Arts & Entertainment

Hard-hit music industry, 1 of the most generous sectors during pandemic

By Alicia Civita

Miami, USA, Mar 31 (efe-epa).- Although the music industry has been one of the hardest hit by the restrictions imposed to stem the coronavirus pandemic, it is proving one of the most generous, with the creation of funding to support the sector, concerts on social media networks and large donations to fight COVID-19.

Stephen Brooks, who after more than a decade in the industry created the online channel Latido Music, inspired by the early days of MTV, told EFE he had never felt so “proud” to be part of the global music family.

He said artists and businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic but have still have shown a generosity that honors the art.

While the entertainment sector is almost on par with tourism in terms of immediate losses caused by the coronavirus outbreak, music has not received the initial benefits that audiovisual productions or video games are seeing.

Figures given by ratings companies such as Nielsen and Billboard reveal that while the audiences of television and streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu have nearly tripled, and online gaming participation has risen by 75 percent, online music consumption levels have remained stable. Brooks said they have even dropped.

Nevertheless, musicians were the first to use social media networks to offer the public an escape from social isolation.

The biggest broadcast of this kind took place in Spain last weekend, with concerts held by artists from their homes under the umbrella of LaLiga, which groups the main teams in Spanish football.

In England, Chris Martin and James Blunt started performing in the second week of March, joining dozens of European orchestras that gave their suspended concerts over the internet.

On Sunday, the American television network Fox had its highest audience level in recent times with a concert staged by Elton John and iHeart radio, which was contributed to by artists such as Camila Cabello and her boyfriend Shawn Mendes, Mariah Carey and Billie Eilish, and raised $8 million from the event.

Similar initiatives have taken place in other countries.

Colombian singer-songwriter Camilo believes that these initiatives originated from the essence of musicians.

“Deep down, it’s a unique (project),” said the performer of “Favorite” and “Tutu,” adding that “most of us who make music know what it’s like to earn every applause. We are also a community that is becoming more and more supportive. I’m not surprised that we jumped at this first.”

Rihanna announced last week that she has donated $5 million through her Clara Lionel Foundation to support food banks in communities at risk of exclusion and to purchase tests and materials to care for the sick in Haiti and Malawi, as well as funds to be used for the purchase of protective equipment for health workers and the acceleration of vaccine research, among other things, the artist said in a statement.

Lady Gaga also announced that a portion of the proceeds from her cosmetics store, Haus Labs, will go to local food banks in Los Angeles and New York, while Justin Timberlake gave an unspecified amount to the Mid-South Food Bank in his hometown, Memphis.

The goal of the donations is to help families with fewer resources to survive the pandemic.

Others who have stepped up to help are the BTS band members, who donated $164,000 to fight the pandemic in their native South Korea.

Streaming platforms have also opened their bank accounts and are creating funding to help workers in the industry, who are mostly self-employed.

Specifically, Spotify donated $10 million and has launched an initiative to match the donations made by its listeners. EFE-EPA


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