COVID-19: Why artists and fans should get ready for change

What do you do when you’re a music site that focuses deeply on live music when there’s no live music to enjoy? That’s the struggle faced by us at the Sound Doctrine but it’s been felt more acutely by the artists themselves.

Artists, and the whole world around them – producers, promoters, venues, sound engineers – have had their worlds turned upside down because of the global COVID-19 pandemic. This wasn’t your average virus that disappeared as quickly as it went and became a distant memory. It has instead come along and stolen money from people’s pockets, taken away opportunities to mix with other music fans, and caused a huge amount of stress and anxiety at the same time.

But with 2020 in the rear view mirror, we should all get ready for things to be different – and drastically so.

The S.O. Homecoming gig was the last event we attended before the pandemic hit

2020 started off with a lot of optimism. The start of a new decade. We created our Ones to Watch for the year as usual and started off with an incredible live event – the S.O. homecoming in London. Little did we know that things would change so much after that.

The S.O. concert took place in February. By that point, we were already hearing about a virus that was taking hold in China – but that was the other side of the world. Things only started to hit home when the virus arrived on our shores and put the UK in lockdown a few weeks later.

Disarray

We had tickets for the A Star album launch party on 13th March. The virus was already in the UK and although the event still event ahead, we felt uneasy about attending. And indeed the UK went lockdown a week and a half later. What followed was unprecedented. No live music, no parties – no anything, really. Except Netflix, there was a lot of that. At first, artists were even conflicted about whether they should release music at all in this season.

Many artists changed their plans and pushed back release dates. Many used the time to double down on their creative efforts because it was an outlet they needed for their own catharsis, as well as for the encouragement of others. Indeed as we wrote in an article for AStepFWD, it was a time for many triumphs, especially in the UK. But there was also a deep sense of anxiety, disappointment and just longing for a new chapter that begins post-COVID.

We can’t wait until we can attend live events again

Next step

With COVID having been with us for so long, it’s difficult to envision life afterwards, but it will come. Vaccines are being administered. The might of the entire global medical research community is coming together and they’re reporting success in the battle to defeat the virus. And so if we do indeed see the back of the pandemic this year, we have to get ready now for a new world.

A new world? Yes. News flash, we will not be returning to anything close to ‘normal’. We learned some lessons during 2020 that we’ll apply in everything we do going forwards. We’ve done things differently and in many cases been successful. We’re in 2021 with these insights.

  • Pressure creates diamonds – The situations haven’t been ideal but some people have used lockdown to get into the ‘studio’ and create things. Some of the things they’ve created has been different and needed for the season. Going forwards, artists will continue to be resourceful and should be ready to shift, pivot and grow as creatives and people.
  • Together, virtually – Even if people haven’t been able to meet up, they’ve still been able to collaborate digitally. Although this technology has been around for ages, it’s now causing everyone to rethink the way they make music. Maybe, they’ll be more international collabs in the future
  • Support the artists – So many have turned to music during the pandemic to help them get through the tough times we’ve having. It is a reminder of how important it is that artists are enabled to create music. Consider supporting causes such as the Play It FWD initiative to keep the music playing.
  • Get ready to gather – Remember the good times we left behind and the events we’ll be able to attend again soon. If you took live music for granted before, the end of restrictions will definitely remind you of why live events are such a vital part of enjoying music. The music still lives on and so will the excitement when we’re able to get together again. When that day comes, dive in head first.

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