COVID-19 Impact On Suspended Concerts
(And When They Will Return)
All major concerts have been suspended until April with timelines likely to be extended. The University of Washington School of Medicine modeled the COVID-19 projections for each state with New York and California, being the most hard hit states, providing interesting outlooks for the country. According to the study, New York’s peak deaths per day occurs on April 8th slowing to about zero on May 5th while California’s peak occurs on April 25th slowing to about zero on July 7th. While it is unclear when the government will give the go-ahead for large gatherings, these projections could suggest that concerts will resume sometime in the fall this year.
$2 Trillion Stimulus Package Impact On Music Industry
On March 27, President Trump signed the historic $2 trillion stimulus CARES Act to help combat the COVID-19 virus on the U.S. economy. This stimulus package has significant impacts on the music and entertainment industry. The package allows for self-employed musicians, song-writers, and music support crew earning less than $100,000 a year to apply for relief grants and loans. This will allow them to weather the loss of income from not performing and potentially allow them to hone their craft with this empty time. These grants are extremely important for people who lost income due to cancellation of live shows and do not qualify for unemployment benefits. Music advocacy groups also worked to make sure that “self-employed, sole proprietors, and independent contractors” were covered by the clauses of the stimulus. Hopefully, with this stimulus package and when live events can be held, artists, song-writers, and crew will all be ready for the show to go on.
Digital Music Streaming Down But Music Video Streams Up
According to Music Business Worldwide, streaming platforms saw an 8.8% week on week decrease from March 13- March 19 while music video streams increased by 1.3%. This follows a general behavioral trend as consumers seem to be trading off audio streaming for video on-demand content. However, decreases in overall streaming does not mean less money for musicians. As mentioned by Mark Savage, BBC music reporter, “Streaming royalties are calculated from a fixed percentage of the total subscriber income – so even if fewer songs get played, the pot of money remains the same.” Additionally, there is a petition to triple the streaming payout to musicians during this time period, increasing the overall size of this pot. Therefore, streaming revenues are still protected during the Coronavirus and artists that can find the edge and gain more listeners will secure a larger percentage of the streaming revenue pot.
Katy Perry and Led Zeppelin
Both Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” and Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” copyright infringement lawsuit decisions were recently overturned in their favor. The Copyright Act of 1976 says a songwriter committed copyright infringement if the following two pillars are broken:
1. Access (did the songwriter listen to the infringed composition prior to creating the composition)
2. Substantial similarity (does the composition sound like the infringed composition).
In both cases, the judge ruled that there was not enough evidence that either song violated these two requirements, marking the end to these multi-year lawsuits.
- Creators may have more of a leg to stand on if accused of copyright infringement
- Smaller creators potentially may be more discouraged to file copyright infringement lawsuits against larger label artists
LiveNation, StubHub, iHeartMedia (and anyone currently touring)
LiveNation, the American events promoter and venue operator owning subsidiaries such as Ticketmaster and House of Blues, similar platforms like StubHub and iHeartMedia, and touring musicians naturally have significantly been impacted by the COVID-19 virus. On March 12, LiveNation suspended all concert tours until April with this likely being extended (as referenced in market trends above). Although 85% of LiveNation’s previous annual revenues came within the last three quarters, not having live concerts return until fall at the earliest will significantly impact LiveNation and touring artists’ revenues.
- Touring artists will not be able to rely on touring revenues for 2020
- Artists must rely on alternative revenue sources such as streaming and merchandise sales
Marie Miller’s sophomore album, “Little Dreams” premiered on March 27th. The overall album has so far been well received. Here are some noteworthy highlights:
- ”Imaginary Friends” has reached over 750,000 plays on Apple Music, becoming her all time most streamed song on Apple Music
- Marie Miller’s monthly listeners on Spotify have increased by 50% since the offering completed
- She has had multiple press placements including Billboard and The Boot
Listen to “Little Dreams” here.
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