. Add to that last week’s Ofcom report revealing that the average Briton has been spending 25% of their day online while in lockdown, and we know that this is an area we all need to pay attention to.
Vivid Interface, in association with Panelbase, conducted an e-survey with over 1,000 visitors to attractions and cultural venues in early June. The report, which can be read here, looks at what visitors have been watching and participating in online while venues and attractions have been closed. While taking a yoga class or watching a new release film are right up there, so are live music performances and stand-up comedy.
The report explores what they say they will continue to watch and also what they feel they may continue to watch online in preference to going out. It makes interesting reading:
- 64% of people say they will continue to watch or participate in online experiences even after the reopening of attractions
- 48% say that they will continue to watch or participate in at least one of the listed online activities in preference to going out after lockdowns are lifted
- 21% said they paid to watch or participate in online experiences during lockdown
What sort of unique experiences the visitor attraction sectors can come up with next is an exciting space to watch
These are significant stats that can’t be ignored.
The report highlights significant variances in age, gender and life stage, too, which are important in understanding online engagement opportunities for programmers and marketers.
The cultural sector was already well set up to pivot to online experiences, but the sheer explosion of content and audience reaction tells us that there’s plenty more to come.
Just looking at this week’s news we see the Royal Opera House building on its success of live streaming from Covent Garden with a programme of paid for online experiences (at £4.99 a performance). And the Summer Solstice at Stonehenge, managed by English Heritage, received over 3.6 million views for its first-ever live stream of the event. It normally attracts around 10,000.
Are online experiences here to stay? Yes, they are. But what sort of unique experiences the visitor attraction sectors can come up with next is an exciting space to watch.
Geoffrey Dixon is managing director of Vivid Interface, a full-service market research agency serving the events, festivals and attractions industries.
DJs go shopping for World Club Dome Escalator Edition
Yet another innovative socially distanced concert solution made its debut over the weekend, courtesy of German EDM promoter and nightlife brand BigCityBeats.
The company – whose flagship World Club Dome event, like nearly all European festivals, is not going ahead this year – on Saturday 4 July staged World Club Dome Escalator Edition, which saw DJs playing on the roof of, and later on escalators in, the MyZeil shopping centre in Frankfurt.
The event was livestreamed on YouTube, and featured performers including Vize and Le Shuuk, who played seats from mobile DJ booths situated on the MyZeil’s 42m (138’) escalators. Fans who arrived together were situated across five storeys of the shopping precinct, at a safe distance from the other groups.
World Club Dome Escalator Edition brought to a close BigCityBeats’ ‘Roof Sessions’, which have been held on the roof of the company’s Frankfurt headquarters since the coronavirus lockdown began.
Watch Le Shuuk’s escalator set below:
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Highlights from #LetTheMusicPlay campaign
The UK music industry’s #LetTheMusicPlay campaign kicked off in force today, with the hashtag becoming the top trending in the UK – and worldwide – during the day and almost 80,000 people posting under the tag on Instagram.
With the backing of over 1,500 of live’s best talent – including Ed Sheeran, the Rolling Stones, Dua Lipa, Sir Paul McCartney and Iron Maiden – the effort aimed to highlight the urgent need for government support to sustain the valuable industry through the coronavirus crisis.
Famous venues and buildings including the O2 Arena, the SSE Hydro, the Roundhouse, the Royal Albert Hall and Electric Brixton were illuminated last night (1 July) with the slogan #LetTheMusicPlay, ahead of the main push which saw artists, fans, industry figures and politicians take to social media in droves to post photos of their last live show and show support for the business.
In addition to the social media campaign, a letter was delivered to UK culture secretary Oliver Dowden, signed by artists and industry professionals, laying out the necessary support measures.
IQ collated some of the best quotes, photos, videos and reactions live throughout the day…
MP Kevin Brennan says he raised #LetTheMusicPlay at business questions “with a hint of Jackson Browne ‘A roadmap will get you nowhere when you’re running on empty’”.
Brennan challenges the culture secretaru to do more and urges “substantial, not just minor support” from the chancellor next week.
A roadmap will get you nowhere when you're running on empty. A third of music venues have closed under the last 10 years of Tory Government. This isn't good enough. They need urgent help and financial support. #LetTheMusicPlay @UK_Music @musicvenuetrust @WeAreTheMU https://t.co/6Pe0xyCGaM pic.twitter.com/zxFd6uCB0R
— Kevin Brennan MP (@KevinBrennanMP) July 2, 2020
Spice Girls recall their latest tour Spice World 2019, saying “it wouldn’t have been possible without our amazing band, dancers and incredible touring team.”
South African DJ Black Coffee simply posts “Itching to get back to my happy place”. The DJ is among those performing at Exit Festival this summer – perhaps the only major European festival to take place this year.
Electronic artist Four Tet posts a video of performing at Manchester’s Warehouse Project last year.
“UK live music scene is in deep trouble right now and urgently needs support from the government,” writes Four Tet, real name Kieran Hebden. “We will lose so many venues and the crew and production teams etc that make everything possible need support.”
UK live music scene is in deep trouble right now and urgently needs support from the government. We will lose so many venues and the crew and production teams etc that make everything possible need support. Check #LetTheMusicPlay to see what's going on. pic.twitter.com/0Vk1nHlSyy
— Four Tet (@FourTet) July 2, 2020
The Chemical Brothers share a photo from their last show at the O2 Arena in November, saying they stand with artists, promoters, agents and venues “in asking the UK government to protect the live music industry”.
Last gig @O2 30 Nov, 2019. @ChemBros stand w artists, promotors, agents, venues & more in asking the UK government to protect the live music industry. Share photos & videos of the last show you went to using the hashtag #LetTheMusicPlay to show your support! #chemicalbrotherslive pic.twitter.com/83xmstYcHo
— The Chemical Brothers (@ChemBros) July 2, 2020
Manchester’s night-time economy adviser Sacha Lord shares his support for the campaign, along with Parklife Festival and the Warehouse Project.
— Sacha Lord (@Sacha_Lord) July 2, 2020
UK venues including Alexandra Palace, the Roundhouse,the Royal Albert Hall, the O2 Arena, P&J Live, the SSE Hydro, O2 Academy Brixton, Manchester Arena, Motor Point Arena Cardiff, Sneaky Pete’s and many, many more share their support throughout the day.
Joy Crookes warns that 90% of grassroots venues face closure and 50% of live industry professionals risk unemployment without support.
90% of grassroots music venues in the UK are under threat of closure due to the pandemic and up to 50% of the live music industry's workforce could become unemployed. #LetTheMusicPlay pic.twitter.com/kz2cBdUQU9
— Joy Crookes (@joycrookes) July 2, 2020
Bombay Bicycle Club share a photo of one of their last shows at London’s Alexandra Palace in February.
“The past few months have been a hugely difficult time for all, including everyone involved in the live music industry,” writes the band. “It’s critical the industry gets financial support from the government until shows can happen again.”
#LetTheMusicPlay Ally Pally, February. One of our last shows. The past few months have been a hugely difficult time for all, including everyone involved in the live music industry. It's critical the industry gets financial support from the government until shows can happen again pic.twitter.com/rbAfVfCsRu
— Bombay Bicycle Club (@BombayBicycle) July 2, 2020
Academy Music Group shows its support, sharing photos of illuminated O2 Academy venues and saying “today the UK music industry stands together to urge UK Government to protect live music, our venues, touring artists and the huge workforce behind the scenes in the entertainment sector.”
