Corona Virus and Creative Musicians

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      Rory StuartRory Stuart

      Some thoughts on Corona Virus pandemic and creative musicians:
      I think many are underestimating the impact of the pandemic on creative musicians. Creative music is not like the fields where supply/demand is temporally altered but balances out in the end. For fields like that, toilet paper sales are a model: everything balances out through time (TP sales increase right now, decrease at some point in the future, but total sales over time remain the same). Wedding musicians may find themselves in a similar situation: weddings are postponed but, at some point post-pandemic, those people have the weddings, so the immediate decrease in work is balanced by a future increase.

      Creative musicians are in a different boat: there are not going to be twice as many club gigs, festivals, and concerts in the future to make up for the cancelled performances now. Also, depending on the length and severity of the pandemic, some venues may go out of business so that, even in the future, there could be fewer opportunities. For the musicians, ourselves, many of the currently-described financial actions by the government — reduction in payroll tax, 2-weeks paid sick leave — are not helpful at all.

      I’m already hearing about things scheduled in August that are being cancelled. If you consider the range of severities forecast (I’ll omit the US President’s “Only 15 cases, soon 5, then none”), from several weeks to a year and a half and 1+ million deaths, that underestimates the scope of the issue for creative musicians. We need to schedule and plan for things many months in advance. Even in the best case (a stunningly short and minimallly destructive pandemic – and this is looking less and less likely), there will be many more months of work disruption and loss than there are months of pandemic.

      How will creative musicians sustain themselves through an extended period in which income dries up? And in a period when even temporarily taking on a non-musical job will be much more difficult than usual?

      Please share your thoughts!

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