Can’t we all agree that there are better ways to use your time that may possibly even push you into new and unforeseen creative avenues?
By King Lars
The live entertainment world has been in a strange and unprecedented tailspin. States across the country have begun implementing quarantines, curfews, and closings of all non-essential businesses in order to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic that has rapidly swept the globe in the past months. These changes have come with surprise to many in the music and arts industry who are left reeling as they find themselves searching for how to get by in the coming weeks and possible months as these shutdowns continue. All venues have essentially been forced to close, creating cause for concern for businesses that are known to live paycheck to paycheck, along with the performers who make a living on stage.
While the shuttering of these musical institutions is still fairly new, it’s safe to say that many artists are feeling less than confident about the future. No one has a real idea of how long these shutdowns will be in place, and there are little to no signs that anything will be changing anytime soon. For now, many are just lying in wait and doing their best to adapt to a radically new situation in which they now find themselves.
From personal experience, I know that many local artists and musicians also work in the service and media industries, either on the side or as their primary source of income. Both of these lines of work have been impacted by these widespread closures, resulting in a loss of income for millions across the country. Many of those working in these industries now find themselves without any way to make a living, and I think it’s safe to say that keeping a roof over your head and food in your mouth takes priority for most.
The musicians are not alone in their struggle for financial stability. Even the venues that showcase the artists have fallen victim to hard times, relying on less than typical measures in order to keep their doors open. Some of the most prevalent have been creating go-fund-me campaigns, selling beers to the public at a discount, and with many now pursuing live-streamed concert series in order to stay active and make a buck to support pay rent and support their employees. It seems that the last measure of live-streaming shows has become fairly widespread, with everyone and their mother live streaming adhoc sets, either in the practice room, as solo performances, or even in some cases at empty venues, in order to make their creative presence known in a time of national lockdown.
While these live-streamed shows may be the new hip form of revolt against the federally imposed quarantines, it begs a valid question: what’s the point, really? Musicians don’t make money from these videos. Most artists and venues do them pro bono as a last-ditch attempt to reach their digital audiences. Depending on the scale, these seemingly intimate showings can possibly draw some meager views, but for most local bands who are jumping on the live-streamed concert bandwagon, what does it really do for you besides cure boredom? Maybe that’s the main point of the trend. However, when you really look at it, most of these streams don’t really get the views to make them worthwhile. In the end, it’s just another variation of Hot topic punk rockers jumping on the new trend, one that makes people focus on something that really isn’t that worthwhile in the long-run. Can’t we all agree that there are better ways to use your time that may possibly even push you into new and unforeseen creative avenues?
While I’m sure everyone wants to reach out to their fans and show them that they’re still here in the age of social shutdown, let’s be honest. There are way better ways to spend your time developing your music career: write some new songs, record tracks, shoot a music video, practice your chops, and the list goes on. Feel free to prove me wrong, but from my perspective, live-streamed shows are just a cheap imitation of the real thing, except instead of going outside to smoke a cigarette, the concert-goers will click on your stream for a few seconds before sitting back down on their couch to watch Tiger King for the third time.