What are musicians doing to survive the pandemic?

Bringing in cash in the music business isn’t as simple as negotiating a deal with your record label or uploading your content to a streaming site and trusting that your check will come untouched. The contracts’ structure is quite complex, with many intermediaries who take some cut of the artist’s revenue.

Streaming services like Spotify have become overcrowded, so unless you get the lion’s share of the streams, they do not count for much. Merchandise sells bring in more money than streams, but for less famous artists, they don’t earn them much either. The biggest cash cow is touring.

For comparison, Drake, the most prominent artist right now, made $24 million last year from streaming while earning $85 million from his Summer Sixteen tour with Future.

While touring is next to impossible and studio sessions have been canceled, how can artists make money and keep their fans entertained?

Drive-in concerts

Drive-in shows are the latest invention that has circumvented live shows’ cancellation and re-imagined the live music experience while complying with all official safety guidelines.

Concert-goers can stand in their vehicles, allocated individual private spaces, or bring out fold-out chairs to sit within those spaces. These car gigs have been tried in Germany, the US, and Denmark, and many more are scheduled to come to a stadium or parking lot near you soon.

Live streaming

Musicians like Chris Martin from Coldplay, Lizzo, John Legend took to the internet to host virtual concerts for their fans. Setting up virtual stages in their living rooms, garages, or studios, the musicians broadcasted on Instagram and Youtube platforms.

While some artists performed a few songs, The Dropkick Murphys live-streamed their entire set, which was to be performed on St. Patrick’s Day. Some also took that opportunity to answer their fans’ questions concerning their music, support their fans, and tell them to stay safe. All the performances ended with well wishes and words of concern to their fans.

One group has taken it to the next level. BTS, the Korean boy band, organized a live festival in April dubbed Bang Bang Con, which allowed fans to watch high-quality videos from past shows.

The event was a huge success prompting the band’s management Big Hit Entertainment to organize another event, Bang Bang Con: The Live, which aired on June 13th. This time around, fans had buy tickets to attend the show.

According to Big Hit Entertainment statistics, the concert sold about 756,000 tickets with viewers from 107 countries. BTS set the record for the most viewed paid for a virtual concert. It was equivalent to fifteen 50,000 seat sold-out shows. Big Hit Entertainment made close to $20 million from the show.

Selling services

Musicians who are also skilled producers, sound engineers, or songwriters have turned to freelance sites to offer their services at a fee. Sondbetter is one of the most popular marketplaces for finding professionals in the field of music. If you want to sell your skills, Soundbetter is a great place to start.


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