If you’re like us, you’ve probably been listening to a lot of music to help fight the quarantine blues. And musicians have stepped up to the task, with livestream performances and digital album releases proliferating. But did you ever wonder how the coronavirus is affecting musicians themselves? Or live music venues?
In the streaming era, with physical album sales a fraction of what they once were, touring has become the biggest way musicians make a living. It’s why the price of a concert ticket has climbed so much in recent years.
But now, live music has ground to a halt, and who knows when we might once again be able to pack a concert hall to see a band.
On this episode, we talk about how this has complicated things for musicians themselves, who have already scrambled to adapt to a world in which streaming services like YouTube or Spotify pay them fractions of a penny per listen, and a wrinkle in the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program further complicates things. Some musicians are even moving to form a labor union to help musicians survive this crisis and beyond.
We speak with Dan McGowan, managing partner at The Crofoot Presents, which operates the music and entertainment venue in Pontiac and handles promotions for many other venues around the state. They’ve joined an organization called the National Independent Venue Association, which is lobbying Congress for help. And we also hear from Steve Nawara, a veteran of the Detroit music scene who plays in the band The Detroit Cobras.