It’s easy to write off the entertainment industry as non-essential, but the truth is entertainment is an essential part of culture. With online workarounds and zoom calls, we can have an effective running of business, but what happens to the performers? There are only so many “spots” on the internet for entertainers, and any career prospects for live performance in the next year or so seem grim. But now that there are planned rollouts for vaccines, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. As a musician, I am waiting for this light very patiently. Until that day comes, though, where we can feel the magic of an unmodified concert in the State Farm Arena, how can we see shows right now?
Right now there are no big arena concerts going on, but small shows are still happening, and venues and musicians need support now more than ever. Patio music nights happen with socially distanced seating, and you can have your night out on the weekend safely for, usually, no cover charge but the food you eat.
But let’s look deeper into what is going on from the home side of things–currently there is no demand for big live music, managing, light, sound, and promotion jobs, among others, are virtually non-existent. Companies like LiveNation are taking big hits, and will continue to take these hits in the near future. While this side of the music industry is not in good shape, the online side seems to be very hot, with artists connecting with their audience from the comfort of their own home, exactly where their fans happen to be. An early adopter of this stream-style format is Matchbox Twenty vocalist Rob Thomas, who began playing shows from his home studio at the start of quarantine this year. Although this is not the most sustainable means of income (if it provides any revenue at all), it still keeps the buzz for music alive until we are sure it’s ok to pack 17 thousand people into a venue. Maybe there will be fatigue from only watching videos and live streams, but it will only make the thrill of a concert that much better.
Sadly, what we are forced to do is wait. With promising vaccine plans from companies like Pfizer and Moderna, there is a foreseeable end to the era we’ve all come to hate, and although it might not be tomorrow, I will still be at the show when Rob Thomas makes his leap back from home to the stage, just as I know you will when your favorite artist opens up the curtain again.