Musicians struggle, but music plays on

By Ryan Winters, Staff Writer

As the quarantine began in March 2020, the world was put on halt, and that unfortunately meant live music was gone for the time being. All of a sudden musicians didn’t know what they were going to do as tours were cancelled and production ceased. Music stopped completely and the magic was gone. But then as time went on and the world went forward, we started to use music more and more. We used it as a coping mechanism, as a light in the dark and most importantly we used it to bring us together again.

Time passed slowly through 2020 and this is when music started picking back up slowly. Musicians started to release albums over the summer as they slowly made progress while staying at home. Many artists did what they could with the limited resources, but it wasn’t until the later part of 2020 that they finally got it figured out.

Past the halfway point of 2020 is where artists truly we’re able to make it work. Many musicians held virtual concerts as a form of relief, where everyone could join from their phones in the comfort of their own homes. This is where musicians finally had a slight return to form and it worked miracles for them.

One local music fanatic Jared Bysiek, enjoyed the virtual performances. “It was a very relieving and exciting thing to hear that musicians and performers were starting to do livestream performances as the pandemic began and carried on,” Bysiek said. “It’s relieving because you know that musicians are doing what they can to stay strong, creative, and engaged in their work; and it’s exciting because who doesn’t like seeing a band or performer they love from the comfort of their own home?”

With bands like The Ataris, a long running rock band performing acoustic sets back during the summer, this leads to the idea that there’s no telling who can come back.

Slowly musicians started getting back together once the testing had become widespread and effective. This allowed for unified performances, cutting the sound problems in half. Once these groups started performing again, that’s when the album format finally started to come back after months of a drought.

An article posted by The Guardian explained how the industry was affected, but how this website called Bandcamp allowed for the artists to get paid in full for their music. Bysiek talked about how the pandemic has changed the industry. “Music has taken a heavy hit during the pandemic. It’s an entertainment medium that relies on interacting with fans and performing for people in person to keep its momentum going. One silver lining to it all is that creative energy has been booming with musicians. They’re releasing things left and right, and ensuring that this medium and passion isn’t going anywhere.”

With these musicians coming together or the ones that were reckless, some musicians unfortunately got Covid in the process. One of those people was none other than Kanye West, who explained in a statement on Billboard: “Chills, shaking in the bed, taking hot showers, looking at videos telling me what I’m supposed to do to get over it,” West explained.

This led to many musicians reverting back to the early stages of quarantine for good reason. All of this caused the inevitable delay of not only life going back to normal, but also shows going back to normal.

Bysiek grieved missing pre-Covid shows. “ I had only gone to a few shows prior to the pandemic, but they were a great experience and I want to go to many, many more,” he said. “It’s nice to be able to up front support the artist you love, and concerts are just such a fun experience regardless.”

This also leads to merch sales dropping. Another thing that most people don’t consider about the pandemic is that, for many things, production is down. Many stores that sell merchandise now take longer to get orders out and ready, and they aren’t able to produce things in the quantity they normally could. “So it’ll be nice to see something like that pick back up as well,” Bysiek said.

At the end of the day, music is far away from normal, but as albums like Hayley Williams’ “Flowers for Vases” or Taylor Swift’s “Evermore” keep proving, music is still very much alive and well. As life continues, there’s no telling what could happen, but thanks to music, there will always be something to keep us afloat.