Wow! COVID-19 is something else! My good Bostonian friend, Prince DavO, screamed over the phone, “Omordi, my man, let’s face the truth, coronavirus is something you don’t wanna wish even on your enemy.” I totally agree with him. It’s not only deadly COVID-19 is very devastative and invasive. It intrudes uninvited and permeates all communities and industry. There’s no nation, no trade, no community, no person and no industry that has not directly or directly felt the monstrous effects of COVID-19. The music industry was not spared.
Given my interest in the music industry, in 2019 I incorporated Mogul Music and Megastar Entertainment Ltd, with the hope of engaging in showbiz and talent hunting by promoting musical tours and performances in the year 2020. So much hope for all of humanity that 2020 hitherto holds for the global community given so many forecasts and predictions that it was going to be a year of a lot of many breakthroughs for people, including freelance and career professionals, corporations, governments and their institutions.
Though innovative business leaders and proactive investors often factor in uncertainties and usual unforeseen turbulence in the global marketplace, little or nothing was mentioned of a global pandemic such as the COVID monster and the tsunami it was about to wreck on planet earth especially in 2020. My Mogul Music ltd and the little equipment we procured consequently now packed up and parked in the garage of our home as the deadly storm that coronavirus unleashed began destroying lives and shutting down businesses, even as national and international institutions started the epochal lockdown as a containment strategy against further spread of the pandemic.
Talking about the devastating impact of the pandemic, Austin Brown in the December 11, 2020 Los Angeles Times article captioned “The Year the Music Died,” reported Megan James, the popular Canadian-born actress based in Los Angeles, California, as saying, “Everyone feels like the ground was just taken from beneath them.” Just as the US’ Hollywood felt the pandemic and its tsunami like an earthquake, Nigeria’s Nollywood and India’s Bollywood among others were not exempt from the devastating social and economic impacts of COVID-19.
Musical tours and showbiz concerts had to obey the COVID’s obnoxious decree of running into hiding or face the deadly consequences of crowded gathering, dodging tight face masking, and ignoring social distancing which are not quite cool and comfortable for showbiz promoters, artistes, their fans, spectators, and the dancers in theaters or concert arenas. Even as ordinary as a face mask is, we know it’s not stuff that makes a good business look great. Sometimes, face masking makes one appear strange and sometimes unrecognizable.
Just as their faces are not looking great so their bank accounts are no longer fatty and glittering as they used to be. Los Angeles Times’ Austin Brown reports Megan James as affirming that “Everyone has their own degrees of despair,” revealing, “The bulk of our income will be deeply cut for a long time to come. I didn’t imagine last year I’d be thinking about leaving L.A. But where do we go?” Megan James is not alone in her experience. It’s a global painful experience from one industry to another not leaving the music and sports entertainment industries behind.
The music industry is one that largely thrives when crowd gathers; and the more the crowd the merrier the show and the more cash flow for the artistes and the promoters. But the COVID-19 restrictions with the zoom house parties, tele-meetings and gatherings will not help matters even in the short run. I simply pray and hope that as we strictly mask our faces, observe social distancing and take the anti-covid vaccines, this monster will soon be defeated and life returns to normal so that the music industry returns to its full blast once again.
By Chukwudi Chuck Eke
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher,
Word Bank International Magazine online