Music Industry Trends In The New Norm


How Covid-19 ImpacTed the Recording Industry


Since Covid-19 was declared a Pandemic in March of 2020 by the World Health Organization, many things have changed in day-to-day life, not only in the music business but all businesses across the country and the world. There’s no denying that the music business was greatly affected in a negative way by this pandemic, however, some of the industry saw an upswing. If you are interested in unpacking and understanding the new trends in the music industry, read on.

With the Covid-19 Pandemic, the live performance industry was shut down, It’s estimated that due to a six-month shutdown, the live industry has lost over 10 billion dollars in potential revenue through sponsorships. As the delays prolonged, the losses continue. 

The industry has also seen massive reductions in advertisement spending across the industry as a whole. According to Billboard, the industry overall has seen a decrease of 45% in the total advertising spent throughout the first half of 2020. Most of the current music business model revolves around touring as the main income stream for the music business. 

The global music business is worth roughly $50 billion dollars. The two largest income streams adding to this are live performances and recorded music.

Effects on Audio Engineers 

With the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, there is no doubt the live entertainment industry took a hit, however, not all areas of the music industry were affected in a negative way. 

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, artists have not been able to tour as they normally would, booking large festivals and filling areas. Because of this many artists, large and small have taken this year to write new material and release it. With no shows on the books, artists have had an entire year to create. 

With many artists writing and producing more songs than ever, audio engineers have been busier than ever. Many of my peers who are audio engineers around the Nashville area have had one of their busiest years since they’ve entered the business. 

Musicians from all over are flocking to recording studios of all calibers to record the music they have created since the live entertainment shutdown began. Because of this engineers, session musicians, assistant engineers, interns and everyone else involved in the recording process have seen a steady increase in work. 

It’s rare that any touring artist has this amount of time to put into their craft and simply create, it’s no surprise that so many artists have used this time to further their careers by creating new material. 

Covid-19 pushed artists and musicians to find new ways to collaborate. Just like Zoom becoming one of the leading video conferencing tools to take over the education industry, songwriters relied on this technology to write with others while stay-at-home orders were held in place. 

The positive adaptation of this new service as a new norm, Zoom allowed writers to not only collaborate with individuals they’ve been writing with their entire careers but also branch out and write with others. Digital writing sessions and writing camps have become more and more common as the months go on. 

As artists are looking to put together their new body of work, distanced writing camps and sessions allowed writers on the other side of the country to work directly with the artist in the studio.

Engaging with Fans 

Due to Covid-19, mass gatherings have come to a screeching halt. Because of this, artists and management companies have needed to get creative. Prior to the pandemic virtual concerts were something you never heard of. Today, it seems there’s a new live stream festival or show announced every day. 

Virtual concerts allowed the artist to play their music to their fans while recouping some of the money they lost to the live entertainment shut down. With the increase in demand for virtual concerts, numerous new companies emerged just around Nashville providing jobs to individuals that didn’t exist previously. 

Although I think it’s safe to say we would all prefer to be back in person at concerts, these virtual concerts do bring joy and entertainment too many while helping artists get through this tough time. 

This past summer, BTS the world-famous K-Pop group held the world’s largest paid online concert and drew a total of 756,000 viewers. There’s no doubt that these online shows are providing entertainment to the masses, it’s just not delivered in the way we’re used to. Many artists turn to social media and streaming services such as Youtube, Twitch, Instagram Live, and Facebook to engage with their 

Streaming Numbers Continue to Rise

Physical sales of musical material have been decreasing for years now. The majority of revenue brought in from the music itself is definitely due to streaming numbers. At the beginning of the pandemic physical sales dropped by 33% again, however, the music industry saw a massive increase in the number of subscriptions opened by new users. 

According to the World Economic Forum, online music subscription revenues increased by 70% at the beginning of 2020. Since fans were not able to consume music organically at the concerts of their favorite artist, many of them chose to open streaming accounts for the very first time. 

Through some of the largest economic hardships, united states citizens have turned to at-home entertainment as a way to pass the time. Over the last twelve months, screen time throughout the average household has increased to an average of six and a half hours a day or a total of 31%. 

You may ask what this has to do with the music business. Well, every movie, TV show, documentary, and musical is using music from someone. The songs placed in visual media are done through licensing and sync. 

With the extreme increase in revenue, titles and, and screen time streaming companies and movie studios are seeing due to Covid-19, they’re able to pay more for songs to be placed in their motion pictures. With the staggering numbers of new titles to reach video streaming platforms the sheer number of licensing and synch deals is only projected to increase. 

If you’re a songwriter or musical artist, now is one of the best times to look into having your music placed in a show, movie, or documentary. 

Over the past year, there’s no doubting the negative effects Covid has had on the entertainment industry. However, this year has provided artists new ways to get discovered and engage with their fans. 

I hope this shows what you can currently do as an artist to recoup some of the funds lost through actively touring. With 2021 being a new year, I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before we can once again enjoy live music on the main stage seeing our favorite artist. 

Remember why you got into the music industry and spend this time doing what you do best. It’s also a good idea to take this time to learn a new skill that could help your career in the long run. If live-streaming is something you’ve never done before, read about it, watch some videos and see how easy it can be to perform at a virtual concert. 

Music industry trends are always changing and you never know when these new skills will come in handy down the road!

Tie It All Together

If you are interested in an audio engineering or music business career, Dark Horse Institute’s Audio Engineering or Music Business Programs are a great way to take things to the next level!

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