How The Music Industry Is Reacting To The COVID Crisis
Quarantine is surely driving everyone around the world crazy. People have been forced to cancel the events that they were once so looking forward to due to COVID-19 and many are stuck at home grasping at straws to think of ways to pass the time. Social media usage has gone up drastically due to the virus, and many musicians are taking advantage of that fact.
Social media is already an incredible way for celebrities to stay in contact with fans across the globe, and many musicians are utilizing the ease and access of social media to do just that. Fans aren’t the only ones missing live performances, and many musicians are using livestreams through platforms like Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch as a way to share music and memories with fans in an uncertain time. In this blog post, Hollywood Branded looks at how music artists use social media as a way to connect with fans - and how brands are joining in - during the COVID-19 crisis.
Social Media While Social Distancing
COVID-19 has ravaged so many aspects of our lives. From forcing many to work from home, to causing college students around the world to leave their campuses in order to move back home, everyone’s lives have been turned completely upside-down because of the pandemic.
Movie theaters, beaches, museums, and theme parks are all closed, and the things that people would normally do for fun have been cancelled. Because of this pandemic, so many people have been forced to cancel or postpone the exciting travel or event plans that they had once been so looking forward to. While concerts may be cancelled until 2021, musicians around the world are learning new ways to stay connected with fans.
COVID-19 has completely disrupted the entertainment industry. TV and movie filming have completely halted, movie theaters are closed, and concerts have been cancelled for the unforeseeable future, so pop culture fans and artists alike are all struggling. Certain cities allowed filming to start back up come June 12, but movie and TV shows still have some hurdles to jump through - like getting insurance - before they can be back up and running. Plus a thousand hoops to now jump through to safely film.
However, many health officials argue that concerts will not be safe to return to until at least 2021. Because of this uncertainty, both music fans and artists are scrambling to find new ways for musical entertainment. With social media’s ease of access, musicians from across different genres are utilizing apps like Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch to livestream mini concerts and events for fans to tune into while stuck at home.
Artists Doing Live-Streamed Concerts
Artists like Luke Combs, Conan Gray, and Erykah Badu have used Instagram Live to put on free, impromptu concerts for fans, while artists like Walk the Moon, Laura Marling, Death Cab for Cutie, and Moontower are utilizing Instagram Live and YouTube streaming to put on fun events or tutorials as a way for fans to see into different aspects of their favorite artists’ lives.
These concerts aren’t costing musicians anything (since they no longer have to travel for shows and since they don’t have to hire an extensive amount of people to put on a big show), but that also means that many artists aren’t making any money off of the live-streams, either. While this may turn off many artists (especially up-and-coming ones who can’t afford to put on free concerts, just for exposure), there are now countless ways for artists to make money when they aren’t touring.
- Some artists have chosen to stream their concerts on sites like Twitch, which require fans to pay to enter the live-stream, while other artists are utilizing merchandise sales and streaming royalties to pay the bills.
- Some artists are creating Patreon and Cameo accounts, where fans can buy access to live-streamed mini-concerts as well as never-before-seen footage, songs, or even musician lessons by the artist.
Although artists are finding a huge loss in revenue from not being able to tour or release new music, many artists are taking this time to make new music and connect with fans in a different and intimate (albeit virtual) way.
Brands Partnering With Artists
Brands have seen the opportunity to partner with musicians who are putting on live streamed concerts or “hang-outs” with other celebrities and have jumped at the chance to get involved. Whether that be through sponsoring concerts (similarly to what is typically done for concert tours) or through putting on special events in order to give fans an intimate look into their favorite musicians’ lives, brands are using this uncertain time to create once-in-a-lifetime events for fans to experience and cherish, from the comfort of their homes.
Brands like Fiat, Levi’s, and Budweiser have all sponsored their own virtual music festivals in hopes of bringing musicians, music fans, and fans of the brands together during the pandemic.
- FCA brands teamed up with Interscope records to put on a series of Facebook Live concerts filmed in the homes of some of Interscope’s clients, like X Ambassadors, Dermot Kennedy, and Ari Lennox. After the show, fans are invited to ask their favorite artists questions in hopes of bringing people all around the world together in times of strife.
- Levi’s put on their own weekly concert through Instagram live with artists such as Kali Uchis, Justine Skye, and duckwrth. The concerts, which happen once a week at 5:01 pm (a call-back to their original blue jean) hope to use the live streams to raise money for COVID-19 relief, as well as connect fans with their favorite artists.
- Budweiser hopes to incite some nostalgia in viewers with their “Budweiser Rewind” series, in which bands and artists share music as well as stories with fans on Facebook Live.
Raising Money For COVID-19 Relief
Even though many musicians have lost a big portion of their profits by not touring or releasing new music, some musicians and brands are teaming up to use their platform to raise money for COVID-19 relief for both health-care workers and those who have been directly affected by the illness.
Companies like Verizon and Global Citizen have teamed up with celebrities of all caliber to raise money for COVID relief while also entertaining the masses through music, storytelling, and games. Verizon’s “Pay it Forward Live” is a twice-weekly live-stream featuring musicians and sports stars as they put on mini concerts and stream video game tournaments. Verizon hopes to encourage viewers to shop small when possible, and for every mention on social media of #PayItForwardLIVE, Verizon will donate money to small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19. Viewers are also encouraged to donate, if they have means, to LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation), a nonprofit that works to help provide financial support to small businesses, as well. “One World: Together at Home” was a global broadcast event that was shown on NBC, ABC, and CBS, among other broadcast networks.
Global Citizen partnered with Lady Gaga to put on a world-wide event to support the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, in which it raised over $120 million for the fund. The event brought actors, comedians, politicians, and musicians together to entertain the world as they raised money for relief efforts and shared music and stories.
How Has Backing Live-Streamed Concerts Helped A Brand?
Many of the brands that have partnered with musicians to put on virtual concerts and festivals have done so in hopes of raising money for COVID-19 relief and to help those directly affected by the illness, so many companies didn’t do much in the vein of trying to sell a product. But they did succeed in creating massive positive PR.
In a study done by LiveNation, the company found that “highly engaged/attentive fans who were exposed to brands in the live music environment say they are 53% more likely to use the brand in future.” While fans may not be directly engaged with the brand while watching a live-streamed concert at home, having a positive and unique experience like an intimate live-streamed concert be connected to a brand can allow fans to add a positive connotation to the brand, which they can keep in mind when shopping. The idea may not be one that is tried and true, but partnering with a musician to put on a concert under the pretense of raising money for a good cause definitely can’t hurt.
In-person concerts may be cancelled for the time being, but with social media, music fans and musicians alike are able to stay connected with live-streamed concerts and other events. Brands partnering with musicians to put on these events are not only bringing fans and musicians together, but it also gives consumers a way to interact with brands in a new and exciting way.
COVID has disrupted so many different aspects of the entertainment industry, which has forced brands to learn how to market themselves in unique ways for the time being. Check out other blogs about marketing in the time of COVID-19 here:
- How to Use Influencers to Advertise During COVID-19
- How Influencer Houses Can Keep Creating During COVID-19
- Top Influencers Who Find Success for Brands During COVID-19
- How Consumers and Brands Behaviors Change During a Pandemic
Want to learn more about the cost of entertainment marketing? Download our entertainment marketing pricing guide to learn more about budget requirements for product placement and brand integration.