The Great Resignation and Modern Musicians
“The average person spends almost 13 years and two months of their lifetime working” (Belli,2018). In July of 2021, 4 million Americans quit their jobs, and millions followed in the course of the year, leading to “The Great Resignation.” The Covid-19 pandemic has led to unprecedented change and redefined how people work. The pandemic has created turmoil for workers worldwide; it has also shown that individuals can work exceedingly well from home with lesser supervision and increased flexibility.
The pandemic proved to be highly disruptive to those musicians who relied on live music as their primary source of income within the music industry. Moreover, in the initial phases of the pandemic, with lockdown restrictions in place – rehearsing, touring, and performing was seemingly impossible. Several music institutions, teachers, and musicians have started online services. While studio-based jobs remained unchanged, creatives have embraced the online platforms to write, produce and collaborate.
New Revenue Strategies
One music industry area that has boomed during the pandemic age is music education. There is an overabundance of music courses taught by industry professionals on all kinds of platforms ranging from full-fledged university degrees to shorter courses on websites like Udemy. Many musicians have also taught private lessons through video conferencing applications such as Zoom and Skype. Subscription-based service – Patreon has also emerged as an educational outlet with artists sharing project files and breakdown videos of their productions.
Performing musicians have also adapted to working at home by offering their services as remote session musicians. Online mixing and mastering services have become increasingly accessible. Websites like engineers, sound better, Fiverr, etc., have curated platforms that facilitate a seamless freelancing experience for session musicians, songwriters, engineers, and producers.
The pandemic also saw an increasing trend in musicians who started streaming on Twitch, Youtube, and Instagram. The producer/beat-making community saw an unprecedented rise in top industry professionals live streaming their creative process. This resulted in a newfound fanbase and opportunities for brand marketing, contests, and giveaways.
A notable outcome during this time was the VERZUZ show created by producers Timbaland and Swizz Beats. VERZUZ is a live-streamed webcast that pits two artists in a musical battle. With superstars competing against each other, VERZUZ has become highly popular, with some episodes garnering over a million views.
Online concerts were another highlight of musicians moving digital. Streamed concerts helped keep several artists afloat while maintaining a high level of fan interaction. Companies like RedPillVR have innovated this space by providing customers with customized virtual environments for streamed concerts using VR technology. Mandolin, another purpose-built streaming platform, has paved the way for VIP streaming and virtual meet and greet events.
Audio Streaming and Merchandise
Streaming services such as Spotify have been a consistent income source for musicians, albeit the nominal payouts for independent artists. Live shows and post-show merchandise sales have always been an integral aspect of artist revenue. Many artists have doubled down on selling their merchandise online in true digital fashion. With the rise of NFT technology, big-name artists like Deadmau5, Grimes, and others have sold different collectibles (music, short videos, animations) as NFTs for very lucrative deals.
The pandemic has forced musicians and artists to navigate digital waters to keep their businesses alive and kicking. For many, it has been a stop-gap approach as covid subsides and music jobs return to a state of normalcy. For others, digital experiences that have flourished in the pandemic have become part of the artist experience. As a result of the pandemic and the great resignation, artists have shifted to a hybrid approach of generating income, and virtual businesses are a welcome addition to creating online revenue.
1)Belli, G. (2018) Here’s How Many Years You’ll Spend at Work in Your Lifetime,[Online], Available at:<https://www.payscale.com/career-advice/heres-how-many-years-youll-spend-work-in-your-lifetime/>