Press Clipping
Post-lockdown clubbing in China; Pay-per-view tours, crowdless concerts, virtual merch; Initiative to 'Reopen Every Venue Safely' launches in US; African artists take on COVID-19

Initiative to ‘Reopen Every Venue Safely’ launches in eight cities including Los Angeles, Austin and Portland (Variety)
Music Cities Together aims to help club owners on the operational side, as the coming months may see new local regulations from various state and city authorities that music venues may have to comply with in order to stay in business.

UK Live Music Group calls for urgent Government action amid 'catastrophic' coronavirus impact (Music Week)
The UK Live Music Group … said more than £900 million is expected to be wiped from the £1.1 billion the live music sector was expected to contribute to the domestic economy this year, adding it could be three to four years before the business recovers to 2019 levels.

What’s next for lockdown live music? Pay-per-view tours, crowdless concerts, virtual merch and more (Variety)
One possible conclusion … could be pay-per-view concerts streamed from a performance area into a separate, socially distanced venue, possibly with food, drinks, merch and the usual concert amenities. For fans, this would still feel like a night out (at least a bit), and would help to sustain venues and the ecosystem around them.

The Reality of Post-Lockdown Clubbing in China (Electronic Beats)
Without support from the government, the community has stepped in to help instead. “Everyone has been coming together to put on events, find funding, come up with ideas to raise some money, and the public response today has been quite staggering.”

Life without Live (Rolling Stone)
Even more than the great shows, I find myself missing the mediocre ones. The nights when you drop by on a whim, run into friends, enjoy the music in the most transitory way, then walk home, stop for a slice on the way, maybe forget the band the next day. What a luxury.

Live Nation posts first coronavirus-era earnings: Revenue down 20%, but fans are keeping tickets (Variety)
The company is in for a grim second quarter: Not only has it seen more than 8,000 concerts and festivals impacted since March (with 6,500 events postponed and 1,500 events cancelled), it has been clobbered in the press for its refund policy.

Warner Music Group boss Steve Cooper talks COVID-19, streaming subscriptions… and that delayed IPO (MBW)
It’s worth remembering throughout all this talk of Coronavirus damaging Warner’s commercial endeavours in calendar Q1 that it only did so, materially, during a minority of the period’s 90 days.

African artists take creative approach to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic (UN News)
They are creating public service announcements, songs and music videos as part of an online campaign called #DontGoViral which has already reached more than 90 million people in the past week alone.

Uganda’s musicians are fighting COVID-19 - why government should work with them (The Conversation)
Uganda’s national COVID-19 taskforce would do well to employ a multi-faceted approach to its public health communication. One where music – in schools, on radio, on the internet – is embraced as a measure towards preventing disease and loss as well as resettling the victims in their community lives.

How hip hop royalty found a new home on Instagram Live (New York Times)
Over the past six weeks, no subset of popular culture has evolved more rapidly, or radically. Almost all of these innovations have happened within Instagram, particularly on its Live feature (which activates a livestream with one touch), which in short order has become the definitive medium of quarantine.

Lessons from lockdown: inside Fender's coronavirus marketing retune (The Drum)
Just like everyone else, however, Fender has found itself forced to dream up new ways to maintain its relevance in the new normal that lockdown has ushered in for the music industry.

Music therapist creates YouTube series to calm coronavirus anxiety (Greenville Journal)
“There is a ton of stress going around,” he says, “and I wanted to create an archive of music-therapy related media so that people could seek out what they need and then engage in it on their own time.”

With earnings reports coming in to show the impact of the pandemic on the music industry as a whole, there’s so much creativity too (whether it’s hip hop royalty on IG Live, hybrid live events, or a music therapist’s YouTube channel). It will be interesting to follow these initiatives and see whether post-pandemic music life can sustain new business models for artists that also allow them to get closer to their fans and vice versa.

Heads up on a virtual Music Tectonics forum ‘Isolate or Innovate’ on 19-20 May that’s on a pay-what-you-want basis and is shaping up to provide a timely analysis and response to current trends and what’s coming up for the music industry.

I listened to one of the best jazz records released this year while composing this newsletter: Jeff Parker’s Suite for Max Brown.