How Has Lockdown Affected the Music Industry

Nobody could’ve expected the world to be turned upside down when we first started hearing about some mysterious flu-like virus from Wuhan, China. But it eventually turned out to be one of the biggest black swan events in modern human history.

Many industries have been affected, but few like the music industry. Events had to be shut down while others had to be rethought to deal with new realities. We can also expect this event to leave a mark on the industry even after the restrictions have been lifted. Let’s take a look at a few ways the lockdown affected the music industry.

Physical Sales vs Streaming

While physical sales have been dwindling for years and physical stores were on the path to extinction, the pandemic could be the final nail in the coffin. Physical sales still represented about 25% of all music revenue but have been down by a third. Streaming has also suffered during this period with sales dropping by about 11%.

The lockdown did not increase interest in things like online gambling like many predicted, but more are using their mobile devices to listen to music. More people are also using home applications on smart devices and their television. Music subscription revenue is on the rise as well. While there was a small dip at the beginning of the pandemic, streaming services have seen a year-on-year increase of 70% since the first quarter of 2020.

Distribution Channels

The shutdowns have affected release dates across the board. Artists were understandably reluctant to release music that they might not be able to perform. We’re now seeing a few notable artists making a comeback, but most of the industry is still at a standstill.

Large-scale festivals and concerts also had to be put to a halt, which cut the industry’s revenue by more than 50%. And we can’t expect things to magically go back to normal after the safety measures. The industry will need to rebuild trust, and many people will have completely changed their life habits once measures are lifted.

More Emphasis on Artist/Fan Interaction

Another very interesting thing happened during this pandemic. Performers started paying more attention to their fans, and more are trying to give them unique experiences. The industry is also trying to find ways to work around capacity limits. Artists can do both by limiting the number of people in attendance while creating tiered areas with more expensive seats to make up for low attendance.

The Sound

Strangely, the sound of music has also greatly changed during this period. Some of the subject matter we’ve been accustomed to over the last few years is less likely to resonate in the current climate, and we can expect alternative artists with a social conscience to start getting more attention.

These are all ways the music industry has been transformed by the pandemic. While we can expect some things to go back to where they used to, some of these changes will be permanent and change the way we make and listen to music forever.

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