No questions asked, the coronavirus is having an impact on nearly every sphere of our lives. Like many other businesses, the live music scene has been struggling since the start of COVID-19. While young musicians will undoubtedly be able to play again in the future, the health crisis has been making it impossible for many older musicians to say goodbye to their fans properly…
Is COVID-19 Killing The Music Scene?
While nearly 75% of adult Americans are vaccinated, the older portion of the population remains at risk, even with boosters. That means that not only will many older performers need to continue to cancel gigs, but many others have passed away. “We’ve lowered our flag too many times over the last two years,” Greg Harris, the CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, said recently.
Meanwhile, even older stars who are quite healthy, like Billy Joel, Buddy Guy, Rod Stewart, and Elton John, have needed to push or cancel performances as a result of the coronavirus. And, of course, when an older performer moves a performance, there’s a chance that the concert will never arrive. “Artists are surely thinking, ‘As I get older, I’m more vulnerable, so will I ever get to do this again?'” Sirius XM DJ Meg Griffin recently said on her classic rock radio show.
There are even more complications: as a result of limited shows and touring; many artists have needed to sell their catalogs to big companies like Sony, Amazon, Universal, and others. In the last two years, everyone from ZZ Top and Bruce Springsteen to John Legend and Shakira have sold their entire catalogs to publishing companies. “The pandemic has made people aware of the end game,” explained Anthony DeCurtis, a writer for Rolling Stone.
However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel…
Appreciating Every Concert
There is a bit of good news, however: a recent poll from Morning Consult shows that 40% of Americans now feel comfortable attending a concert in the coming month, with nearly two-thirds feeling comfortable returning sometime in 2022. And, for most performers, that day cannot come soon enough. “Quite simply, the experience of sitting in the audience watching musicians play is electric and not replaceable by anything else,” says Bob Spitz, author of Led Zeppelin: The Biography. “You can’t get it by phoning in or Zooming in your part.”
For the time being, there is really only one course of action for both fans and musicians: stay safe and cherish the currently-elusive opportunities until we can all enjoy live concerts together again. “I thought, ‘Do I want to get on a plane and fly to Pittsburgh and go see a big show?’ Well, not really,” DeCurtis said. “But, hey, it’s the Stones. So I decided, ‘I’m there, I’m going.’ And you know what, I’m so glad I did.”