• Mina Johnson

quarantine concerts: the artists livestreaming during COVID-19

The music industry is historically adapting, thanks to quarantine measures— here's how you can help sustain your favorite indie artists.

In the first few weeks of March, college students across the United States were forced to return home. People were told to practice social distancing and to only leave home for essentials amid the COVID-19 breakout. At the same time, dozens of artists were forced to cancel or postpone tours, including Billie Eilish, Dayglow, and even The Rolling Stones. Some major festivals including Coachella and SXSW have been moved to later dates to protect festival-goers from potential infection. Many of the artists who have had to push their tour dates back are losing hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in order to protect their fans from coronavirus. In the meantime, while we’re all stuck at home, how have artists been sharing the music that they put so much of their heart and soul into?

During their time social distancing and quarantining at home, many musicians have been live streaming on Instagram Live, Twitch, and YouTube to perform concerts for their fans to enjoy. Coldplay frontman Chris Martin seems to be the creator of this trend, having live-streamed a concert from the band’s Instagram, taking track requests from fans; John Legend followed suit, tweeting, “My friend Chris Martin did a lovely little concert from home today. I'll be doing one tomorrow at 1 pm Pacific time. See you soon. We'll try to get through this together! #TogetherAtHome”. Classical cellist Yo-Yo Ma and indie artist The Japanese House joined the trend as well, live-streaming shows from their living rooms.

While this trend started as Instagram live streams of at-home concerts, it has been heightened by iHeartRadio, who put on a “living room concert” in an effort to raise money for food banks and first responders helping to fight the pandemic. The live-streamed event was held on March 29th on FOX, during the time slot of the iHeartRadio Music Awards, which were postponed due to the ongoing pandemic. British pop legend Sir Elton John hosted the event, which featured performances by Alicia Keys, The Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl, Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell, and even an appearance from Lady Gaga, who reminded viewers to “find time to be kind to yourself” and “to do whatever you can to maintain your mental health.” According to the New York Daily News, the hour-long event is said to have raised over a million dollars, including a five hundred thousand dollar donation from Proctor and Gamble. Many artists have plans to continue this trend through quarantine, including Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie, who will be doing daily live-streams on YouTube and Facebook.

While many big names in music have moved to live-stream concerts to entertain fans due to the cancellation of tours and concerts, many up-and-coming independent artists are out of work, making close to no revenue. So, during this time at home, consider doing some of the following to support your favorite artists that may be going through financial hardships.

1. Download music instead of streaming. Many of us are paying between $4.99 and $9.99 a month for Spotify or Apple Music, but during this time, consider downloading your favorite artist’s music on Bandcamp, iTunes, or from their website directly as opposed to listening to a streaming platform. While the ninety-four cents an artist makes from your $9.99 album download might not seem like much, it’s much more than the $0.00074 they make off of a Spotify stream. But, if you would rather have physical proof of your purchase, you can always purchase a CD or vinyl record on the artist’s website.

2. If paying for a few albums isn’t plausible for you right now, don’t worry. You can also support your favorite artists by buying some merchandise. Not only are you helping them out, you’re getting a piece of clothing that you can wear over and over again.

3. If you’re not the type that wants to get anything in return for spending money, many artists that are struggling during this time have shared their Venmo, Cashapp, and PayPal usernames for fans to donate. During quarantine, if you’re able to donate to an artist whose music you love, you may be making it so that they’re able to continue making music to keep them afloat while they’re out of work.

It’s hard to be away from friends and family at this time, but with the help of music and live-stream concerts, we can make it through. Remember to practice social distancing, support small artists and businesses, and stay safe.

Mina Johnson is a student at Drexel University studying Music Industry.



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