I’d like to paint you a very grim picture.
Imagine, as a direct result of the restrictions placed on the live events industry, there was no more new music.
No more opera, no more symphonies, no more blast beats coursing through your very being, no more summer one hit wonders, no more pop hits, no more love songs, no more killer rock anthems. Imagine a world, with no more new music.
Does this seem extreme? Yup. Sure does. Exaggeration is in place for a reaction. Sadly, it’s a harsh example that’s potentially closer than it seems.
Allow me to paint you a realistic picture of our current state of crisis in the live events industry and what that means for some of your favorite artists.
Without live music events, many artists will be unable to survive this crisis. I hate to break it to you, but thousands of bands and artists, as well as performers out there are unable to make a living from album and streaming sales alone. In fact, the vast majority are in this situation. It is a fact, that not all of your favorite bands or artists will be able to continue their music careers without the opportunity to play for you live. They will simply need to call it quits.
The income generated from live events are what allows many bands and artists to continue releasing new music for you, the fans. Not many are getting rich off of royalties. Playing live is where the artist gets the chance to not only come to life and play their songs for you, expressing every note, every beat, every word to you in a completely personal manner, but it also allows them to continue bringing you more of what you love.
We’ll present a real budget breakdown to you on how this works soon. I think many of you will be shocked to see what actually ends up going into the artists’ pockets and why live shows are crucial for the industry, and the musicians to survive. We will also present to you a show budget, so you can clearly see everything, everyone, and all of the time involved in bringing you that 2-hour show that brings you memories for a lifetime.
But right now, let’s keep the math out of it. I’m still painting you a picture.
Let’s not forget the venues. No events mean no way for venues to pay their rent. So, a lot of the places that you love to see these precious gigs at will not survive this disaster.
Then there are the booking agents, local promoters, t-shirt printers, and the hundreds of crew members needed to put on just one of these events.
Behind the scenes further we have backline rental companies, bus and trucking companies, management, sound and light suppliers, caterers, graphic artists, travel agencies, and in turn, hotels, airlines, restaurants, bars.
These are just a mere few of the people and businesses behind the scenes bringing you your memories.
This is a domino effect. Not a lot of these businesses, companies, locations, trades, or individuals are going to be able to recover from the harsh restrictions in place for our industry.
So… Your favorite act can no longer find justification for the costs involved to record new music for you if there are no more live events as a result of no more agents, crew, airlines, technical and practical gear and transport companies, or venues.
Are you beginning to see this picture clearer?
And music is just one example of one section of the live events industry. Imagine no more trade shows, corporate events, carnivals, theater, Broadway musicals, sporting events, dog shows… The list goes on.
Cirque Du Soleil has already filed for bankruptcy.
I know of at least 8 more companies in my circle that have had to file bankruptcy. This is their life long careers, gone, due to something completely out of our control. At least 10 of my International colleagues, who have dedicated their lives to their unique trades, and with decades of experience, have decided to call it quits and seek new jobs and professions. We are talking true professionals in the business who have dedicated so much of their lives to give you the experiences that you receive when you attend a live event.
Are you with me?
Allow me to paint you a new picture. One that even the people who don’t appreciate art will understand.
My friend Paul used this type of analogy in a recent plea for understanding. I’d like to expand on that.
Imagine you’re an architect.
You’ve always wanted to be an architect.
You’ve dreamt since you were a little kid of designing and creating beautiful buildings.
You’ve dedicated your life to studying this field. You’ve worked your way from the bottom up. Interning, taking on no pay to low paying jobs just to get your foot in the door and learn from the best. You start off in a very small company. You work your ass off to improve your architectural skills and knowledge. Eventually, other people start to notice you and ask you to come on to some of their projects. Your skills improve with each of these new projects. You learn new tricks and trades in the process making you one of the most sought-after architects in the business.
You’ve worked your whole life toward this goal. You are doing what you love, making people happy, taking pride in your work, and you are an essential part in making dreams come true for your clients and those who will benefit from your work.
Enter: Some random virus that is declared a worldwide pandemic. Let’s call it Shmovid-19.
At first, only the architecture world shuts down. They say architecture is a breeding ground for this virus. Eventually, everything else starts to shut down as well. Understandable. People don’t know how to handle this. People are scared. There are a lot of mixed messages going on, and even stronger opinions of those messages to accompany.
Slowly, as things get a bit more under control and new data is collected, things start to reopen a bit.
But not architecture. Architecture is still listed as unsafe.
The governments around the globe tell you that you, as an architect, are not viable. That you, as an architect who has invested your entire life into learning your trade, designing beautiful buildings and homes for people to enjoy and create memories in, are non-essential.
And what about all of the people involved that put your plans and blueprints to life? The contractors, builders, electricians, plumbers, designers, furniture providers, scaffolders, concrete layers, painters, window suppliers and installers, etc. The amount of people involved and affected here is a trickle-down effect beyond your comprehension.
Yup…they’re also out of work.
But the government says, there are enough buildings and housing available. We don’t need you right now and you present a serious risk to the public, while other industries open up around you that cause an equal and often times greater risk than your job as an architect would.
You remind them how much your architecture business brings into countries each year. How many hotels, arenas, museums, etc. that you build every year, that bring in revenue and tax money for the economy, and it’s in the billions.
You try to seek financial assistance from the government. But because you are an independent contractor and freelancer, you are not qualified or recognized as being eligible.
In fact, the government suggests that you should seek a career change. Maybe find something that is an “actual” profession, instead of this hobby job of architecture that you have decided to dedicate your life’s work to.
Oh, and by the way, we’re not going to help you with that part either… Anyhoo, good luck! Byeeeeeeeee!
7 months go by, and still no solution is in place for the architecture industry, or for the millions of workers worldwide that are involved in putting these projects together.
They were the first to close, they are the last to open.
Am I getting through? Does any of this make sense when I replace the word “Sound Engineer”, “Rigger”, “Tour Manager” or “Musician” with the word “Architect”? We HAVE real jobs. We have REAL careers. We are just completely prohibited from doing them. We need to find solutions. WE WANT AND NEED TO WORK!
I cannot even begin to try to convey to you the wealth of talent that is oozing from our industry. Any company, corporation, sector, project, cause and endeavor would be lucky to have us.
We are an essential part of the world. Of society. Of mental and physical health. Here’s a report from The Harvard Medical Journal on how important music is to a person’s well-being. Yeah, it was written in 2011. So what? I imagine in these times with the political, race, religious, and virus issues causing severe mental anguishes in just about everyone globally, now, more than ever, we could all use a little bit of music to soothe our weary souls. Moreover, a good old fashioned, proper live show to connect once again with each other through the one thing we can all find common ground to stand upon. Putting aside our differences for our common love of that band we’re about to scream our hearts out to.
There will be a new survey up tomorrow, Friday, 23rd, 2020 that I hope you will participate in. It’s open to everyone, even those not in the live events industry. In fact, it’s actually more geared toward you, the fan.
Feel free to share, subscribe, comment, write us, ask questions or enquire how you can be involved if you’re interested in learning more about what we’re doing.
4 thoughts on “I’d Like To Paint You A Picture”
So very well said ..
Thanks, Kevin. It feels like it can’t be stressed enough.