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Without Concerts, Artists Are Turning to Ice Cream Deals and Sponsored Livestreams

As concerts and tours — which are many artists’ largest revenue stream — stay on hold, digital brand-marketing partnerships for musicians are skyrocketing, reps from several major talent agencies tell Rolling Stone. With stars staying inside, they’ve had more time to devote to partnership ideas, from for-profit brand deals to charity initiatives responding to COVID or the police killing of George Floyd.

Lady Antebellum Is Now 'Lady A.' But So Is a Blues Singer Who's Used the Name for 20 Years

Seattle blues singer Lady A had just gotten off of work on Thursday when a bombardment of phone messages from friends, fans and producers came in all shouting the same thing: Her name had been stolen. Earlier that day, Grammy-winning country trio Lady Antebellum announced they were changing their name to Lady A in light of a heightened national conversation about racism. But according to Seattle’s Lady A, neither the band nor any members of their team reached out to her before making the change.

Drive-in Concerts Are the Latest Test for Concert Promoters. But Will They Last?

For the first time since the pandemic sidelined live music in the U.S. in March, veteran DJ D-Nice finally had the chance to play an in-person live gig. D-Nice, flew out to Hallandale Beach, Florida and played a free set for first responders at the Drive-infieldFest, established after the Preakness InfieldFest in Baltimore, Maryland was canceled. But rather than perform for a sea of fans clamored shoulder to shoulder, he spun a set for a couple hundred cars spread out at the Gulfstream Park race track’s parking lot outside.

How Do You Sell Concert Tees Without Concerts? Merch Companies Are Up Against a Wall

For years, Chris Cornell — the CEO of Manhead Merch — considered his industry to be recession-proof. But when COVID-19 struck and shuttered concerts, Cornell found his company abruptly stripped 70 percent of its usual revenue stream. “Even when the economy’s in the shitter, people still go to concerts and they still buy merchandise,” he says. “I was thinking this is a bulletproof business. But this has smacked everyone in the head.”

The Week the Music Stopped

In the first week of March, the novel coronavirus was not yet a pandemic halting the entire world in its tracks, but concerts across Europe and Asia had all but ceased, a number of upcoming festivals outside the U.S. had been canceled, and nearly 100 cases of the virus had been confirmed in the U.S., including in California. Then came a rash of new reported cases and revelations that the virus had already been spreading through American communities, undetected by nearly nonexistent testing, for weeks.

Outside Lands' CEO Sees the Post-Crisis Music Industry as an Opportunity

With the live music business shuttered for an indefinite period due to the COVID-19 pandemic, industry figures are increasingly wondering if small live promoters can weather the storm. Gregg Perloff, CEO of Another Planet Entertainment — which puts on festivals like Outside Lands, presents shows at the Chase Center, and calls itself the largest independent concert promoter in the country — resents such speculation.

Coronavirus Is Giving Livestreaming the Chance to Prove Itself

It’s taken some time — and the unfortunate circumstance of a pandemic — but concert livestreaming could finally be having its moment. Amid major festival cancellations and hundreds of tours and concerts getting the chopping block due to COVID-19, artists and their teams are scrambling for new ways forward; and because waiting isn’t much of an option for those who need the income or can’t afford to cancel, the fledgling livestreaming industry is finding itself in the spotlight.
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