The coronavirus is forcing venues around the world to close. That means many concerts and live tours have been cancelled or postponed.
The South By Southwest music conference has been cancelled too. Of course, in these dire times, it is depressing for anyone to read the daily news.
However, for a musician, it can become frightening at least. Many musicians earn the biggest part of their income from live touring.
In this case, it is not hard to imagine the loss of income many musicians have to face. By all means, I’m not here to take away anything from this severity.
Certainly, I have a lot of work cancelled too. However, as a digital consultant, I can also identify actions that you can do as a musician to make the best out of this situation.
Surely, they won’t compensate for what is going on. Nevertheless, I believe that taking action is always better than experiencing a situation form a passive point of view.
If you had a tour planned or you were working hard on a new album, making sudden switched to your workflow and schedule can be uncomfortable.
And that is ok. As a musician, you are not an entertainment machine. What is more, a lot of touring musicians say that playing live is giving them so much more than just a solid income.
The connection with the fans is something special for anyone. However, if you can’t tour right now due to the spread of the coronavirus than you have to start thinking outside the box.
Yungblud started his own virtual show in replacement of the cancelled concerts due to the coronavirus
The British singer Yungblud simply started his own show. In fact, called ‘The Yungblud Show’. Explicitly as a replacement for missed live shows.
“I woke up one morning after my shows were cancelled and was like, ‘You know what? Fuck this.’ I need to feel that connection and noise, that energy. There’s gonna be no literal noise from the audience, but there’s gonna be noise online. You’ll be able to comment on the livestream. I’m gonna be playing songs, gonna bring some of my friends out, do some skits, and do a late-night show — like a rock and roll version of fuckin’ Jimmy Kimmel. Try to give people a bit of positivity, laughter, and emotion.” (Yungblud)
The classical music world also took to streaming as a relief measure for the coronavirus
At the ‘Staatsoper’ in Berlin, an opera performance of Bizet’s Carmen was broadcast by the local RBB channel. For one thing, it shows the agility of even the oldest cultural places.
“During the performance, we could see that people had tuned in from around the world, about 160,000 in total, which is a staggering figure for us, and made us realise how important culture is in a time of crisis and ‘Corona-depression’.”*source: Matthias Schulz, the director of the Staatsoper
Pianist Igor Levit started to play house concerts online to cheer people up – no matter of coronavirus
German-Russian pianist Igor Levit took up playing house concerts online as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Significantly, more than 58,000 thousand Twitter followers listened to the amazing performance.
What digital steps can you take as a DIY musician despite the coronavirus pandemic?
Those examples were pretty amazing, right? Don’t worry, I can hear your complaints.
Most musicians are not on the level of a Yungblud to simply start a live show online. As well as they aren’t as equipt as the ‘Staatsoper’ in Berlin to go and broadcast your entire performance.
Here’s the deal: You can take relative easy digital steps in times of mass tour cancellations and coronavirus-angst.
Here are 10 digital actions you can take as a musician
1. Live stream your gig via social media:
Take to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and co. in order to live stream your gig. You don’t need fancy tech for this. Most mobile phones should be fine to be fair. Make sure to let your fans know beforehand and take time to answer all comments after the show.
2. Create fun content for your social media channels:
Everyone is hungry for great content in times like these. A lot of ideas can be done without expensive tech. Take your mobile phone and shoot videos of you practising, talking about your favourite albums/musicians of all times, cook your best tour food for your fans at home, cite uplifting poems, explain some of your best-known lyrics, make a tour of your practice room, give instrument tutorials for your fans, show how to play along to your hits, do a Q&A session,… the list could go on and on! Make sure to share them on all channels. You can also dedicate different series to different channels depending on the ‘mood’ of the social media channel. For examples, on YouTube, you could share more in-depth video content. Then over on IGTV, you make a series of funny videos. And so on.
3. Set up a challenge with your fans:
Take a poll on Instagram and ask your fans what challenge you should do. Maybe offer them three options that are not too different to accomplish but fun to watch. Then go ahead and do that (of course make sure to film yourself). Take a moment and answer all of the comments. This will give the fans a real feeling of connection with you. On the other hand, you’ll get a better insight into your fans!
4. Practise, practise, practise:
This advice is not precisely digital. However, digital software and tech can help you get better at practising. Record every practising session. I know, it’s painful to listen back to your own voice or play. At the same time, it can get you really far. Now is the moment to really dig yourself in and practise as you’ve never done before.
5. Write a new song every day and record it:
In these digital days we live in, you don’t need a recording studio anymore to get high-quality recordings. Set up your gear, make a point and record one song a day. It doesn’t have to be perfect at all. Just the habit and routine will work wonders. Perhaps you’ll feel comfortable enough to release them as kind of recording journals documenting what you are going through at this testing times.
6. Set up a Patreon account:
With a Patreon account, you can give out special content to your fans. What is more, you can handout special merch and more to fans who support you via Patreon. You can interact with your fans directly and give them the feeling to be real close to you.
7. Take time to do an in-depth target audience research and data analytics:
There are many tasks that get lost in the shuffle of hectic tour life. Target audience research and data analytics are one of them. Even if you are an old hand that has been around a while. It is always worth to dive into a target audience research from time to time. That way you can identify new fan groups and picture ways to connect better with existing ones.
8. Optimize your YouTube channel:
You’ve probably read a thousand blog posts and articles on how to optimize your YouTube channel. Be honest, how many of those tips have you really implemented? Go ahead and optimize your YouTube channel to your heart’s content.
9. Take a second and safe your Metadata!:
Metadata is one of those topics that curls peoples toenails. Nobody really wants to deal with it. However, the longer you leave the problem, the harder it gets to solve it. Make sure to take a moment and go through your metadata. Are all song names correct? Are all products labelled in the right way? And most importantly, are all composers and songwriters accounted in the right way? If you have never really dealt with Metadata before, now is a good moment to start Metadata Management.
10. Update your website:
If you can’t talk to your fans on concerts you have to make sure that your web-portfolio is as on point as you can get it. Updating your website to the best digital specs is a great way to connect with fans. Through solid SEO you’ll make it easier for them to find you. Updating technology makes spending time on your site fun. And a solidly working webshop can earn you real money right now. Updating the plugins on a WordPress powered website also is a safety-measurement.
Perhaps, in the end, All You Need Is Love and some chill documentaries in times of coronavirus
Maybe you simply can’t be productive right now. As well as the severe cabin fever you could have. Fear not!
Important to realize, here are chill music documentaries that will take off your mind.
Furthermore, if nothing else helps, then there are still The Beatles! Coupled with a massive sing-along, your mood can’t do anything else than brighten. Afterwards, you can treat yourself and watch The Beatles Movies.
The spread of the coronavirus is a state of emergency that the world and the especially the music industry hasn’t seen in a while. Without a doubt, drastic measurements are needed to contain the virus as much as possible.
Let us not lose hope despite the hardships that may come. Uniquely, stay creative and use the digital space/internet as much as possible and to your favour!
If you have any questions concerning digital work and how you can improve digitally, do not hesitate to contact me. As a matter of fact, I would be more than happy to help anyone in need.