COLUMN: Music industry needs support after impact of COVID-19


Ryan Meyer

Ryan Meyer, Columnist

The impact of COVID-19 has stretched far beyond our imagination at this point, but its effect on the music industry has forced musicians to adapt, particularly smaller artists.

Canceled tours were the most immediate impact, which is a significant loss of revenue for both artists and venues. I noticed artists turning to different methods like podcasts or livestream concerts in attempts to make up for the tours they could no longer go on.

I’ve personally attended a livestream concert, performed by Brooklyn band Hypoluxo, and as someone who consumes a lot of studio sets on YouTube, it felt more like a video than a livestream, but I still appreciated being able to hear new music played in a slightly different fashion than what appears on the familiarity of an album.

KEXP and NPR’s concert series seemed to thrive the past few years, with KEXP developing a “Live on KEXP at Home” series where bands and artists were able to play the same set they would have in their KEXP slot, but from a location that likely required less travel for them.

NPR’s popular Tiny Desk series did something similar, which included the band shame performing from a living room, which turned out to be one of the best videos I’ve seen come out of the Tiny Desk series, remote or otherwise.

Concerts and tour planning have since returned, but were once again derailed due to the spread of the Omicron variant. I was able to see Real Estate in Bloomington in November and it played out as a normal concert, possibly one of the last I’ll see until the end of the school year, seeing as to how it seems like every band I like is starting their tours in the midst of finals week. The only differences between concerts I’ve been to in the past and this one were masks and having proof of vaccination, neither of which were as big of hassles as many have made them out to be.

I’m speaking, of course, of Eric Clapton, whose horrendous takes about COVID-19 have given me all the more reason to avoid checking out his tired brand of rock-and-roll. Also, I’m rocking with Neil Young, who demanded his music be taken down from Spotify because of Joe Rogan’s spread of vaccine disinformation. Maybe I’ll start listening to more of Young’s music.

The effects can even be traced to a hyperlocal level, as seen in the adaptations of events Doudna had to do during the 2020-21 school year that were played outside or livestreamed to YouTube.

I think the best way to support artists and bands you appreciate is to continue to stream their music, and if you’re into collecting CDs or vinyl, consider purchasing your preferred medium. Merchandise is another way artists make money, which just makes it another way to support them in a time where they definitely need it.

Ryan Meyer is a senior journalism major. He can be reached at [email protected] or 581-2812.