If you have already sorted, or have plans to, attend any festivals coronavirus might just cancel those plans.
Coronavirus doesn’t discriminate, all fields are at risk. The music industry is, of course, a global field meaning the obvious, lots of travel internationally. But it’s also an industry that relies a lot on in person interactions. That combination is the perfect breeding ground for coronavirus to spread. In response to this, a number of things have started happening. Artists have begun cancelling shows, labels are putting their offices in lockdown, and businesses in the industry are also taking precautions ahead of potential closures and staff self quarantining.
The music industry is unlikely to get into the position that Milan is currently in with complete quarantine status for the 16 million residents. But that’s not to say that it is not equally in a state of uncertainty at the moment. One of the big things up in the air at the moment are a lot of festivals. Festivals are a sure fire source of generous income for a lot of artists but also the machine behind them as well as festivals themselves. But with the concerns over travel for international artists as well as attendees, the status of whether certain festivals happening is hanging in a very fine balance at the moment.
Coachella and SXSW (South By South West) are two of the biggest festivals that have already announced that they won’t be going ahead over concerns over the coronavirus. But beyond this, here is just a short list of names of artists that have had to cancel either entire legs of their tours or performances: Stormzy, Smino, BTS, Mariah Carey, and the list goes on. Don’t be surprised to see this list lengthen over the next few weeks and months unless there is a significant breakthrough in the treatment of the virus.
As mentioned, this is having an effect on revenue within the industry across the board. Live Nation, the company primarily known for international concert and festival promotion but that also owns several venues and has its own artist management division, has seen its stock take a 25% dive last week. But it’s not just the big well-known artists and music companies losing out, the ones who are likely taking the biggest hits are independent artists, promoters, and companies.
With streams of income often being planned long in advance and with significant investments made, independents have the most to lose. If they don’t hit ticket sales targets they will have to account for that lost revenue. If significant numbers of artists drop out of festivals that could lead to line up changes that entitle customers full refunds. Where established companies will still feel the effects of this, they have various income streams alongside having cash and past revenue to fall back on where independents might not be so fortunate. Cancelling shows and festivals for independents could have long term effects, at worst some events may lose so much from coronavirus that they have to shut down for good.
We, of course, hope for a breakthrough to come in terms of a cure for the coronavirus, we all want to enjoy this summer. But in the meantime make sure you are taking adequate precautions to stay healthy. Hopefully, by the time summer hits its stride, this virus won’t be such an issue, but at the moment I’d hold off making any plans until we get a bit more information on how to proceed.