Should Music’s Biggest Companies Be Doing More to Help Right Now?
Days after the cascade of music-tour suspensions in the U.S. due to the coronavirus crisis, Bandcamp, an online music and merch shop, announced it would waive its revenue cut for a day to support the artists using the platform. Bandcamp’s CEO Ethan Diamond revealed Monday that fans spent $4.3 million on that day — kicking up 15 times the site’s usual amount of activity — with fans “at the peak, buying 11 items per second.”
As the live music industry has slid to a halt over the past few weeks due to the ongoing pandemic, an entire ecosystem of impromptu concert livestreams, online tip donations, and artist-relief programs has emerged, practically overnight, to try to stem the bleeding for independent artists who are suddenly deprived of their primary source of income for the foreseeable future. DJ music platform Mixcloud, like Bandcamp, announced it would be waving its revenue share on its Mixcloud SELECT platform for three months; SoundCloud and Songtradr took similar voluntary financial hits to help artists. But during the initial days of the live-events shutdown, the players with the most cash stayed mostly on the sidelines.
This week, the largest corporations in music — from streaming platforms like Spotify and Tidal to major labels like Warner Music Group and Universal to tech behemoths like Facebook — finally announced corporate initiatives aimed to help support artists and creators in the coming months. Spotify, Amazon, YouTube, Facebook, SiriusXM/Pandora, and others announced a joint donation to the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund, the Recording Academy’s ...
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