It has been about one year since our lives were forced to change around a pandemic. In addition to staying healthy, people, businesses, companies and organizations have all had to evolve in order to survive financially.

The music industry is one industry that has changed dramatically. How would an industry reliant upon public concerts and festivals survive with COVID-19 being so prevalent?

In this era of streaming music, it is no secret how little artists get purely from their music alone. For instance, Spotify reported in January of 2019 that their artists would receive between $0.00331 and $0.00437 per stream. 

After some quick calculations, one million streams on a song equates to about $3,000. 

Considering the money spent on each individual song (buying a beat, paying for a studio session with a producer, paying for a feature, etc.), this will likely lead to a very little profit margin, if there is one at all. 

The real reason musicians and artists can potentially make a fortune are live shows and festivals. Depending on the artist popularity and the event, an artist can break millions in a single night of a tour. It is not financially sound to release new music, outside of pure passion. 

However, new music comes out every Friday, so what has changed? There isn’t one universal answer, but there have been many different solutions found by artists. 

One interesting method was a streamed tour show. This provided the opportunity to experience a live show to people who normally may not have enough money for concert tickets while allowing the artist to reap the financial benefits of streaming through sponsorships and advertisements.

Another method artists have done is to expand their merchandise department. Most artists already sold merchandise before COVID-19, but many have expanded this beyond just a T-shirt or a hoodie. 

Freddie Gibbs released an entire comic book that featured him and his music producer partner, Alchemist, that could be purchased in promotion for his album, “Alfredo”. 

Then, he released a whole other merchandise line themed around the comic book, alongside his regular merchandise line. 

Many other artists have done more unorthodox merchandise products to help boost profit. 

As of the last couple of months, some artists have been able to carefully conduct smaller venue shows (some that even social distance) and have been able to do so in certain cities or areas that allow for it. 

Hopefully, we’ll see the effects of the vaccine in the next few months and truly see another live show again.

These have been trying times for all of us with some forced to rearrange their business dealings in order to stay afloat, and some having to find new ways to make ends meet. 

The music industry is one that was definitely hit hard, but just like the rest of us, have been forced to adapt and overcome. These next few months may prove to be some of the craziest yet, but just as we altered to survive the pandemic, we can reshape again. 

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