Today the UK music industry stands together to urge UK Government to protect live music, our venues, touring artists and the huge workforce behind the scenes in the entertainment sector. Please join us, share gig photos, memories & tag your favourite venues using #LetTheMusicPlay pic.twitter.com/wXAFxaMAxY
— Academy Music Group (@academyamg) July 2, 2020
Presenter and singer Hrvy took to Instagram to call for government support. “Festivals and live shows bring so much happiness to so many people including myself, we need save the jobs of these incredibly hardworking people behind the scenes.”
View this post on Instagram
I’m so lucky to have this as my job, none of this would be possible without you guys and the incredible people behind the scenes that make it all possible. Live gigs and shows are at huge risk and without them these amazing teams are left without jobs. Today we call on the British government to offer their support. Festivals and live shows bring so much happiness to so many people including myself, we need save the jobs of these incredibly hardworking people behind the scenes #letthemusicplay
The Rattlesnakes say: “Touring is a huge part of what we do, no feeling like it. The government must step up and protect venues, festivals and the workforce.”
Jon Hopkins calls for urgent government action “to save grassroots venues and the future of live music”.
— Jon Hopkins (@Jon_Hopkins_) July 2, 2020
Celine Dion posts a selection of photos with the #LetTheMusicPlay hashtag, saying “we had so much fun on London last July! What an incredible experience.”
James Arthur posts a photo of his last show before lockdown. “Performing is what I love the most about being a musician,” says Arthur, “so let’s make sure we support the live industry at this challenging time.”
“When you go to see your favourite band, you might not realise how many people are working hard behind the scenes to make the show happen,” write Bastille. “The future of live music is at risk as a result of Covid-19.
“This uncertainty is felt by the entire industry, and affects everyone from the venue staff, to the sound technicians, to the people who go out on the road with artists. The government must step up to help.”
When you go to see your favourite band, you might not realise how many people are working hard behind the scenes to make the show happen. The future of live music is at risk as a result of COVID-19. #LetTheMusicPlay pic.twitter.com/8IQ9HOiJQP
— BASTILLE (@bastilledan) July 2, 2020
Former One Direction singer Louis Tomlinson shares a photo from his last show in Madrid, just before the coronavirus shutdown in March and the rest of the tour was cancelled.
“We came home early, which was devastating,” writes Tomlinson. “The live music industry is such an important part of being an artist and today is about coming together to ask the UK government to protect and support all of the hard working and talented people who come together to create these shows, and give a clear plan of how the live music industry will restart.
“I couldn’t do what I do without the support of my amazing tour team and everyone that works behind the scenes to bring shows to life.”
“Imagine the music industry in the UK being wiped out,” writes Foals frontman Yannis Philippakis. “No shows, no festivals, no venues. Call on the government for urgent action.”
— Yannis Philippakis (@YnnsPhilippakis) July 2, 2020
Blossoms say they “join together with fellow artists, managers, promoters, agents, venues and everyone that works in music to call for action to help protect the live music industry.”
Today we join together with fellow artists, managers, promoters, agents, venues and everyone that works in music to call for action to help protect the live music industry. Please show your support and share the message #LetTheMusicPlay pic.twitter.com/XjD2Azn5qX
— B L O S S O M S (@BlossomsBand) July 2, 2020
Electronic duo Disclosure ask the government to “protect venues, festivals and the workforce now.”
“Playing shows is a huge part of what we do. Live music has played a huge part in shaping us both individually & as Disclosure.”
Playing shows is a huge part of what we do. Live music has played a huge part in shaping us both individually & as Disclosure. We are asking this government to protect venues, festivals & the workforce now. Please, if you can, show your support by using the tag #LetTheMusicPlay pic.twitter.com/8sf8KmGaPR
— Disclosure (@disclosure) July 2, 2020
Courteeners frontman Liam Fray simply posts: “This year has been devastating”.
“We need support and action. We need to save venues, and to save people’s livelihoods,” writes Fray.
“…And to give you some good nights out again.”
Amen to that.
There are so many people that have given their entire lives to the UK live music industry
This year has been devastating.
We need support and action.
We need to save venues, and to save people's livelihoods.
— Liam Fray (@What_Liam_Said) July 2, 2020
Blaine Harrison of Mystery Jets puts the current situation into stark reality writing: “This is our first summer without festivals in 15 years.”
“Live music makes us all feel less alone and allows us to forget our problems. It’s our soul food,”says Harrison. “But without urgent government support there will be no industry for us to come back to.
“We cannot allow it.”
This is our first summer without festivals in 15 years. Live music makes us all feel less alone and allows us to forget our problems. It’s our soul food. But without urgent government support there will be no industry for us to come back to. We cannot allow it #LetTheMusicPlay pic.twitter.com/n3ynq5Tiv2
— Blaine (@blaineharrison) July 2, 2020
#LetTheMusicPlay becomes the highest trending hashtag on Twitter worldwide (vying for first place with #GhislaineMaxwell). The hashtag has dominated trends in the UK throughout the day.
“Usually about now the bands would begin loading in their equipment to the venue,” writes the Association of Independent Promoters. “For bigger shows this happens early in the morning but for many shows the mid-afternoon is when the venue comes to life.”
Usually about now the bands would begin loading in their equipment to the venue. For bigger shows this happens early in the morning but for many shows the mid-afternoon is when the venue comes to life #LetTheMusicPlay #promoterlife pic.twitter.com/bL3R6sjs8P
— Association of Independent Promoters (@AIP_uk) July 2, 2020
Radio presenter Bob Harris OBE calls on the UK government to “offer support to our amazing libe music scene and all promoters, venues, agents and artists.”
“We need live music,” posts Harris. “It simply won’t be there anymore if we don’t act.”
Today I'm calling on the UK government to offer support to our amazing live music scene and all promoters, venues, agents & artists.
We need live music. It simply won't be there any more if we don't act.
— Bob Harris (@WhisperingBob) July 2, 2020
“It’s a big day for the British music industry,” write Mumford & Sons, and we’d love to stand with our fellow artists, fans, and the incredible people behind the scenes who make live music come alive.
“Together we call on the government to offer the industry support in these difficult times.”
It's a big day for the British music industry & we’d love to stand with our fellow artists, fans, & the incredible people behind the scenes who make live music come alive. Together we call on the government to offer the industry support in these difficult times #LetTheMusicPlay pic.twitter.com/Nag5Bdlwvj
— Mumford & Sons (@MumfordAndSons) July 2, 2020
“Music brings so much to us all,” says music industry charity Help Musicians. “This secotr needs more support now.”
— Help Musicians (@HelpMusiciansUK) July 2, 2020
Depeche Mode join in the call, posting a photo from a show at Berlin’s Waldbühne in July 2018.
DM are joining artists & music fans to call on the UK government to offer support to the live music industry.
Take part — share photos or videos of your last pre-lockdown gig with #LetTheMusicPlay.
