As lockdowns slowly begin to ease, and the light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel gets brighter, the sheer impact of the pandemic is becoming increasingly evident. Strict government restrictions have resulted in record job losses and business closures, seeing entire industries reach the brink of collapse – including music and the arts.
We spoke to Poppy Reid, the Managing Editor of Rolling Stone Magazine on the most recent episode of It’s Been A Day For… about how COVID-19 has impacted the music industry, what the future of music might look like, and how we can keep supporting local bands and businesses through these challenging times. LISTEN BELOW:
“I think the music industry has been hit incredibly hard,” Reid said. “Just from a publishing perspective at BRAG Media…we actually lost $1 million in the first three days of it hitting.”
Reid acknowledged that while the big music conglomerates will likely survive the economic impact of the pandemic, music fans and their favourite artists have been left high and dry. More than anything, she takes issue with the lack of government support the music industry has received.
“Early this year, we had the bushfire crisis and then flooding – Australia had a terrible run. The music industry was really there to support them. The entertainment industry as a whole raised tens of millions of dollars for the firies,” she said. “Then, when it came our turn, we’re in a crisis now and we need a government bailout, they gave us $27 million for the arts, and $10 million of that went to Support Act, the music industry charity.”
It might sound like a lot of money, but Reid said, “putting into perspective how little that is, in 2018, the live music sector contributed $2.2 billion in ticket sales to the Australian economy.”
In terms of how the music industry has adapted to the fallout of COVID-19, Reid said things like socially-distanced and drive-in live shows are a start, but platforms like TikTok have had a significant impact on music streams. Quoting social media personality Gary Vaynerchuk, Reid said, “a viral challenge using a snippet of a song will outperform a $400 million media campaign.”
During our chat with Reid, we also spoke about the importance of diversity in the industry, inspiring women working in music, fan culture, and why launching a music publication amidst the pandemic is actually fulfilling a growing need for authentic and tangible content.
In terms of how we can support the live music industry as lockdowns are still lifting, Reid said, “if there’s a concert coming up, buy the ticket now…and get on the merch train.”
Poppy’s passion for the music industry and supporting all the amazing and talented people who are part of it is inspiring to say the least. Together we can support them as we continue the long road out of these unprecedented times.