How the Music Industry is Sustaining Its Vibrance During Isolation

Isabel Smith, Staff Writer

As it always is when artists cannot perform for their fans, 2020 has proven a trying time for the music industry as the COVID-19 pandemic cancels mass gatherings across the globe. Highly anticipated global tours such as BTS’s “Map of the Soul” Tour, Billie Elish’s “Where Do We Go?” Tour, Taylor Swift’s “Lover” Fest, and My Chemical Romance’s reintroduction into the music scene have been canceled indefinitely and make-up dates are a shaky question for the distant future. Music videos and variety shows are no longer permitted to shoot and album release dates have been pushed back, but even with these massive disturbances, the music industry is far from dead. Its apparent savior? The internet.

Musicians these days have the added advantage of social media and the internet to distribute their songs, post content, and interact with their fans on a more consistent scale. Modern artists are both musicians as well as social influencers, and many of them have been using it to their advantage as government regulations worldwide have stopped them from producing new content and seeing their fans face to face. 

One of these ways has been virtual concerts such as the “One World: Together At Home Global Special,” which was promoted by Global Citizen as well as the World Health Organization (WHO) and included a star-studded list of performers like Alicia Keys, Celine Dion, Elton John, Camilla Cabello, Lizzo, and many, many others. Another notable virtual extravaganza was James Corden’s “Late Late Show HomeFest,” which the TV show host manned from his own basement. Not to mention, BTS’s “BangBangCon,” which livestreamed the group’s old concerts going back to 2014, spanned two days, streamed for a total of 24 hours, and managed to capture a viewing audience of 50 million fans worldwide.

Another blessing the Internet has granted the music industry is the digital consumption of songs and albums. Due to the existence of streaming platforms like Spotify, YouTube, and Apple Music, albums are still being sold, music videos are still being watched, and songs are still being released. In addition, apps like Instagram and Twitter have been providing artists with much needed social exposure as well as a remote way to engage with their fans. For example, recently pop artist Alec Benjamin released a song entitled “Six Feet Apart,” which he specifically wrote about the act of social distancing and now has nearly three million plays on Spotify.

Without the global connectedness achievable via our Wi-Fi signals, artists would be unable to publish new songs, provide virtual performances, or keep their more emphatic followers engaged with new updates. Overall, the Internet is going a long way to keep the music–and entertainment industry as a whole–alive and well. When this pandemic meets its end, it is certain that both artists and fans will emerge from their self-imposed isolations not with lost enthusiasm and indifference, but instead with renewed passion and an eagerness to support each other with concerts and public appearances galore.