TIME Magazine took the time to analyze what’s been happening to the music industry so far. In their article, they detail what has happened, how things are doing, and what could happen in the future.
Here Are Some Highlights
It used to be that we could go out at night, dress up, and paint the town red until dawn. We enjoyed bass pumping music in shoulder-to-shoulder crowds. Sometimes celebrities would be at the hottest venues we were at. But now, social distancing has made things different, very different.
Mid-March came and businesses came to a halt. Venues temporarily shut down, dance floors gathered dust, staff members got laid off. The bar and nightclub industry estimated at over $25 billion in revenue annually. The concert business predicted to reach about $35 billion this year. But that reality turned vulnerable with the economic and social shifts of COVID-19.
With no certainty on when normalcy will return, we’ve been fed fuzzy timelines. Indoor nightlife remains last on the list, but until there is a safe solution for reopening, it is what it is right now. Science cautions that operating at maximum capacity could only work after a vaccine is in place. This purgatory state for nightlife needs a solution.
Miguel Risueño and Corey Johnson attempted to create a solution with their micrashells— air-tight “rave suits”. Decked out in neon panels and a shield helmet, you could social distance safely in style. They believed its benefits outweighed its wackiness, in efforts for business-to-business help. Partying while checking off the medical boxes could work. After all, their business, Production Club, puts on large scale festivals and parties for thousands.
“We felt like, after humans have been socializing for thousands of years, we cannot just go and substitute that with virtual [events]. I think the government response overall has been lackluster…The government does not have a great relationship with restaurants, hospitality, nightlight. I just don’t think those bridges really exist.” – co-founder, Corey Johnson
All the industry can do now is band together through creativity. And sparks have flown since quarantine began. With drive-in concerts, virtual club nights, live streams, speakeasy-style gatherings with limited attendance, we’ve tried temporary fixes. However, they don’t meet the economic needs of the industry.
The novelty is wearing off and lack of funding to keep these venues open is getting very real. What it takes is a lobby like an industry whose life depends on it. 90% of venue owners were surveyed and said they wouldn’t last past six months. As the countdown towards bankruptcy begins, we sympathize with the industry. They were the first to close, last to open, have zero revenue, and all the expenses.
Cultural evolution is on hold without music venues, nightclubs, and nightlife. Without artist residences, artist practice spaces, and performances, there aren’t ideas and art getting demoed. There is no place where people can come together and feel accepted.
Quarantine is weighing on all our souls, we know. Artists are doing the best they can with adjusting to the technical challenges that Zoom and Twitch bring. Digital nightlife is not the same as reading the energy of a room. Though we commend those that are mastering the digital space. As a community, banding together is the best thing we can do right now.
If things go back to normal, perhaps the appetite for nightlife will come back more voraciously. To read more of the TIME article, you can do so here.