Impact of Covid 19 on music industry, with a peek of the industry in India and Europe:

The live music business is obviously in turmoil and warrants special industry-wide support in testing times. 


As the pandemic has affected virtually every industry, music industry is no different. A large list of events, gigs, music festivals has lost their cash flow and revenues due to cancellations. If you are a budding musician and is busy growing your portfolio and fan-base, in that case it can be devastating. Apart from the fact that you can experiment your music with yourself and may be sometimes through online platforms. However things can be slightly better if you have access to a very handy equipment’s at home and if you are good with technology.

What does the figures in India say?

As per IMI (Indian Music Industry) OTT services are doing well, which is a good news. Mumbai which is also considered as a city promising for musicians in terms of events, stages and platforms, live music industry has taken a great toll. In each month, about a couple of dozen electronic music artists, along with rock and jazz acts, travel through Mumbai to perform at the city’s bars and nightclubs. The country’s 300-plus large-scale music and outdoor events are held between September and April. It has already seen a huge impact on the live music industry. This has an estimated value of Rs1,280 crore (approximately $175 million), according to a 2019 report published by Deloitte and trade body the Indian Music Industry.

In terms of video streaming we are yet you have access towards the figures. Classical music industry such as Carnatic music are trying to do things on digital online platforms in order to host shows and events, however only a minority list of musicians have access to this. It is unknown that how much revenue can be generated through these initiatives by the musicians. Most people working on these initiatives are doing it voluntarily to help musicians.

Covid 19 and music industry

And what is the data from Europe?

In Europe the music industry has been severely hit, it is more dependent on live shows, huge events, music in bars and restaurants that that of India. The data shows that streaming of audio numbers was down 10% March 6th from the week prior. While streaming of video saw a spike of around 14.5% in week commencing March 13th, perhaps a change in consumer behavior. It is obvious with fewer people commuting to work and opting video streaming platforms over music.

Interestingly, during this time period, Netflix has seen its year-on-year subscriptions growth. And Amazon-owned Twitch has seen its viewership grow 31% from 33 million to 43 million (March 8th to 22nd), further highlighting these short-term changes to consumer behavior. In terms of sales figures, the picture doesn’t appear to be any better with physical album sales (-27.6%). Digital album sales (-12.4%), and digital single sales (-10.7%) all experiencing a similar slump to streaming platforms. Streaming platform Deezer also reported a slight change in its users’ listening habits, with its daily spike in listeners shifting from rush-hour (7am) to between 9am – 10am.

How shall we address it?

The live music business is obviously in turmoil and warrants special industry-wide support in testing times. But everything can’t just stop. Despite a limited number of new releases set in stone for the coming weeks, the entertainment streaming economy will be benefited. If we want our independent music scene not to be trampled by this crisis, three things. Governments must provide a safety net for the industry, ensure that the music sector comes out of this crisis stronger. They shall find a solution for the precarious status of musicians and technicians. And, make sure quickly: will we continue planning the music festivals or not?? in the coming months once the crisis is over.

Mayesh Babu