The ongoing pandemic has been one of the most devastating and disruptive events in recent times, with millions of deaths, and many more who have suffered serious illness. Apart from this morbid effect, the pandemic has also caused a lot of pain and suffering in many different ways. People have been forced to stay indoors, away from their families and loved ones in many cases, while businesses and shops all over the world have struggled without customers, with many of them having to close down for good. Many sectors have been hit hard in an economic sense, especially those which rely on people stepping out of their houses and spending money. One such industry is the music industry, where live performances and concerts form the bulk of most artists’ earnings. These, of course, have not been possible for the majority of the last 12 months, and so there are some estimates that musicians have seen a loss of over two-thirds of their regular income during this time. The industry as a whole has lost over $30 billion, with no respite in sight until at least the second half of 2021.
In this situation, many entrepreneurs and stakeholders in the music industry have been looking to find solutions, with technology coming to the rescue. This is not new, as technology has helped many areas of the world during this pandemic. Most businesses have been able to continue operations with employees working remotely and from home, with Zoom video calls replacing traditional meetings. We have seen how people have turned to the internet for entertainment during this time as well, with more streaming content available, for example. Another way in which technology has helped is by improving the economic prospects of some businesses and sectors. Gambling, for example, is thriving, even though land-based casinos are shut globally, due to online gambling. There are multiple online casinos, with winz.io being an example, where customers can play their favourite casino table games and therefore be able to experience the casino to some extent. Technology is also helping recreate casinos at home, through augmented and virtual reality games, while many operators are also beginning to allow players to bet via cryptocurrencies. All of this has meant that the online gambling sector is booming right now, and this offers a template for other industries to follow as well.
It has been a similar story for the music industry as well with regard to its use of technology during this time. There have been multiple virtual concerts over the last 12 months, with musicians from all over the world coming together on social media sites and streaming platforms to perform for their fans, often with the aim to raise money for COVID-19 relief efforts as well. There have also been several unique attempts in this space – one example is that of Artist Replugged, which is a digital music festival, but with a focus on local musicians, with fans able to browse footage of emerging artists performing their songs for the first time, perhaps in their own homes, for example. This has allowed fans to be able to see their favourite performers authentically, rather than in heavily edited music videos. Several musicians have also put out live sessions on social media, where fans have been able to interact with them and even request songs.
It can be argued that these initiatives have actually brought fans closer to their musical heroes, even though these interactions are taking place online and on a glass screen. This is the impact of technology, and we can probably expect this to continue to some extent even after we are able to return to normalcy and attend concerts again.
© 2021, Seth Barmash. All rights reserved.