Graphic by Khala Clarke; Photo courtesy of Canva
As the Coronavirus continues to spread across the globe, it has turned many people's lives upside down and has changed the way we live. Whether you’re working from home or you are an essential worker you see the change within the work force and how the world is going in a direction we’ve never seen before. Like the rest of the world COVID-19 has had an impact on the music industry as well.
Back in March when the first wave of COVID-19 hit, many restrictions and limitations were put in place to ensure there would not be large social gatherings. These limitations and restrictions prompted many businesses and institutions to close as well as events being canceled. This had a large effect on the music industry as tours, concerts and other live events were canceled.
For many artists and other people within the music industry they suffered many losses financially and were forced to take different measures in order to keep as well as capture their audiences attention.
A Representative from 90K Records, a record label based out of PASADENA, CA shared their view on the impact COVID-19 has had “the music industry change tremendously because of the coronavirus. Everyone has to adapt to doing things virtually and since live shows are not allowed right now, all artists have is to put out music. Not touring or being able to do promo [took] a super toll [on artists].”
With the pandemic it became obvious that many artists didn’t exactly know how to move forward with new projects, usually in the spring we would see artists dropping new albums and putting on shows around the world but because of COVID-19 the ‘norm’ was no longer an option.
During the spring we saw a wave of artists who were hesitant to put out new projects as they would tease fans with a single or snippets of songs they had under their sleeve.
Bris Ratchford also known as BR2CRAZE a rapper based out of Los Angeles, CA explained his initial reaction when it came to the pandemic and the restriction that came with it.
“I would say, at first I was worried. I was unsure how the year would turn out for music. I originally did not plan to release any music because of the state of the pandemic there were no live shows and everything was shut down,” BR2CRAZE said.
Although the pandemic may have been hard, it didn't stop artists from getting creative and finding new ways to reach their audiences. Many artists began to take advantage of their social media platforms.
Arts & Entertainment editor of The State Hornet at Sacramento State, Nijzel Dotson, mentioned how he was able to observe the way artists as well as the music industry made changes during such different times. Dotson explained how the pandemic has made artists adjust not only to how they’re producing their music but how they can get it out to their audience.
“I think the change is forcing artists to become even more creative because now it's not just about making the music but finding ways to roll it out when everything in the world just feels so stale.” Dotson said.
For upcoming artists who rely on having an audience and performing to grow their brand as well as engage their audience, the pandemic has put them at a disadvantage.
“For newer artists it's probably more crippling than established artists. For instance, platforms like the Verzuz Series that Timbaland and Swizz Beats started have been able to flourish and allow millions to celebrate Black legacy artists, which is an amazing thing. Unfortunately, there's just not something like that available to new artists,” Dotson said.
Some new artists didn’t let not having large platforms and struggling to find ways to showcase their work stop them from putting out music or performing. Many artists began doing performances and showcasing their work via streaming platforms like Youtube Live, Instagram live and others.
Photo Courtesy of Twitter, BR2CRAZE performing at the Umoji Festival in Leimert Park, CA
BR2CRAZE explained how the pandemic ended up not being something that hindered his career but it actually helped him. He mentioned how he began putting out music because his new projects were too good to not be heard and even though performing virtually was something he had to get used to he feels that it’s prepared him for future performances.
“All in all I’d have to say the pandemic was the best thing that happened to my music career,” said BR2CRAZE.
Author: Khala Clarke