The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is very alarming and tends to put music economy on the edge of danger. At present there are countless people across Indonesia that have fallen on hard times and loss of income and it’s rising every day.
Previously it had never been imagined, how super invisible little creatures were able to ravage and destroy all the joints of life and even human civilization on this earth. Even the handshake that has been symbolized as the simplest form of hospitality, must be stopped between each other. But the ferocity of the coronavirus cannot be considered trivial. As the coronavirus itself continues to spread, so too does its ramifications on the music business. But music’s financial collapse is already taking its industry-wide toll.
As the tentacles of coronavirus reach into every corner of the planet, it is clear that no area of society will be unaffected. The industries of entertainment, the people, platforms and performances that shape our experiences of life, are dealing with their own sense of jeopardy. It’s too early to conclude whether there will be a recession but the dilemma leaves nations performing a balancing act, of finding answers to a very complex problem that needs health, social and economic solutions, all at the same time.
We’re facing two types of crises – health and economic. In both cases, we are in the initial phases. Crises often bring about opportunities, but disruption caused by the COVID-19 crisis come at a great cost. This crisis is absolutely the hardest blow for music workers on all fronts. As an anticipation, the government immediately moved to establish mass instructions on isolation of entertainment venues and implement will implement its Large Scale Social Restriction policy (PSBB), an escalation of the current social distancing policy.
Under these measures, non-essential businesses must implement work-from-home measures, as much as possible. Only selected business sectors will be allowed to operate Large Scale Social Restriction policy (PSBB), an escalation of the current social distancing policy. Thousands of crowded venues that are usually vibrant with live music, practically stop all operational activities without exception. The music business is currently experiencing an unprecedented test of strength.
The concert business was supposed to have its best year ever and most of music business people began the new year with an optimistic outlook, expecting it to begin with vigorous income from the live music events. But regrettably, delays and mass cancellations of domestic music events such as concerts, tours, festivals are a form of entertainment disasters that can’t be consolidated. This suffering has a domino effect on the economy of music workers that rely on just live music business income.
How long the disruption lasts will depend on the Covid-19 outbreak. Artists, venue operators and staff, festival organisers, production crews, ticketing agencies, marketing agencies and even music publishers have all been hit hardest. Everything is up in the air and that causes a lot of stress for people. There is no start date and an end date. They don’t know what their lives are going to be like in two, three or six months. The current situation will cause performers to face financial issues and the deep emotional impacts of sudden travel restrictions.
The financial damage created by the coronavirus pandemic is forcing the entire music space to rethink the way it does business. The burden of losses for business owners are not small after the isolation that has been running for more than a month. To be able to survive is still a complete blackout. Coronavirus is the nightmare scenario that calls the viability of business structure into question. This disruption is indiscriminate and makes the economic wheels suddenly stopped.
Black clouds have loomed over the minds of music workers who in fact are freelance workers or in contractual contracts of short duration. Most of them have a clause called force majeure in their contract which leave them vulnerable to total loss of income. Some are laid off for an indefinite period, there are those whose employment contracts are not renewed and those that are terminated without severance. Now they’re caught up in an unemployment system that’s not geared toward them. People and businesses across the world are now trying to navigate the evolving situation.
During this economic downturn, it is truly incredible and inspirational how the music business has come together in a time of peril. With each passing day, big artists are offering what help they can. Some musicians are sharing their talents, providing livestreams of performances to keep fans entertained. Others are donating not only their time, but their tremendous resources, to provide aid to the less fortunate in their communities and around the world.
For every concert & event that we’ve seen cancelled in recent days, there are countless people losing work. It’s not just the musicians up on stage, but the sound & lighting engineers, artist & tour managers, crew members, venue bookers, concert promoters & many more who all of a sudden have no way to pay their bills or provide for their families. It’s so difficult to say how big the impact will be long-term, but it’s already massively detrimental to musicians – the longer they’re unable to show, the more uncertain their future is.
Musicians like Didi Kempot, Rhoma Irama, Addie MS and Slank have donated to charities specializing in coronavirus relief. Many in the music landscape have stepped up by organising various relief funds to support musicians who have lost income to the pandemic, or made changes to existing policies to improve cash flow to artists. The collected can overcome the economic turmoil that hit music workers. To make sure the distribution in place, all the fundraiser are involving the crowdfunding fintech platforms like Kita Bisa and Benih Baik.
Although the government still needs to provide support for the self-employed, to the same extent they’re supporting the ’employed,’ and the music business as a whole needs to consider ways to support us financially during these times, whether through grants, loans, recoupment breaks or other paid opportunities. As it stands, if there are no changes and support put in place, this could do irreversible damage to people’s careers and the industry overall.
INOVATION IN ISOLATION
As live music shuts down, each of music workers have had to get creative and keep spirits high. For the first time, we are seeing the global music industry adopt Live streaming in ways that no one could have imagined. The intensity of communication carried out aggressively between musicians becomes a productive lighter to apply O2O (Offline to Online) activities and launching schemes to alleviate financial losses. The virtual performances offer an emotional payoff they need right now.
On the other hand, this disaster also provides a great opportunity to realise the economic potential that can be created from qualified digital technology. This crisis is empowering them with new capabilities, new business models and new opportunities that may not have been imagined before. It is innovations like these that will set new standards and opportunities for creators in the future to reimagine better ways to navigate the relationship between artist and audience.
Live streaming is the closest digital analogue to an in-person show and now artists of all sizes are racing to organise virtual events for their fans. It helps to get some of the great work out to the world and projects that were cancelled get the word of mouth that they missed out on. Beside able to keep feeling a sense of artistic community, musicians are able to continue to engage with their projects by sharing work and celebrating the work of others. The normalisation of Live streaming could be game-changing for the music business.
We have not totally migrated to the digital world, but this new trend will develop rapidly towards a commercial business model. Live streaming was never intended to replace actual live music, financially or emotionally. Instead, it served as a supplemental tool for increasing fan engagement and reach. But for the next few months, with the coronavirus pandemic creating disorder, the technology is one of the most practical paths forward for musicians and fans, even though it may be challenging to monetise. Let’s jumpstarting music from now! @2020/AldoSianturi/Photo: Special