It’s been more than a year since the COVID-19 pandemic turned our lives upside down and it’s affected artists from your regular church choir group to Beyonce.
One year without gigs.
One year without tours.
And save for some, it’s a year without album sales.
It isn’t any wonder that many indie musicians look for tips to survive!
Here are some of the effects of COVID on indie artists, both the bad and good (yes, because we’re optimistic like that).
THE BAD STUFF:
Loss of income
This needs no explanation. We’re all affected by this to some extent but it’s especially hard for artists and non-essential workers these days.
Due to social distancing protocols implemented to most countries around the world, concerts, live performances and gigs, which are usually packed with fans and casual listeners, have to be cancelled.
In addition, online music streaming sites pay very little for the streams an artist puts up. What’s even more depressing is that online streaming sites already have numerous songs from more popular artists. And there are more than 50 and 60 million songs already on both Spotify and Apple Music respectively which makes it much harder to gain streams for their songs, therefore losing even that little income.
Difficulty in gaining fans
The cancellation of performances did not only affect these indie artists economically. It has also affected their chances of gaining more fans. Many album releases were halted because you really cannot market so much without the tour and gigs.
Without those performances, it makes it harder for them to showcase what makes them different from the already famous ones and show the people why they deserve people’s attention.
Sure, there are already platforms where you can do live (some even resort to Tiktok), but actually hearing artists perform are on a different level than seeing and hearing them perform through camera lenses.
Using up savings
With no way to gain more money because of cancelled gigs, indie artists are pushed to use their savings. This is, of course, directly correlated to the ones above.
In addition, they will have to shoulder everything that’s needed for their music releases (when they plan to release it), since indie artists are not signed under any record label. They will have to pay for art designers if they can’t design their own album cover, pay for the mastering whether it’d be for CD duplication/replication or vinyl pressing and pay the production cost of the CD, cassette tapes, custom vinyl records and more.
If you plan on having your own custom vinyl records pressed, then that would be quite straining on your budget. But the good thing is that vinyl records have been making a comeback. Many companies have offered short run vinyl pressings with no minimum order. If you’re not too confident that you would outsell your vinyl copies, then you can just order a vinyl pressing with 100 copies.
THE GOOD STUFF:
More time for creative pursuits
During the implemented home quarantine and lockdown, people had more time to be with themselves and learn something new about themselves and musicians are no different.
According to analyst, Mark Mulligan, 70% of independent musicians have taken the opportunity to spend their time locked up at home to make and write music, while 57% of them have created more content for their social media accounts.
With all the project halts, they have taken advantage of it. They stepped out of the spotlight, and busy schedule and have returned to their own creative spaces to make new music they can serve to their fans and casual listeners.
We all know that music production is a collaborative work because singers will always need to collaborate with producers, lyricists, and more.
What makes this different is that this collaboration is between two singers or a singer and an instrumentalist. These kinds of collaboration have been increasing by the minute. And this has been occurring thanks to the available digital tools they can use to make good and proper music with.
As what the above mentioned analyst said, there have been 36% of independent artists that reported working on more collaboration during the pandemic. And I am quite sure that percentage would just keep on increasing even after this whole pandemic stops.
COVID-19 is the devil but we’re slowly going back to normal. Hopefully, with more gusto to make meaningful music and meaningful connections.