We are 9 months into the pandemic and vaccines are on the way. That’s good news. Even what seems to be light at the end of the tunnel, the live performances are stuck in limbo. Artists performing live is off the table and live streaming is the new normal. What’s the future of live shows? That’s the million dollar question that everyone in the industry is asking. Everybody wants to know the future of live shows. Will there be restrictions when live shows return? Ticketmaster revealed it would require concert goers to present evidence of a vaccination or a negative covid test. The ticket company was met with an immediate backlash and they pulled back the statement. The socially distant concerts held in the UK weren’t largely successful.
Live shows in New Zealand are back to normal. No masks, no distancing, just like pre-pandemic days. The live show arena won’t succeed unless it returns to normal. The live show was built on a community gathering and sharing an experience. Any restriction will kill it off. Promoters know this. If these restrictions continue in the future, then music venues and clubs will continue to shut down and live music workers will leave the industry permanently.
Right now, the industry is betting on a vaccine. All eyes are on Pfizer. Yes, the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. If millions of doses of the vaccine does the trick, then live music can resume in the second half of 2021. But with restrictions like masks, temp checks, verification cards? Who knows.
SXSW has gone virtual for 2021. Coachella is scheduled for April, but I’m betting it’s cancelling, Bonnaroo is moving dates, and Lollapalooza’s 2021 is in the air. With all that, live shows are stuck in a holding pattern.
Two hits are worth more than one hit, but regardless, one hit can generate lots of money. Toni Watson aka as Tones and I had one of most-played songs on Spotify with Dance Monkey. In fact, that monkey danced its way up to 2 billion streams and earned $12 million in royalties. Dance Monkey travelled faster than covid topping the charts in more than 30 countries. Can you believe Toni was busking on the streets before becoming one of Australia’s richest musicians?
Songwriters tend to stay behind the scenes avoiding the spotlight allowing the full spectrum to shine on the artist. That’s why writers are the most overlooked creative professionals in music. Spotify will shine the spotlight on the community of songwriters and has introduced the Songwriters Hub which allows listeners to follow their favorite songwriters. Spotify have added pages for songwriters including Sia, Ant Clemons, Bebe Rexha, Gregg Wattenberg, Noonie Bao, Ashley Gorley and Irving Berlin.
Songwriter Nija who worked with Ariana Grande on Positions says this: “Having a hub for songwriters is extremely important because people need to know who these people are who are helping create the soundtrack to our lives. Songwriters deserve to be praised for their contributions just as much as artists and producers. A lot of times we get the short end of the stick, so I’m glad that there’s a place where people can see who’s writing their favorite songs.”
The most viewed artists on Tik Tok of 2020 happen to be the most famous musicians. Not surprising. The List includes Megan Thee Stallion, Doja Cat, Pop Smoke, DaBaby, Roddy Ricch, Melanie Martinez, Don Toliver, Dua Lipa, 24kGoldn, and Lil Uzi Vert.
Although not the most famous, these new artists made their mark on the platform:
24kGoldn, Flo Milli, ppcocaine, The Kid Laroi, Avenue Beat, Curtis Waters, Tate McRae, Natalie Taylor, and Corpse.
According to the video-sharing social networking service 70 artists that have broken on the platform have received major label deals, including Claire Rosinkranz, Dixie D’Amelio, Powfu, Priscilla Block and Tai Verdes
The biggest genre on the platform by far is Hip Hop/ Rap followed by Pop, Electronic and R&B.
The 1960’s and 70’s brought us great protest songs. The Vietnam War was a dominant musical theme in the ’60s and ’70s. Antiwar songs was the centerpiece at the Woodstock festival in 1969. Music can change the world and it did. Music was the most powerful means of voicing opposition. Artists were protesting against a war and rallied for international peace.
But with all the divisiness today, where are the protest songs? Today, a protest more or less looks like a cringeworthy rant on social media from laymen.
In 60’s and 70’s there was a red line between the artist class and the ruling class. Today, the creative community have aligned themselves with the political class which also includes the big tech billionaires who run Facebook, Google, Twitter and Youtube.
Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins notes, “I mean, there’s friction against one political party, but there doesn’t really seem to be a counterculture, which is kind of strange.”
Where is the friction and the divide? Nobody is raging against the machine. Has the machine become too powerful to rage against? I don’t know, but let it face the music – a proven enemy!