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How Can Local Musicians Adapt to the New Normal?

This article was originally posted on Medium

When reported cases of the coronavirus grew in St. Louis and a Shelter-in-place order followed, attending concerts became a dangerous activity since the COVID-19 can spread within six-feet of being airborne. This makes concert venues almost impossible to attend during social distancing. Causing a huge financial hit to both local concert venues and musicians.

In these unknowns waters, at a time where the majority of money is being made through touring or sync licensing, we are seeing a shift in how the industry is scrambling to adapt or die. The Music Industry Research Association Survey of Musicians notes that the most common source of income for musicians is live performances a study reported. How can local artists and musicians adapt to this new normal?

Live Stream Shows

Live streaming shows through various social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram is an engaging way to integrate music into an online community. Nielsen reported that Americans are already spending almost 12 hours each day with media, and that time could grow by 60% among those who stay indoors. MIDIA cited there could be up to 15% potentially more time in consumers’ day to listen to music. With live content on in demand, this means there’s a captive audience with more time on their hands looking to consume content.


Merchandising has a better sale margin than just streaming music alone. In 2019, the average Spotify artist made an average of $0.00348 per stream. Often, buying products directly from an artist can get money in their pockets quickly, which could be essential for musicians currently in financial strife. Buying records and merchandise from an artist directly is one of the best ways to help them financially. For musicians, investing time and money into merchandising, like shirts, buttons, and album art at different price points is a critical way to push sales.

Digital content and Social Media as a Tool

During this time, musicians are isolated. They are reinventing themselves as content mavens. Musicians need to optimize how they post content and make sure they utilizing all the tools that social platforms have to offer. There are free functions on Hootsuite to schedule posts on multiple platforms. Often, the $5 to boost a post on Facebook is all it takes for content to be successful. Bandsintown has an email platform to update followers on news and releases. Musicians taking advantage of these automated tools will have a creative advantage to the content they are producing.

Support other local artists

At the end of the day, one of the easiest ways to support independent and local musicians is through sharing their music on social media and with friends. Collaborating with local artists and musicians can increase impressions but also builds a stronger community. Even changing personal listening habits can also affect a positive change right now. Actively seeking out local music and underground artists can help generate fanbases for musicians currently struggling.

If there’s one thing the music industry has been good at, it’s been adapting to the times (from Vinyl, Cassette, CD, to MP3 and beyond). Every aspect of the music industry is more open than ever to reinvent the business model with every week that goes by where artists can’t tour and engage in real life.

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