As the COVID Pandemic continues to ravage the Classical Music sector, I have been waiting this past many weeks of ...
Music Canada just commissioned Abacus Data to take a poll of Canadian music enthusiasts to see where they’re at with their consumption of music during this age of COVID. The results bring me feelings of both optimism and worry. Because of the lockdown, the public is consuming way more musical content online than they ever have before…which is great! The scary part though is that music fans seem to be expressing that they will be very hesitant to return to live music venues even after self-isolating measures are lifted. To a professional musician in this modern technological age, this is very worrisome.
Before COVID, online content (even albums) were used as promotional material to get bums in the seats of live music venues. The selling of tickets for the shows (along with merch sales) is where the performing musician could make sustainable money. Sure there’s teaching, film/tv licensing and grants, but live music was still considered the holy grail where the music fan would be willing to pay for music. Why? Because it’s an experience that no other form can replicate. (This poll verifies that as a fact.)
But now with COVID and its repercussions, even this seems to be on the cusp of loss. Or is it? Already, musicians are getting canny in their means of adaptation. But are unique events going to be enough to sustain an industry? Many are saying that we need to do a better job of monetizing the online content that the masses are presently enjoying. Our world has become accustomed to unlimited online free content. With many people losing their jobs right now, is it realistic to expect the public to dish out money for online content? Even it was possible, could the majority of the music community come together and demand it?
After all this, I am still hopeful. Why? Because I am a firm believer that out of life challenges, smart sustainable solutions can come about. I have not personally come up with that “Eureka!” idea. But I’m working on it. And I know all of my musicians friends are too. Collectively, we will work it out together to ensure that we get to keep doing what we love to do…while putting food on the table.