I have been talking to many festivals organizers over the past weeks. Mainly I wanted to ask if they are going to try to do them in the summer of 2021 or push them to 2022 or just close altogether. That has been the debate the whole time which bars, gig venues and festivals will survive. The other discussion is which artists will survive has not been covered much in the media but has been discussed behind the scenes activelu in the industry.
Many festivals are taking the same line-up with them from 2020 until 2021. Now of course if they move to 2022, that line-up is not that current. Even if you have the line-up from last year who knows which artists will still be active.
Ok, huge artists who have a stack of money will survive. But the middle size bands that you think are making money are at risk. Now when money is low, they are forced find other jobs with probably better payment. When things clear up in a bit there is a big chance that they have found new career paths and don’t feel stable enough to get back to the uncertain music industry again. Many of these people will be light engineers, sound engineers, and back musicians. Without those, the artist can’t tour. Of course, they can get new ones, but they need to be trained.
Another problem might be that the artist that should have been on the road in 2020 might not be able to do it in 2021. The festivals really don’t know who they can have on their line-ups. Latest gossip is that the really big festivals that need artists from all around the globe will push to 2022 since they are not sure if people will be able or allowed to fly this summer.
My guess is that many artists will abandon their careers. They have felt it’s not fun anymore and this will be the final nail in the coffin. Music is not dying though. The empty slots are replaced by new ones. We need music and there are people that also express themselves through it. I guess we will see a big change in many charts though. A massive thing with a new artist coming up.
Then you have the backside that you always get in these situations with the economy going down and people laid off. Suddenly all these that jumped on a new career years ago in another crisis are picking up their instrument again and trying to make a comeback. Right now, my email box is full of band members from the past doing new projects. The problem with them is that you know already they don’t have the stamina to be in this business, so my attention span for them is very low.
I’m on the hunt for new artists that want to take a chance, really live and breathe music and want to explore the new opportunities that will be available in the new world after the pandemic.
In these situations, you can see who really wants to be in the industry and likes to work with music. Not just saying that they do, the people that mean it. I can also say that I see the same patterns along with people that tried to get into the business but really never had the full passion. With these positions taken again, you will have new opportunities. The issue right now is to forecast who will stay on and who will fall off the train.
Editor’s Note: Peter Åstedt has been working in the music industry for over 30 years. He has started record labels, distribution systems, and publishing companies. Peter also runs several major showcase festivals and is an advisor for INES and co-founder of MusicHelp/Discover Sensation. He has worked with the Top Ten most streamed songs and had music on both the Olympics and Super Bowl. Peter has currently taken up the seat of Station Manager of Cashbox Radio, working with MD, PD and station owner, Sandy Graham. His latest venture is a new Showcase Festival in Sweden, Future Echoes scheduled for September 16-18, 2021.