(DM @ Waldbühne / July 2018) pic.twitter.com/lFvgLdYXqw
— Depeche Mode (@depechemode) July 2, 2020
“From the biggest arenas to the smallest independent festival or venue, the live music business supports 210k jobs – but is in serious crisis!” writes the National Arenas Association (NAA).
“We need urgent government support to survive.”
From the biggest arenas to the smallest independent festival or venue, the live music business supports 210k jobs – but is in serious crisis! We need urgent government support to survive. #LetTheMusicPlay
— nationalarenasassociation (@nationalarenas1) July 2, 2020
Franz Ferdinand says it is “a long road out of this” but urges everyone to “help jumpstart the conversation and secure the government’s support”.
The effects of COVID 19 have hit the music industry hard, especially everyone’s favourite venues. It's a long road out of this but we need to help jumpstart the conversation and secure the government’s support. #LetTheMusicPlay pic.twitter.com/TtXiJLEMs7
— Franz Ferdinand (@Franz_Ferdinand) July 2, 2020
“To the cries of “multi-millionaire ‘stars’ should put their hands in their own pockets” – what we are asking is that government recognises that live music is as important to British people as sport,” writes KT Tunstall.
“The numbers say that it is.”
To the cries of “multi-millionaire ‘stars’ should put their hands in their own pockets” – what we are asking is that government recognises that live music is as important to British people as sport.
The numbers say that it is.#LetTheMusicPlay
— KT Tunstall (@KTTunstall) July 2, 2020
Dua Lipa expresses gratitude for the opportunities she has had. “Now it’s time to pay back to the incredible people who make up the UK music industry including all the crew who work so hard behind the scenes.
“The possibility for other emerging British artists to take the same path [I did] is in danger and the livelihoods of those who work behind the scenes are at risk.
“The industry urgently needs Govt support in the interim period before all the various venues, festivals & promoters are ready and able to operate independently again.”
Captioning a video of a festival performance, Lipa simply says “I miss this so much!”
I miss this so much! I'm so grateful for the opportunities I've been given. Now it's time to pay back to the incredible people who make up the UK music industry including all the crew who work so hard behind the scenes. pic.twitter.com/Osc47zEq6z
— DUA LIPA (@DUALIPA) July 2, 2020
London night czar Amy Lamé shows her support with a photo of post-punk band Warmduscher performing at Camden’s Electric Ballroom.
“Live music unites us and lifts our spirits,” post Mystery Jets. “But without immediate action there will be no venues or festivals to come back to.”
Live music unites us and lifts our spirits. But without immediate action there will be no venues or festivals to come back to.
— Mystery Jets (@mysteryjets) July 2, 2020
Fatboy Slim lends his support, highlighting that 50% of the live music industry workforce is facding unemployment without government support.
#LetTheMusicPlay, asking the UK government to support the live music industry, which is in crisis at the moment with 50% of its workforce facing unemployment.
— Fatboy Slim (@FatboySlim) July 2, 2020
Singer KT Tunstall does an interview with Sky News outlining the unrealistic nature of social distancing rules for the vast majority of smaller venues.
Musician @KTTunstall says the UK live music scene has been an "enormous success story" in recent years, but says "97% of grass routes venues will not be able to stay open with any kind of social distancing"#KayBurley
Watch live https://t.co/xA56RuPi1i pic.twitter.com/wJ2pLwvvi9
— SkyNews (@SkyNews) July 2, 2020
Together with our friends in the field, today we are calling on the government for immediate and urgent action to protect the UK Live Music Industry. We must ensure that live music can continue for generations to come.
— BST Hyde Park (@BSTHydePark) July 2, 2020
Dido asks fans to join in and ask the government to support the live industry by posting a photo or video of pre-lockdown shows. The singer shares a video of her performance at the Hammersmith Apollo in December.
I'm joining with artists & fans to ask our government to support the live music industry in these tough times.
Please join by sharing pics / vids of the last pre-lockdown gig you went to, using #LetTheMusicPlay
Mine is from Hammersmith Apollo on 8 Dec. What a night. xx pic.twitter.com/xjIaxvdXzc
— Dido (@didoofficial) July 2, 2020
“Today, we stand with the UK music industry, highlighting to the Government importance of grassroots venues, and the workforce that goes towards keeping the live music alive at all levels,” write the Script.
Muse say the government “must step up and show the industry the support it deserves”.
“We’re so grateful for the experience that live music gives us all.”
For Muse, playing live & having the opportunity to connect with you is so important. We're so grateful for the experience that live music gives us all. The government must step up & show the industry the support it deserves in these difficult & challenging times #LetTheMusicPlay pic.twitter.com/uHTh8istrd
— muse (@muse) July 2, 2020
Hot Chip write that “the entire sector is under threat” and ask the government to “act now to help save it”.
The live music industry adds £4.5 billion to the UK economy and supports over 210k jobs. The entire sector is under threat due to Covid-19 and we have signed a letter calling on the government to act now to help save it. #letthemusicplay pic.twitter.com/0yUrGKSjXE
— Hot Chip (@Hot_Chip) July 2, 2020
David Gilmour and the rest of Pink Floyd share photos from a 2016 show at London’s Royal Albert Hall to show their support for the live music industry.
View this post on Instagram
#repost @davidgilmour I'm joining with musicians & music lovers to ask our government to provide support to the live music industry at this time of crisis. Please join me by sharing photos of the last pre-lockdown gig you went to, using #LetTheMusicPlay (Pics: Royal Albert Hall, 30 September 2016)
Take That thank the support they have received from tour management, crew, promoters, festivals, vneues and others over the years.
“After years of supporting us, it’s our turn to help support them!” says the band.
Let The Music Play 💙 Today we stand with the UK music industry; fans, artists, musicians, our tour management, crew and cast, promoters, festivals, venues and more. After years of supporting us, it’s our turn to help support them! #LetTheMusicPlay pic.twitter.com/g9ALaQ7mzV
— Take That (@takethat) July 2, 2020
Simone Marie Butler of Primal Scream, who is speaking to radio stations including BBC News, BBC 5 Live and RadioX about the campaign today, says: “Music is part of our cultural heritage. It’s part of human connection. Let’s also remember the music industry is one of our biggest income revenues and exports.
“With that being said, we simply cannot afford to let the live industry go under.”
The Primal Scream bassist has previously stressed the need for “urgent help” if the live music industry is “to survive and thrive” in the coming year, as well as the unviability of reopening the sector with capacity reduction measures in place.
With the #LetTheMusicPlay hashtag trending top on Twitter, Butler encourages all to keep the momentum going.
We are trending at no.1 . Amazing let’s keep going x pic.twitter.com/SzkiyZhL6i
— simone marie (@simonemarie4) July 2, 2020
Frank Turner highlights the importance of touring to the UK music scene. “With the landscape for gigs post-pandemic looking uncertain, we must urge the government to protect venues, festivals & the live industry’s incredible workforce,” writes Turner.
Touring is a huge part of the UK music scene & live music is something that unites us. With the landscape for gigs post-pandemic looking uncertain, we must urge the government to protect venues, festivals & the live industry's incredible workforce #LetTheMusicPlay pic.twitter.com/s4zRZ8Wjtd
— Frank Turner (@frankturner) July 2, 2020
Noel Gallagher writes that “live music must be protected!” The Manchester singer shares a photo from a shpow at the DC Arena in Bangkok on 30 November and issues the plea: “Let’s make sure the message is heard by the UK Government.”
