The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has literally brought new definition to the phrase “The day the music died.” Originally sung by Don McLean in the song “American Pie,” that lyric accurately describes life in the times of this pandemic. Live music has tragically died while we’re social distancing.
But to quote another lyric by the Village People, “you can’t stop the music, nobody can stop the music.” After the COVID-19 crisis is behind us, you best believe concerts and music festivals will be alive and well. People are going to want an outlet from all the stress and isolation they’ve felt these last few weeks, and music is the perfect opportunity to dance, sing, and overall, feel a calming sense of release.
Here’s why concerts will return even with social distancing:
- Benefit concerts will raise money toward COVID-19 relief
- Over half the population likes to see music live
- Touring is a billion dollar industry
- Millennials love music festivals and will keep on attending them
- Streaming will change the way we see concerts
- People work in the music industry and need jobs
- Drive-in concerts are becoming popular
- Merch is going to be more popular than ever
#1: Benefit Concerts Will Raise Money
The world will be a mess even after the shelter-at-home is lifted, which means we can use every penny possible now and in the future toward relief efforts. Benefit concerts can be an insanely powerful way to raise those funds!
Lady Gaga is the first to get the train rolling with “One World Together at Home,” a benefit show that fill also feature Lizzo, Billie Eilish, Elton John, Paul McCartney, and Stevie Wonder. The daring pop artist has already raised $35 million for the World Health Organization, and is planning to raise even more through this concert.
Aside from benefit concerts, many non-profits are working with musicians to raise funds. PLUS1, which is an organization started by the band Arcade Fire, is donating $1 from each of the concert tickets they sell and putting it in a COVD-19 relief fund.
The more of these concerts and ticket sales there are, the closer we’ll be to fixing the damage caused by COVID-19. As a result, we can expect to see even more benefit shows and concerts in the near future.
#2: Over Half the Population Likes Live Music
Benefit concerts are popular because people really like hearing music live. In a 2018 Nielsen report, it was found that 52% of the U.S. population attends some sort of live music event every year.
COVID-19 limits our ability to get out and go to concerts, but that isn’t going to be the case forever. As soon as it’s possible, people will be on their way to shows once again! They’ll be even more excited to bond with people in the mosh pits, or give someone a high five in the crowd. Be sure to keep the sanitizer nearby…just in case.
#3: Touring is a Billion Dollar Industry
Music tours gross an annual revenue of about $5.55 billion worldwide. That’s close to the same amount earned by top brands like McDonald’s. Anything that generates that much money isn’t going anywhere any time soon.
Some artists have had their tours impacted by COVID-19, such as Pearl Jam, who is still planning on honoring the original tickets bought by their fans, and Madonna who had to cancel her tour in Paris and is refunding any tickets that were sold.
Still, it’s not all doom and gloom. Once the floodgates open, you’ll likely see venues and concert halls rushing to fill up their stages. They’re going to need to make the money they lost while the world was on lockdown, which means rescheduled tour dates and even more tours announced for next year.
#4: Millennials Love Music Festivals
Your average millennial loves going to music festivals, from Lollapalooza to Electric Forest to everything in between. In fact, 84% of people ages 18 to 40 attend music festivals as a way to escape everyday life.
Who isn’t going to want some kind of escape from their thoughts and feelings about COVID-19? So far this year, South by Southwest, Coachella, and Bonnaroo are a few that have been cancelled or delayed due to COVID-19, but things will pick up again soon.
Think about Woodstock during the Vietnam War, and the freedom it gave people during that crisis. Many festivals in the modern era are going to offer that same level of catharsis for attendees, meaning festivals will be alive and well after social distancing is behind us.
#5: Streaming Will Change Concerts
Netflix is one of the first streaming platforms to offer live music to viewers. When you’re all caught up on Tiger King, you might want to check out Beyonce’s Homecoming, which had 1.1 million U.S. viewers on its premiere date, or Springsteen on Broadway, which had 130 million subscribers tune in to watch.
COVID-19 and social distancing are the perfect reasons to bring live music to your TV. This is a trend that’s likely to continue since 56% of 13 to 37-year-olds are interested in watching live-streamed concerts when they can’t attend in person.
#6: People Work in the Music Industry
Let’s look at things from the other side of the stage curtain. While we love going to concerts, there are many musicians, stage managers, sound engineers, roadies, promoters, and other people who have a career in music. Without live concerts, many of them will be out of work.
Many organizations in each state and nationwide have already started working to get artists the funds they need due to COVID-19. This includes such big names as:
Spotify is doing their part to support live music through their COVID-19 Music Relief Project. They’ll match donations made to their page to keep the music alive and well.
The Recording Academy
The Recording Academy established a $2 million COVID-19 relief fund that grants qualifying music-industry employees up to $1,000 to cover basic living expenses.
Live Nation has donated $5 million to a COVID-19 fund specifically for music professionals. This includes songwriters, composers, singers, dancers, and any other person in the industry who’s not working during the crisis.
Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group, a large music company in California, has created a multi-million dollar fund that goes toward musicians who can’t make a living during the COVID-19 quarantine.
After the pandemic slows down, you’ll have upwards of millions of people who work in music that will still need employment. Concerts are one of the biggest avenues for them to make an income.
*Disclaimer: The logos featured above are the respective property of the companies and are not licensed for commercial use.
