Covid-19 and the Music Industry

Renowned pianist/composer/musical director Billy Stritch recently posted a listing of the many ways that the musical community has been adversely affected by the ongoing Covid-19 virus pandemic. Since the Arts are not a politically sexy topic to discuss on mass media, we have been largely forgotten. Over 12,000,000 people work in entertainment production—not an insignificant group. This industry survives by shared live experiences which needs to attract audiences at near capacity attendance levels. Therefore, by definition, we will be among the last industries to resume in any “normal” fashion.

I have added to Billy Stritch’s list (shown below) and done some minor editing. Please share this post with others.

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic:

*The New York Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the New York City Ballet Orchestra, and productions at the Vivian Beaumont Theater have recently announced their closures until September 2021. These represent the main performing venues at Lincoln Center, NYC. This is reflective of most well-established performing venues and ensembles throughout the U.S.

*Broadway has announced that it will remain closed until June 2021.

*Cirque du Soleil went bankrupt and cut over 3500 jobs.

*Feld Entertainment has permanently fired 90% of their workforce—Disney On Ice, Monster Jam, Barnum & Bailey Circus, Sesame Street Live, etc.

*Live Nation and other concert promoters have laid off a majority of their employees.

*Talent agencies who plan & book concerts, appearances, and festivals worldwide have reportedly laid off over half their employees.

*Cruise boat artists remain unemployed while that industry remains closed.

*Amusement park productions have begun to reopen on a limited basis but only a small percentage of staff has been hired.

*There are no concerts, festivals, or tours scheduled until 2021 and if they don’t perform next year, many are likely to go bankrupt & may never happen again. No Jazz Festivals, no Coachella, no Bonnaroo, no EDC, no Glastonbury, no tours, no ballet, no opera…. it’s all gone.

*It is predicted that 90% of independent music rooms could close if the virus continues.

*Artistic and musical organizations of all kinds—choirs, theaters, orchestras, dance companies, jazz ensembles—as well as music shops and repair technicians are all trying to find alternative ways to succeed in working.

*K—12 students and college music majors will likely have lost as much as 1.5 years of performing experiences due to school closings and virtual classes.

*Music education majors will have been denied as much as 1.5 years of live student teaching experiences. They cannot be replicated via virtual means.

*Many of the most experienced music educators have opted for retirement. Additionally, a number of music programs have had their budgets slashed or seen them eliminated entirely as part of cost-cutting measures.

*And most important of all, we have lost so many artists, patrons of the Arts, and audience members among the more than 240,000 Americans who have died.

So when you see your entertainment friends begging you to wear masks and stay home, please understand that we are helplessly watching our industry collapse before our eyes because not enough people care about taking the necessary means to reduce the spread. This is personal–everyone’s career is pending. Our livelihood depends on social solidarity and we will not accept being labeled “non-essentials.” Music & Arts are necessary for a happy and balanced society. PLEASE wear your mask on your mouth AND nose, wash your hands frequently, and social distance.