Lionel Richie says he is joining artists and fans in the UK to “bring attention to the hardships the live music industry is facing there, and around the world”.
“The UK is home to some of the most vibrant music festivals and venues in the world,” says Richie, urging people to raise awareness by positing a photo or video.
Alongside the 1,500 artists, thousands of crew, industry professionals and venues have signed the letter to culture secretary Oliver Dowden. Sign up here.
UK festivals including Reading and Leeds festivals, Tramlines, Y Not Festival, Latitude, Download, Trnsmt, Green Man Festival, Truck Festival, Kendal Calling, Bluedot, Wireless, Isle of Wight, The Great Escape, Camp Bestival, Glastonbury Festival and many, many more show their support for the campaign.
Today the live music industry is standing together to call for action. To show your support share a photo or video from the last live show that you went and tag #LetTheMusicPlay pic.twitter.com/MX4BVYWXvl
— The Association of Festival Organisers (AFO) (@AFO_Festivals) July 2, 2020
Former One Direction star Niall Horan writes a detailed post in gratitude of the “incredible hardworking teams behind the scenes” that make live gigs and festivals happen.
“Last year the UK’s live music industry added £4.5bn to the economy and supported 200k jobs across the country,” writes Horan. “Until we can get back to doing what we love, it’s important we speak up and demand government support for all of the various venues, festivals and promoters.
“We must stick together through this. Share a photo from your last show and let’s get their attention.”
Last year the UK’s live music industry added £4.5bn to the economy and supported 200k jobs across the country. Until we can get back to doing what we love, it’s important we speak up and demand government support for all of the various venues, festivals and promoters.
— Niall Horan (@NiallOfficial) July 2, 2020
Blur shows solidarity with “fellow artists, road crew, promoters, venues, agents and all other talented people who keep the live music industry alive”.
Ticketmaster UK says it stands with the rest of the live industry “in a collective call for action” and encourages fans to share photos and videos of their last live show.
We're proud to stand together with the rest of the live music industry in a collective call for action.
Join us and share photos or videos of the last live show you went to using #letthemusicplay
— ticketmasteruk (@TicketmasterUK) July 2, 2020
“We aren’t asking for venues to reopen or for festivals to go ahead while it isn’t safe, but we are asking for immediate support from the government and a clear, conditional timeline for reopening venues,” post Idles, urging all those who “love live music” to share a photo.
We aren’t asking for venues to reopen or for festivals to go ahead while it isn’t safe, but we are asking for immediate support from the government and a clear, conditional timeline for reopening venues. pic.twitter.com/uPe8quA3hY
— I D L E S (@idlesband) July 2, 2020
Snow Patrol urge fans to share videos and photos of their favourite or last gig, saying the the UK music industry is “struggling massively”, with 50% of the workforce facing unemployment. The band share a photo from their last show, at Belfast’s Waterfront Hall.
Please share your videos & pics of your last or favourite gigs in support of the UK music industry. It’s struggling massively with 50% of the live music industry workforce facing unemployment. Our last gig was @BelWaterfront, dec 11, 2019 Reworked Tour. #LetTheMusicPlay pic.twitter.com/6z7tjabvFq
— Snow Patrol (@snowpatrol) July 2, 2020
Status Quo share a video from their BBC Radio 2 show at London’s Hyde Park last year.
A video from our last live performance for @BBCRadio2, Hyde Park, September 2019. To show your support of the live music industry, share a photo from the last live gig you went to using #LetTheMusicPlay. pic.twitter.com/6brkdGbvVq
— Status Quo (@Status_Quo) July 2, 2020
Joining a number of politicians to show support for the campaign, Kevin Brennan, MP for Cardiff West, urges chancellor Rishi Sunak and culture minister Oliver Dowden to take actions saying “the government can’t continue to sit idle.”
A parliamentary briefing will be happening at midday for MPs, alongside a series of other planned political engagements throughout the day.
Music venues are the R&D to a £4.5 billion industry, supporting over 200k jobs. A third of music venues have closed in the last 10 years, worse will come without help. The government can't continue to sit idly by. We need action, come on @RishiSunak @OliverDowden #letthemusicplay pic.twitter.com/z1oe3AmLhH
— Kevin Brennan MP (@KevinBrennanMP) July 2, 2020
The Music Venue Trust share a campaign video, showcasing the many grassroots venues around the UK and highlighting their struggle in the face of Covid-19.
Litte Mix warn that the live industry is “on the verge of collapse”, with festivals and venues at risk of closure and many jobs hanging in the balance. “It’s time for the government ro step up and save the industry,” write the girl group, posting aphot from one of their last shows from LM5: The Tour.
This was one of our last shows on LM5: The Tour. This was such an incredible night and would not have been possible without everyone working so hard behind the scenes. pic.twitter.com/OyeCV8jk77
— Little Mix (@LittleMix) July 2, 2020
Iron Maiden highlight the importance of grassroots venues for developing top artists.
“Every band has to start somewhere (in time), & Iron Maiden were no exception,” reads a post on the band’s Twitter page. “90% of the UK’s grassroots music venues are under threat of closure due to Covid-19.
“Please show your support for live music & share a photo/video from the last gig you went to, tagging #LetTheMusicPlay.”
Every band has to start somewhere (in time), & Iron Maiden were no exception. 90% of the UK's grassroots music venues are under threat of closure due to Covid-19
— Iron Maiden (@IronMaiden) July 2, 2020
Paul McCartney’s Twitter reads: “Today Paul joins artists, promotors, agents, venues and more in asking the UK government to protect the live music industry. Share photos and videos of the last show you went to using the hashtag #LetTheMusicPlay to show your support!”
Today Paul joins artists, promotors, agents, venues and more in asking the UK government to protect the live music industry. Share photos and videos of the last show you went to using the hashtag #LetTheMusicPlay to show your support! pic.twitter.com/w7yfeAB0nJ
— Paul McCartney (@PaulMcCartney) July 2, 2020
Editors highlight the size of the problem facing the live industry in numbers.
– 90% of grassroots music venues are under threat of closure without urgent finanical support
– 50% of the industry’s workforce is facing unemployment
– The music industry in 2019 contributed £4.5bn to the economy, supported 210,000 jobs across the UK#letthemusicplay pic.twitter.com/gNT7QVWl9D
— EDITORS (@editorsofficial) July 2, 2020
The Rolling Stones share a photo of the setlist from their last show, which took place in Miami in 2019.
Show your support for live music and share a photo from the last gig you went to with #LetTheMusicPlay
Here’s the setlist from the Rolling Stones last live show in Miami in 2019 pic.twitter.com/bNQ0LkK4wH
— The Rolling Stones (@RollingStones) July 2, 2020
New Order express their “proud” support for the campaign and stress the need to protect the workforce and infrastructure making up the music industry.
We're proud to be supporting the #LetTheMusicPlay campaign, highlighting the importance of the live music sector to the UK Government. We need to protect our venues, our workforce, and the infrastructure and companies that make up this business. pic.twitter.com/TPHCakvS0l
— New Order (@neworder) July 2, 2020
Coldplay share photos and videos from their last pre-lockdown shows at the National History Museum in London last year.
