State of Alert
The eyes of the world have all turned to the alert of the “covid-19” virus known popularly as the Coronavirus. News channels and all known forms of public media around the globe have been monitoring the outbreak and spread of the disease that has cost thousands of lives. Important industries and markets like Tourism, Cruise Ships, Airlines, and Professional Sports have had their fare impact by fear of the spread of the Coronavirus, and the Live Music Industry has also been hit.
Even though we see news and updates every single minute, it is still hard to understand the full extent of the outbreak, and we cannot avoid thinking how much media is genuinely helping or causing even more public stir.
Audiences of all kinds are now being affected: in Italy, soccer matches have been postponed, concerts and festivals have been canceled, and in China, there are cities still on full lockdown with closed venues until the government’s notice.
Canceled shows, festivals, tours, not only affect the audiences, but it also affects the promoters, sponsors, artists, and agents that have worked hard to create and present these shows. One important question arises by the fear of Coronavirus spread in these public spectacles:
- Should promoters return the customers’ money if public and cultural activities are canceled by local governments?
- (Can this be considered “Force Majeure”?)
“Force Majeure”: unforeseeable circumstances that prevent someone from fulfilling a contract.
Companies and all the players involved in the production and planning of these shows are now trying to understand the legal requirements, rights, and obligations that a cancellation or delay will incur by a possible Coronavirus spread threat.
Even though it would help to have a specific answer to the previous questions, each canceled or delayed show has to be inspected on a case-by-case basis. Local policies and the pre-negotiated contracts will determine the future of each case. Hopefully, we can use these times to look further into contracts, better define terms, and learn from this scenario to find legal resources to protect the artistic and creative interests, as well as the audiences’.
Music is Endlessly Adaptive
The music industry is adaptive by nature, and the decades of history and technological changes have proven it. There have been big mistakes, but also great achievements and ingenious ways to keep up music and entertainment available for the people that want it and need it.
In this case, the reaction to the Coronavirus by the live music industry has been fascinating. Even though live streaming is not a completely new feature in our lives, and it is already a tool used by many creatives in online content and e-sports professionals, live-streaming is keeping concerts and shows alive. But what is so different now?
The fact that streaming is the only way to currently attend (and perform) shows in cities in China, can cause an accelerated shift to establishing important online markets through this broadcasting medium. Even though online-streamed shows are not new, we have to understand that previously, these live-streamed shows were conceived by a new “trend” in demand or technology, but now they are being streamed by necessity.
According to an article by Hyperallergic, “…China’s musicians and musicheads are making the best of an unexpected situation by organizing ‘bedroom music festivals’ and live-streamed club nights.”
Although this new alternative will not replace the physical live music show, because of the necessity that we are facing today, streamed concerts might finally develop as a strong market. Promoters and clubs might even start charging tickets like Pay-Per-View, or the new DAZN for boxing that also offers subscriptions. Also, this might be the right push that VR needs to enter mainstream markets. When necessity strikes, the music finds its way to go around and thrive!