#7: Drive-In Concerts Will Be a Thing
Drive-in concerts are already popping up all over the country! This makes it easier to practice social distancing at concerts, which means fans can still listen to their favorite bands live and share the experience with other people who love the music.
According to Billboard Magazine, country superstar Keith Urban was the first to jump on the trend, but he’s certainly not the last. The Avett Brothers, Blake Shelton, Brad Paisley, Los Lobos, and Garth Brooks are all planning on jamming on stage while you sit behind the wheel.
#8: Merch is Going to Be More Popular Than Ever
People are always going to love and support their favorite singers and artists. It’s likely that when the concerts are back on, sales at the merch tents are going to go through the roof!
Everyone’s going to be happy to be there and no longer quarantined at home. They’ll want some kind of souvenir to celebrate the occasion.
Not to mention, buying band merch like t-shirts and hats is another way you can support musicians right now during the COVID-19 crisis. Take a look at Bandcamp, a music company that helps artists sell their music. In March 2020, they earned $4.3 million from a campaign promoting their custom merch while we’re on lockdown.
Then there’s Jared Leto, actor and frontman of the band 30 Seconds to Mars. You can follow him on Twitter with #JaredLetoCinemaClub and buy exclusive merch like “May the Forced Quarantine Be With You” t-shirts. 100% of the proceeds are going to Partners in Health, a non-profit healthcare company that’s working to find treatments for COVID-19.
If that’s not proof of the power of merch, consider the fact that a few local venues have started selling custom t-shirts and custom beer koozies to help their organizations stay afloat. The Bottleneck, The Granada, and Liberty Hall in Kansas are just a few popular concert halls that are using this strategy.
Concert swag and other music merch will help raise even more funds for COVID-19 relief efforts. Who knows how many artists will donate proceeds in the future?
The music industry, like many others, has been in a state of turmoil lately due to COVID-19 and social distancing. Based on the numbers and evidence, though, it’s safe to say that’s only a temporary situation.
Music has been around for millions of years, with our ancient ancestors putting on live “concerts” with rocks and wind. There’s nothing that will stop those guitars from strumming, those singers from singing, and those horns from blowing!
Rys, D. (2018, November 15). Nielsen Releases In-Depth Statistics on Live Music Behavior: 52 Percent of Americans Attend Shows. Retrieved from, https://www.billboard.com/articles/business/8485063/nielsen-releases-in-depth-statistics-live-music-behavior-360-report
Watson, A. (2018, November 22). Live Music – Statistics & Facts. Retrieved from, https://www.statista.com/topics/3034/live-music/
Grate, R. (2017, August 15). 3 New Stats About Millennials’ Taste in Live Music. Retrieved from, https://www.eventbrite.com/blog/millennials-trends-in-music-data-ds00/
Spangler,T. (2019, May 14). Beyonce’s ‘Homecoming’ Premiere on Netflix Drew 1.1 Million U.S. Viewers Nielsen Says. Retrieved from, https://variety.com/2019/digital/news/beyonce-homecoming-netflix-ratings-1203215046/
DeLuca, D. (2018, December 11). ‘Springsteen on Broadway’ is Still Magical on Netflix. Retrieved from, https://www.inquirer.com/columnists/springsteen-on-broadway-netflix-20181211.html
Y Pulse. (2019, November 6). How Many Young Consumers Are Actually Buying Concert Tickets? Retrieved from, https://www.ypulse.com/article/2019/11/06/how-many-young-consumes-are-actually-buying-concert-tickets/
Hu, C. (2020, March 20). How Fans Can Support Artists and Music-Industry Workers During the Outbreak. Retrieved from, https://www.npr.org/2020/03/20/818539328/how-fans-can-support-artists-and-music-industry-workers-during-the-outbreak
Ingham, T. (2020, April 1). Live Nation Donates $5M to Emergency COVID-19 Fund for Concert Crews – And Could Donate Another $5M. Retrieved from, https://www.musicbusinessworldwide.com/live-nation-donates-5m-to-emergency-covid-19-fund-for-concert-crews-and-could-donate-another-5m/
BBC News. (2020, April 7). Coronavirus: Lady Gaga Raises $35m and Announces TV Concert. Retrieved from, https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-52199537
Sullivan, J. (2020, March 12). Take the Stage or Stay Home? Live Music is in Flux Over Coronavirus. Retrieved from, https://www.wbur.org/artery/2020/03/12/music-concerts-festivals-coronavirus
Domanick, A. 2020, March 24). 7 Ways to Help Musicians and the Music Industry During the Coronavirus Outbreak. Retrieved from, https://www.kcrw.com/music/articles/coronavirus-help-musicians-music-industry
Pitchfork. (2020, March 20). Coronavirus: Updated List of Tours and Festivals Canceled or Postponed Due to COVID-19. Retrieved from, https://pitchfork.com/news/coronavirus-updated-list-of-tours-and-festivals-canceled-or-postponed-due-to-covid-19/
Menapace, B. (2020, April 14). Bands and Artists Benefit COVID-19 Relief Through Exclusive ‘Stay at Home’ Merch and T-shirts. Retrieved from, https://www.promomarkit.com/article/bands-artists-benefit-covid-19-relief-exclusive-stay-home-merch-t-shirts/
Billboard Magazine. (2020, July 14). Here Are All the Drive-In Concerts Happening Due to Social Distancing. Retrieved from, https://www.billboard.com/articles/news/concerts/9379646/drive-in-concerts-list-coronavirus