Today, we join with artists & music fans to call on the UK government to offer support to the live music industry, which faces decimation.
Join us by sharing pics/vids of your last pre-lockdown gig, using #LetTheMusicPlay.
(📷 25 November 2019, Natural History Museum, London ) pic.twitter.com/iWkydk7Rif
— Coldplay (@coldplay) July 2, 2020
In an emoji-packed Tweet, Cher urged everyone to remember their first concert experience and reflect on what it meant to them. The singer also expressed gratitude to the UK industry in particular on behalf of her and Sonny, saying England “got us” before anyone else did.
Glastonbury’s Emily Eavis joined the call for government support saying the UK live industry “is frankly on its knees and faces being wiped out”.
Politicans have also taken note of the campaign. A parliamentary briefing will be happening at midday for MPs, alongside a series of other planned political engagements throughout the day.
UK culture secretary Oliver Dowden, who will later receive a letter laying out the long-term damage, economic loss and job cuts that can be expected if urgent measures are not taken, along with the specific support that need to be given, addressed concerns on Twitter last night.
Just as the campaigm breaks late last night, Dowden posted saying: “I understand the deep anxiety of those working in music & the desire to see fixed dates for reopening.
“I am pushing hard for these dates & to give you a clear roadmap back.
“These involve v difficult decisions about the future of social distancing, which we know has saved lives.”
I understand the deep anxiety of those working in music & the desire to see fixed dates for reopening
I am pushing hard for these dates & to give you a clear roadmap back
These involve v difficult decisions about the future of social distancing, which we know has saved lives
— Oliver Dowden (@OliverDowden) July 1, 2020
Tom Watson, chair of umbrella body UK Music shares photos from a Nadine Shah show at London’s Moth Club and stresses the dangers facing summer festivals, which support around 85,000 jobs.
— Tom Watson (@tom_watson) July 2, 2020
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Events are ready to reopen, says SA industry
South Africa’s Event Safety Council (ESC) has released a set of guidelines it says will allow the safe reopening of the live events sector in the country.
The document, produced in partnership with the ESC’s partners in a new industry umbrella organisation, the similarly named SA Events Council, aims to assist South Africa’s hard-hit live business in resuming activity as soon and as safely as possible, in accordance with local regulations.
Production of the guidelines saw the ESC collaborate with other international organisations, including the Event Safety Alliance in the US, ensuring global best practice is “embedded throughout” the report, according to the organisation.
As of 18 June, South Africa is allowing small gatherings of under 50 people, under alert level three of its lockdown regulations.
“We are pleased to see the industry coming together to embrace safety protocols that protect employers, employees and freelancers”
With the release of the guidelines, the SA Event Council is working towards reopening the sector further. Among its recommendations are enhanced protocols related to sanitisation, cleaning, hygiene, attendee management, venue requirements and more.
“The event industry already carries out comprehensive risk assessment, safety checks and logistical planning for every event, so including a Covid-19 mitigation plan as an extension of existing event planning mechanisms is easily achievable,” says Mike Lord, the ESC’s interim chairman.
Kevan Jones, executive director of SACIA, the ESC’s parent organisation, adds: “During these difficult times we are pleased to see organised industry coming together to embrace safety protocols that protect employers, employees and freelancers working in the events industry.
“We look forward to fruitful and positive outcomes from these engagements. As representatives of the events sector, we remain engaged in looking for solutions to rebuild the economy of this much-needed sector.”
This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.
Australian industry welcomes $250m rescue package
The Australian government has dedicated AU$250 million (€153.3m) to help rebuild the country’s entertainment and arts sector over the next year, as it commits to presenting a clear timetable for reopening.
The package includes $75m (€46m) for a competitive grants programme – with individual grants of up to $2m (€1.2m) – to provide capital for new festivals, concerts, tours and events, and $90m (€55.2m) in concessional show starter loans – backed with a 100% state guarantee – to assist businesses to fund new productions and events that stimulate job creation and economic activity.
A further $35m (€21.5m) will be used to provide direct support to Commonwealth-funded arts and culture organisations facing threats to financial viability, including those in theatre, dance, music and circus.
The final $50m (€30.7m) is dedicated to supporting film and television producers.
“We welcome the government’s support for both the live entertainment and live sport sectors as we push ahead with these plans”
The government has also committed to establishing a creative economy taskforce to implement a JobMaker plan for the creative economy, as well as working to give the entertainment industry greater certainty about the timetable for restarting business.
Although the funding is over $105m (€64.4m) short of the relief package previously drawn up by Live Performance Australia (LPA), industry organisations have widely welcomed the government’s support, with the LPA calling it a “significant outcome” for the industry.
The recently formed Live Entertainment Industry Forum (LEIF), which comprises Australia’s leading promoters Live Nation, TEG, Frontier Touring, Chugg Entertainment and AEG, as well as WME agency, major venues and operators, and a number of industry organisations, thanks the prime minister “for recognising the serious business of entertainment that employs hundreds of thousands of jobs and makes a significant contribution to the Australian way of life.”
LEIF chair James Sutherland adds the forum is working with health authorities to develop “nationally approved high-level principles for a safe return to live entertainment and sport at large venues”.
“Through this unprecedented collaboration across live entertainment and sport we are committed to delivering COVIDSafe live events and sport. We welcome the government’s support for both the live entertainment and live sport sectors as we push ahead with these plans.”
“I know there’s a strong desire among all Australians to see the return of gigs, performances and events”
LPA CEO Evelyn Richardson says the measures “reflect our industry’s unique characteristics and the challenges it faces”, as well as recognising “the significant economic contribution that our commercial sector makes to Australia’s economic and cultural well-being.”
According to Australian prime minister Scott Morrison, the package is designed to support “a broad range of jobs from performers, artists and roadies, to front of house staff and many who work behind the scenes, while assisting related parts of the broader economy, such as tourism and hospitality.”
“Many in the sector will find a new way to operate while the current social distancing measures remain in place,” says Morrisson, “and while that won’t be easy I know there’s a strong desire among all Australians to see the return of gigs, performances and events.”
In step three of Australia’s recovery roadmap, which individuals states can choose to activate from the start of next month, seated and ticketed outdoor venues of up to 40,000 people can hold up to 25% capacity, with larger venues limited to 10,000 people.
Indoor venues will no longer have a capacity limit, but must ensure there is enough space for four square metres per person.
Night clubs and “high-risk outdoor events”, such as unseated music festivals, are to remain closed.
This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.
Industry pros set up Covid-safe performance space
A cooperative of live touring crew and suppliers have come together to launch the Collective Sessions, a fully functional live performance space equipped with full-scale production and Covid-19 safety features.
The brainchild Simon Schofield, who has coordinated video teams for the likes of the Rolling Stones, Metallica and Arcade Fire, and Suzi Green, tour manager for acts such as PJ Harvey, the Chemical Brothers and Marina, the Collective Sessions aims to generate income for music industry freelancers and small businesses, as well as offering an affordable option for artists to broadcast high-production value live streams on any chosen plartform.
“As touring crew, we take pride in finding solutions to unforeseen situations,”comments Schofield, “and it’s this that brings us together in this project.”
