COVID’s Impact on the Electronic Music Industry & Beyond

By Nicole McCray

Since COVID-19 brought events and get-togethers to a complete halt in March 2020, the electronic music industry during the pandemic has suffered one of the most severe impacts. Live performances were completely shut down, so DJs and venues who hosted music performances had to cease all means of their livelihood, costing them thousands (if not millions) of dollars. 

Musicians, DJs, and other music industry members soon began to discover new and innovative ways to keep themselves afloat. The results have brought about new ways to monetize music consumption and to allow music to continue and businesses to stay relevant.

So, what impact did the pandemic have on the music industry, particularly the electronic music realm? 

The crisis did end up accelerating underlying and new trends regarding streaming and other forms of digital media. These methods opened up new doors for musicians to find income and keep the electronic music industry alive and the dance music flowing during a rather difficult time.

EDM Took a Major Hit To Revenue

Electronic music’s decline with live performances soon saw a massive decrease in revenue. The International Music Summit released an annual review in 2021 demonstrating the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on the EDM sector, seeing a decline of 54%. That is more than half of their average profits! As a result, the industry took a devastating blow.

Much of the decline was attributed to live performances and club venues, where DJs would participate in festivals and events. Since they were all canceled or postponed, it left many musicians out of work.

Embracing Familiar Technology to Survive the Pandemic

One of the most significant benefits EDM experienced when the pandemic hit was knowledge of technology. Many DJs utilize computerized tools, hardware, and software to create and manipulate music. As a result, live, and music streaming soon became an efficient way for DJs to stay in business.

Live Concerts

Hosting live online concerts through streaming services proved to be an effective way for musicians to continue to perform. Music festivals and concerts that would have otherwise been canceled were allowed to sell tickets online and let their audience tune into a website and enjoy the show via their computer. 

Online Classes

DJs also found ways to utilize their talents to teach others. For one, DJs have created online workshops and courses that people could purchase to learn more about the dance music industry, how to become a DJ, or how to utilize various computer programs. Plus, DJs have begun offering individual lessons to beginner musicians. Each of these methods provided musicians with an effective way to still earn money.

For example, a musician who knows how to play and record piano songs would create a course for beginners. First, the artist would show them how to play the music on the piano. Then, how to record the music on the computer, and eventually, put it online and use different programs to interchange pieces of the music, improve the sound, and more. 

Music Licensing

DJs who develop and create their own original music learned that they could sell their copyrighted tracks. Then, working with a music licensing agency, musicians would upload the mastered music within the agency’s music library.

Producers, music supervisors, and other creatives utilize these libraries. Your original EDM track could be featured in an upcoming project such as a commercial, online advertisement, or film. EDM artists have the potential to develop relationships and build their network, allowing them to secure future projects and earn significant money.

Streaming Royalties

Another way to earn revenue is by streaming music. Apple Music, iTunes, and Spotify offer music artists royalties for streaming their original music for distribution to their audience. These services have millions of listeners who may discover your music within playlists. So, even though they take a significant cut of sales, you get increased exposure and visibility.

Moving Forward: Electronic Music in a Post-Pandemic Environment

Other online digital platforms are a great source of ways to distribute and gain attention with dance music, such as YouTube, Twitch, and TikTok. For example, Twitch offers support through livestreams, and YouTube pays per subscriber and watch hours. Eventually, you can even secure sponsorships from other businesses that will pay you to advertise their products and services.

A new world of possibilities opened for musicians within the electronic music industry during the pandemic, even if it hindered them from starting. Digital sources, streaming services, and online classes are just a few of the many innovations that helped keep EDM going strong so that it did not falter. 

However, it doesn’t stop there; musicians and artists are continuously finding ways to embrace technology and continue to stay relevant. So, what’s next? Live performances and venues have started opening back up, so concerts and music festivals can happen again. But the online resources will still prove worthy in the new era, with some people still hesitant to venture out. Or, those musicians who enjoy their newfound methods of continuing to bring EDM to listeners in innovative ways.

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