Americans are starting to take coronavirus very seriously as the country attempts to avoid Italy's fate of near nationwide shutdown. This is making huge ripples in the entertainment industry, dependent on mass gatherings of people where they view… entertainment.
This week, North America's two largest concert promoters Live Nation and AEG have canceled all large-scale tours in the U.S. and abroad, reports Rolling Stone. They've asked all their artists currently abroad to come home. The companies released a joint statement with the country's largest booking agencies, including Creative Artists Agency (CAA), William Morris Endeavor (WME), Paradigm, and United Talent Agency (UTA). A source tells Rolling Stone that companies hope to resume touring by April (Live Nation has a number of big tours kicking off in May, including the Rolling Stones, Robert Plant and Justin Bieber).
"The world's leading forces in live entertainment have come together to form a global task force to drive strategic support and unified direction ensuring precautionary efforts and ongoing protocol are in the best interest of artists, fans, staff, and the global community," reads the joint statement. "At this time, we collectively recommend large scale events through the end of March be postponed. We continue to support that small-scale events follow guidance set by their local government officials. We feel fortunate to have the flexibility to reschedule concerts, festivals, and live events as needed, and look forward to connecting fans with all their favorite artists and live entertainment soon."
Live Nation tours affected include Billie Eilish, Cher, Kiss, Zac Brown Band, Jason Aldean, Tool, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Chris Stapleton, Morrissey, Thundercat and Third Eye Blind.
The announcement comes after Governor Andrew Cuomo officially banned gatherings larger than 500 people today in New York. Plenty of venues are taking matters into their own hands. Berlin's Berghain has canceled events until April 20, while San Francisco's Chase Center has cleared their schedule till March 21. Washington D.C.'s music scene is nearly entirely closed down: the Anthem, U Street Music Hall, 9:30 Club and Lincoln Theatre have suspended programming till April. In New York City, Carnegie Hall and the Shed have both canceled the months programming.
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Festivals are also dropping one by one. SXSW was the first to go after headliners, tech companies and venues dropped off. Now, the World Bushfire Relief Concert in Melbourne, Ultra Music Festival, Idaho's Treefort Music Fest, Lake Tahoe's Altus Music Festival, Tennessee's Big Ears Festival, Tribeca Film Festival have all been canceled as well. Coachella and Stagecoach will be moved to fall dates.
Plenty of artists have been announcing postponements to their tours individually. The Strokes, BTS, Pearl Jam, Billy Joel, Dan + Shay, Madonna, Carlos Santana, Green Day, My Chemical Romance, The Who, Iggy Pop, Action Brown, Wilco and Maluma have all canceled dates, mostly in New York City, Los Angeles, Seattle, Japan, Korea, Italy and the UK.
In a post-Spotify world, when nearly all artists pay their bills by touring, the coronavirus scare is taking a serious hit on indie artists. While big budget artists will be able to weather the storm, that's not necessarily the case for smaller fish, so now is a good time to pick up your fave's latest album or merch. That's right. Purchase an album. Bikini Kill, Jay Som, Blood Orange and Pussy Riot have all called off dates as well. Singer-songwriter Torres' aka Mackenzie Scott put out a plea yesterday on Twitter and Patreon, asking for donations to bring her band home from Europe before the travel ban set in, and explaining she's "losing every penny [she] made on tour booking emergency flights for [her] band."
"hi, I'm really not sure if I will have a job (touring, playing music) until COVID-19 gets sorted so please buy my merch," wrote indie singer songwriter Vagabon aka Laetitia Tamko on Twitter. "And do the same for all the artists you love."
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