The new space, which will be offered at a “significantly reduced rate” is located an hour outside of London at the Millennium Studios facility. Lighting packages will be provided by GLS Lighting, supplier to Green Man Festival, Beautiful Days and artists including Flaming Lips and Michael Kiwanuka, with an audio package delivered by Urban Audio Productions, which works with Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Super Sonic Festival and Boomtown festival.
Really Creative Media (RCM) will provide the filming for the livestreamed performances, with options for remote camera management, roving steady cams, broadcast camera channels and LED screen displays.
“This project puts quality livestreaming within reach of many more artists who’d maybe ruled it out as being too expensive a way to stay in touch with their fanbase”
The Millennium team will undertake regular cleaning and disinfecting of the space and equipment used for the Collective Sessions. The facility also houses a Covid-19 research facility and works to industry safety guidelines.
“Having watched our livelihoods disappear for the foreseeable future, we knew there must be something we could do that helps everyone,” says Green.
“This project puts quality livestreaming within reach of many more artists who’d maybe ruled it out as being too expensive a way to stay in touch with their fanbase.”
“The live music industry is in a tough place, so we’re happy to be giving artists these possibilities at a reasonable cost,” adds RCM’s Nick Dew.
“Our in-house technology, alongside Millennium Studio’s new dedicated performance space, means we can combine live streaming broadcast technology, alongside creative content generation and performance capture, to enable professionally produced live streaming performances and presentations.”
Digital ticketing partners are to be announced, offering artists the option of selling tickets to fans fund production costs.
For further information please contact Suzi Green on firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.
Support acts: Which countries are still backing live
With the continent’s coronavirus peak having now passed, concert businesses and fans alike are increasingly asking when and how live music will return to Europe’s clubs, arenas and festivals.
For promoters, agents, venues and all those involved in putting on shows, when that moment comes will depend on when they are able restart their businesses safely and profitably. This, in turn depends on a whole range of factors – such as whether they will need operate at a reduced capacity, if events will need to be held outside and, crucially, whether social distancing will be enforced.
Some three months into the global concert shutdown, then, and things are – in many ways – more uncertain than ever.
There are glimmers of hope, but the level of support from governments is remarkably different between markets. From Germany’s recent mammoth €150m package for live, to some countries – including the UK – still awaiting any sector-specific support, here’s how Europe’s biggest concert markets (defined for the purposes of this article as those which feature in PWC’s top 20 live music markets 2019) compare…
Europe’s biggest live music market, which unveiled a mammoth €550 billion aid package at the start of the crisis, has in recent weeks announced more support for Germany’s SMEs, including those in the music industry.
In addition to the €1 billion Neustart Kultur (Restart Culture) scheme, which is worth €150m to the live music sector, the German federal government is also offering “bridging aid” (Überbrückungshilfe) for small and medium-sized businesses, which can apply for extra financial help if their turnover declined by at least 60% in April or May 2020 compared to the same period in 2019, or by 50% in June and August 2020.
“Although the music industry is not specifically mentioned, [concert] organisers, booking agencies, recording studios, music publishers, record companies, venues and affiliated companies in the event industry are likely to be among those who can apply for help,” notes Backstage Pro.
The Federal Association of the Concert and Event Industry (BDKV) welcomed the stimulus packages but has warned it will, in practice, be impossible to reopen with social distancing measures in place, as suggest by the government. “Protecting guests from infection must be the top priority for events,” says BDKV president Jens Michow. “However, if reopening is only be allowed with a minimum distance [between eventgoers], this would effectively mean that the current ban on events would continue.”
Increasingly frustrated figures from across the live business in the UK are still waiting for any sector-specific support from government. Many associations are calling for clarity as to when events will be allowed to return; a support package that includes VAT reduction on tickets sales and access to longterm finance; and the removal of social distancing restrictions for shows. None have been granted so far.
The UK Live Music Group – part of umbrella body UK Music – warns that the music business will lose a collective £900m (€1bn) if it fails to address these points, as well as an extension of existing furlough and self-employed schemes to stave of thousands of redundancies.
Read UK Music’s recent submission to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on the impact of coronavirus here.
Germany’s €1bn Neustart Kultur scheme is worth €150m to the live music sector
Building on previous support measures, including a ‘solidarity fund’ for small businesses, a short-term unemployment scheme for freelancers and a €50m music and festival fund, the French government is extending further aid to sectors of the economy which have suffered a “very sharp drop in activity” as a result of the coronavirus, including the live music industry.
The Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs announced on 10 June that “companies in the hotel, restaurant, café, tourism, events, sport, culture and related” sectors will continue to receive aid under the “partial activity” (ie furlough) scheme until at least September, while also benefitting from a lower bar to entry for the solidarity fund – which will be opened to companies with up to 20 employees, and with a turnover up of to €2m, until the end of 2020.
For non-leisure and tourism companies, pay-outs under the solidarity fund ended up 31 May.
Small and medium-sized businesses in these sectors will also benefit from an employer social security contributions holiday from February to June, while artists/composers will be entitled to a reduction in their contributions based on their 2019 income.
As the country enters phase three of ending lockdown, the Italian concert industry – which achieved a major (if controversial) win in April by convincing authorities to write into law a ticket voucher scheme for cancelled events – is pinning its post-Covid-19 hopes on article 186 of the Relaunch Decree (Decreto Rilancio), which sets out stimulus spending ahead of Italy’s return to normality.
Among its provisions are an extension of the voucher scheme (which allows promoters to issue credit instead of cash refunds) for another six months, taking its duration to 18 months from March 2020, and an increase in financial support for the entertainment and media sectors, from €130m to €245 in 2020.
The ministry of culture has also been given control of a €210m emergency fund which will be distributed to those who have lost money as a result of the cancellation of “major events, fairs, congresses and exhibitions due to the Covid-19 emergency”.
Not everyone is happy with the content of the decree: Many in the Italian recorded music industry are concerned that it focuses too much on live music companies, with Dario Giovanni, of Carosello Records, saying record labels should also be included in the emergency fund.
French events businesses will continue to benefit from the partial-activity scheme until September
Industry associations in the Netherlands are in negotiations with the government about further financial aid for the sector, following the initial €300m support package for cultural businesses announced in April.
According to the new Alliance of Event Builders (Alliantie van Evenementenbouwers) – an umbrella organisation comprising promoters’ association VVEM, festival/venues body VNPF and more – the live industry is “positive about” a recent conversation with ministers, who invited the association’s representatives to “talk further about financial compensation” and discussed an initiative “to jointly investigate what is possible in the events sector”.
While gatherings of 100 people are set to be allowed from 1 July, industry representatives are also pushing for that cap to be raised, or abolished altogether, says the alliance, which notes that “museums, amusement parks, public transport and shopping centres” have no such limitation (beyond 1.5m social distancing).
“The Alliance of Event Builders is of the opinion that, with the proper precautions and a good event protocol, more is possible, and that customisation should be considered,” it adds. “For example, a football stadium, trade fair or concert venue has more square metres and facilities than a small theatre.”
Support for the industry has been slow coming in Europe’s sixth-largest concert market, with Chess & Jazz festival’s Nick Babin telling IQ last month that “we have [had] no support from the Russian authorities and no dialogue with the government”.
However, the Russian ministry of culture said last Thursday (11 June) that it will add to the 380bn ₽ (€49m) already allocated to state-owned theatre and concert companies with a fund to support “small private cultural institutions” when restrictions on events are lifted. This could – depending on how the government defines “culture” – offer a potential lifeline to the country’s hard-hit live music businesses.
Industry associations in the Netherlands are in negotiations with the government about further financial aid for the sector
While it says it values the government’s previously announced support for the events industry, Swedish live music association Svensk Live continues to push for an extension to a 500m kr. (€46m) scheme to compensate those forced to cancel their events.
The original cut-off date of 31 May, says the association, excludes festivals and open-air shows planned for the traditional “high season” for live music, which represents a large proportion of most companies’ turnover.
“The Covid-19 epidemic and the ban on public events have fundamentally changed this,” reads a letter sent to Sweden’s minister of culture, Amanda Lind, by Svensk Live’s Joppe Pihlgren.
“Particularly hard hit are the festival organisers around the country, preparing for their event on a yearly basis, and who finance one year of operating costs for their company with revenue from the festival, but have been forced to cancel the event,” writes Pihlgren.
As the “summer festivals that are organised after 31 May have not somehow got better conditions in order to cope with the financial situation they are in,” he concludes, the support scheme must be extended to cover the entire summer.
Although restrictions have been lifted on events of up to 300 people in Switzerland, the country’s live music sector says its needs significantly higher capacity limits – and continued support from the government – to make possible a return to normal.
Switzerland’s income support scheme for the self-employed ended at the end of May, leaving thousands of production staff, crew and other live industry freelancers without any means of support, according to Jörg Gantenbein, president of the Swiss Association of Technical Stage and Events Professionals (SVTB).
Associations like the SVTB and Swiss Music Promoters Association (SMPA) have called – unsuccessfully – for compensation for the scheme to be extended for those working in the events industry until the end of August, while the SMPA is additionally asking for emergency aid for creative-industry business and professionals to be extended until the resumption of “normal” business (ie the end of the coronavirus crisis), among other measures.
Sweden’s Svensk Live is pushing for an extension to €46m compensation scheme for those forced to cancel their events
Good news in Denmark, as Sunday 14 June saw the government confirm that the phasing out of existing relief packages would be accompanied by the introduction of a targeted scheme to help companies affected by a ban on events that lasts until 31 August.
The initiative – which kicks in on 9 July and lasts until 31 August – allows for compensation of up to 100% of expenses for companies which have no revenue and which are prohibited from opening by the restrictions, up to a maximum of 60m kr. (€8m). The scheme will be reviewed in September.
The government is also extending the existing support scheme for freelancers and the self-employed; launching a new aid scheme for artists; and providing 700m kr. towards organising a series of summer events, towards which promoters’ association Dansk Live will contribute.
Norway’s compensation scheme for concert organisers, as well as support for freelancers, must be extended “as long as there is a prohibition on gatherings with large audiences”, says Ole Henrik Antonsen, chair of the Norwegian Music Industry Council. (Concerts are currently capped at 200 people.)
While no new sector-specific initiatives have been announced in recent weeks, the Norwegian Live Music Association (NKA) recommended its members apply for funding to Arts Council Norway, which has a specific grant or concert promoters. “It is more important now than ever that the organisers seek support from this scheme,” says NKA GM Tone Østerdal.
In Denmark, a new scheme will benefit companies affected by the ban on major events, which lasts until 31 August
According to umbrella organisation Music Austria, the help available to music professionals in Austria finally reached the “minimum level” needed to support the business at the tail end of last month, in the form of various initiatives including fixed-cost subsidies. a hardship fund and a “bridging fund” for artists.
Not everyone agrees, however: a rally on Heldenplatz in Vienna on Sunday (15 June) called for a “special support package for our entire industry”, in the words of Stiletto Stohl, founder of production business IG Event Technicians. The rally – dubbed ‘Ohne uns’ (‘Without us’) – saw protestors demand from the government what they say is long-overdue assistance for the live business, especially compared to the help that has been given to other industry.
Stohl said the industry is a net contributor to the economy, and does not need special treatment – merely targeted help and relief in dealing with the crisis. “We do not need 600 millions euros donated for 1,000 jobs, like at AUA,” he said, in reference to the recent €600m bail-out of Austrian Airlines.
In Belgium, live events companies have similarly been largely forgotten, with companies who organise concerts and other live events eligible only for a one-off compensation payment of €3,000, according to the newly formed Alliance of Belgian Event Federations (Alliantie van Belgische Eventfederaties).
“There are good tax measures in the pipeline. But, for now, the event sector is completely outside the support measures,” says federation spokesperson Bruno Schaubroeck, who is calling for a concrete date when major live events may restart in Belgium.
“With the continuing uncertainty, the risk of bankruptcies increases every hour,” he says. “We are ready for a safe restart.”
Spain’s Es Música is asking authorities to set up a ‘state compensation fund’ to cover Covid-19-related losses
Beyond a wider campaign that seeks to extend Spain’s furlough scheme until 31 December, the Spanish live music sector, through umbrella organisation Es Música, is asking authorities to set up a ‘state compensation fund’ that would cover losses incurred by companies as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
This fund, the organisation suggests, should be accompanied by other “financial incentives”, such as a temporary reduction in VAT and corporation tax, which would put the industry on a solid footing as it moves towards reopening.
Es Música – of which the Association of Music Promoters (APM) is a founding member – has put its proposals in a ‘recovery and reactivation’ roadmap it has sent to the Spanish ministry of culture and sports.
This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times. Is anything in this article incorrect or out of date? Email email@example.com with any updates.
UK govt proposes six-metre gap between artists and fans
Proposed UK government guidance on reopening venues would, according to many in the business, actually keep most venues firmly shut. The guidance suggests that a distance of six metres is maintained between singers and fans, plans that industry umbrella body UK Music has deemed “unworkable”.
The working document, which was circulated by officials last week and first reported on by the Telegraph, also recommends a gap of three metres is kept between individual singers, with no more than six permitted on stage at any one time.
Under the regulations, members of bands using wind and brass instruments would also have to stay three metres apart, with a limit of 8 players allowed on stage.
“The size of studios, rehearsal spaces and venues means the present plan is not fit for purpose”
“These proposals are unworkable,” UK Music acting CEO Tom Kiehl told the Telegraph. “The size of studios, rehearsal spaces and venues means the present plan is not fit for purpose.
“Public Health England needs to work with the music industry to come up with an evidence-based solution to get music back in business.”
UK Music predicts that the Covid-19 shutdown will wipe out £900 million of the estimated £1.1 billion that the country’s live industry contributes to the economy each year.
The guidelines have yet to be signed off by ministers.
Photo: Ralph Arvesen/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) (cropped)
FIM outlines recommendations for return to work
The International Federation of Musicians (FIM), an umbrella body comprising around 70 musicians’ unions worldwide, has issued a series of recommendations to enable artists to return to work in the safest possible way amid the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak.
The guidelines – targeted at classical musicians but relevant for all touring artists – say while “there is a common desire of musicians, employers and audiences” to reopen music venues “as soon as possible”, this must be accompanied by the “adoption, implementation and enforcement of adequate safety measures in order to protect musicians against the risks arising from possible exposure to the Sars-Cov‑2 [coronavirus] as they return to work.”
Among the FIM’s recommendations are that musicians with one or more symptoms of Covid-19 infected should be “exempted” from performing or rehearsing; that distance is kept between musicians on stage, as well as between artists and performers; widespread access to hand-washing facilities or sanitiser; and one-way paths inside venues, and separate entrances and exits to enclosed spaces such as dressing or green rooms, to avoid unnecessary social contact.
The guidance also expresses a preference for open-air events; where that is not possible, everyone attending an indoor concert should wear face coverings, it adds.
The FIM document follows the updated WHO mass-gathering guidelines, put out earlier this month, as well as other previously released guides to safe venue reopening, available from IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre.
Download the federations’s recommendations in full in PDF format here.
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How to stay ahead of the curve
It’s time to forget what you know – or risk getting left behind.
Now that I have your attention, let me explain that statement.
We will absolutely get the live business back on track, but it goes without saying that it will be a process to get there. With that, those that do not understand and embrace the role technology will play will inevitably become the new dinosaurs of our business – and nobody wants that title.
Technology in music was always gaining prominence. However, this global pandemic has simply sped up the process and forced us to rethink how we are to use it in its entirety. Just like how Napster backed the recorded music industry into a corner in the early 2000s and subsequently birthed iTunes and streaming, we are essentially going through our own moment in history that will be just as monumental for our business. This is an incredibly exciting time for the live industry – if we embrace the change.
The technology we have been using is not a ‘temporary solution’ while we are at home. Livestreaming, gaming platforms, virtual events and a more strategic approach to content is part of how we can rebuild the live industry to be more resilient. It also allows us to create strong revenue streams supporting the foundations of our business and allowing us to survive a future global crisis more efficiently.
It is vital we educate our audiences and be comfortable with exploring new processes as we work towards moving the needle. The aim is to create a new model whereby consumers are willing to pay for music content. Along with that, the existing culture and the attitudes of fans needs to adapt.
It’s time for us to hack the tech out there and make it work in our favour
We have understood how losing a year of business in live music has affected so many of us in these unprecedented times. From venues and festivals struggling to artist revenue decreasing, and thus having an adverse effect on managers, agents and promoters. And not forgetting – and most importantly – our incredible touring crews, who work so hard, day in and day out, on the road, away from their families, and are now suddenly unable to provide. I truly believe that technology can help change this.
We cannot be scared of failing. Jimmy Iovine once said: “Turn fear into a tailwind.” This is a scary time, but you and only you can decide how you move forward. I urge you to innovate and embrace a willingness to learn.
I myself have been trying a variety of things, from delving into TikTok and discovering their live feature to launching #ZoomFest with partners Ronnie Madra, Richie Akiva and Mike Jurkova, hacking at Zoom’s technology and original intent to bring artists and brands closer together for a unique experience that fans can re-stream in its entirety after the show.
Understanding how each tech platform works will be as important to us as agents and promoters as knowing how to cut a deal. Technology moving forward is part of the deal.
It is also our responsibility that we as a live business do not let tech companies dictate our every move. Let’s get behind these businesses and platforms to work closer than ever and to let our voices be heard. By working with them, we can ensure the best options are being created for our artists instead of it being an afterthought. If you wait for technology to fix your problems, it is going to overtake you. Get ahead instead.
Please remember we are not on pause permanently and change is a part of life, whether you like it or not. Technology is going to constantly evolve, so we know change is coming, while artists’ attitudes will continue to grow in terms of what they expect or how they want to run their business. That is a fact. We are only at the beginning – it hasn’t even started yet.
We are not on pause permanently – and change is a part of life, whether you like it or not
As an entire music industry, we will see much change in the rest of our careers everywhere, from streaming to how record deals are done to how audiences and artists want to experience music. Side note: if Joe Rogan can get a $100 million deal in place with Spotify for his podcast, you now things are about to get very interesting.
We need to learn and understand that the comfort zones we have been in for years in this industry stop now, and if we want to have the privilege of working with incredible artists we need to go back to the drawing board with an open mind.
My hope is that this article serves as a springboard and wake-up call to anybody who reads it. Start today and experiment and discuss. What could work well for your artist or festival? What does each platform do? How can content be monetised and add value to the audience? Where and how to brands fit in this equation?
In the spirit of us all working together as an industry and looking forward to a boom in the live industry, I have shared some examples for everyone to dive in, as well as a list of useful platforms and streams to check out to help you get started with this process.
Time for us to hack the tech out there and make it work in our favour. This will be our legacy.
Some things I have seen over the recent months that have worked well:
Yungblud: I highly recommend you check out his online TV show if you haven’t already and take note of the platform, the comments and the overall engagement. This artist is doing a great job leading the front during this time and authentically connecting with his audience.
Travis Scott x Fortnite: This incredible experience is one to check out.
Post Malone x Nirvana: I personally loved this stream because it was accessible to all and the songs of Nirvana are familiar to all of us. The editing was also on point.
Lewis Capaldi x Dice: Lewis did a great acoustic show via Dice which resulted in sales that could easily fill an arena, and proved the model of paying for content with his audience.
A guide of what is on offer to get you started in a constantly evolving world.
What it is: A livestreaming and virtual meet-and-greet platform.
Advantages: It is the only platform to effectively run live streams and virtual meet-and-greets in a flexible manner, allowing you to capitalise on VIP.
Where to find it: loopedlive.com
What it is: The leading digital ticketing platform, with the recently launched Dice TV.
Advantages: Strong database and direct relationships with venues and festivals.
Where to find it: dice.fm/tv
What it is: An immersive virtual environment available to access for free.
Advantages: You can literally create your own venue, branded event and concert within Sansar and charge for tickets, merch and more to generate income. An incredible platform to delve into. Recommend you check out what they are doing with Shangri-La at Glastonbury this year.
Where to find it: sansar.com
What it is: An online video game available to download for free.
Advantages: This really applies to a particular audience and can be very powerful, as we have seen from the performances of Marshmello, Travis Scott and more.
Where to find it: fortnite.com
What it is: Enables you to ticket your livestreams.
Advantages: Great livestreaming platform from the US.
Where to find it: veeps.com
What it is: Jimmy Iovine-backed ticketed livestreaming platform.
Advantages: Early days but I am loving the lay-out of the stream with chat boxes.
Where to find it: momenthouse.com
What it is: Another livestreaming platform enabling you to ticket your livestream.
Advantages: No performance is recorded or archived so all you see is live.
Where to find it: stageit.com
What it is: A ticketing experience through text message.
Advantages: Follow your favourite artists’ profiles and get alerts via text when they announce a show near you.
Where to find it: seated.com
What it is: A live streaming service popular with gamers, but everyone is on it now. Owned by Amazon.
Advantages: Huge audiences on Twitch so engagement can be high with the right event.
Where to find it: twitch.tv
What is it: TikTok is an incredible social media app based on video.
Advantages: Two main advantages in my opinion are firstly that the algorithm works in your favour, meaning content is more likely to be seen, and secondly you can go live. Music is also a key component of TikTok.
Where to find it: tiktok.com
Read part two of this three-part series, which focuses on the opportunities and positives for the live industry presented by the coronavirus, here.