The global music community was heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic this year. With the nightlife scene essentially shut down, DJs turned to live...
Jazzy Jeff wears a Genre BNDR face mask. (Source: Genre BNDR)
Recently, the rapidly-spreading Coronavirus has begun to impact the global music community. The cancellation of Austin, TX’s SXSW festival, Miami’s Ultra Music Festival, Red Bull 3Style’s World Championships, and France’s Tomorrowland Winter are likely only the beginning. DJcity spoke with a few notable DJs to find out how they are handling these cancellations and contemplating their next steps.
Four Color Zack:
“I’m fully expecting [the rash of cancellations] to trickle down to other kinds of gatherings and venues. [It’s] probably just a matter of time,” says Four Color Zack, a former Red Bull 3Style World Champion who was expecting to head to Moscow for the Red Bull 3Style world championships. Zack also notes that he had a recent tour of China canceled because of the coronavirus, and adds, “it would have gotten canceled anyway since the sponsors and venues are all stopping in their tracks.”
Fellow former 3Style World Champion Hedspin adds, “I’ve been touring Asia at least two-to-three times a year for almost a decade now. The only people I’ve noticed that are affected are my DJ/promoter friends in Mainland China and Hong Kong. A lot of them have taken a hit financially because a lot of the nightclubs have temporarily stopped operating, and the general public is just staying home.”
Regarding the spread of coronavirus into Europe, Hedspin is concerned about that marketplace too. “Switzerland just got a notice from the government that all events with more than 1000 people present will have to be canceled or delayed until further notice. This announcement will also affect the European tour dates I had lined up.”
In a recent Twitter post, DJ/producer Dani Deahl summed up the thoughts of many artists:
Musicians make the bulk of their income from touring.
Cancelled festivals and shows bc of Coronavirus will be big financial losses for indie artists this year.
Please consider buying a piece of merch to support your favorite indie act(s) and help art thrive. ❤️
— Dani Deahl (@danideahl) March 6, 2020
When asked about developing other revenue streams in coronavirus’ wake, DJ/producer Spryte says, “Luckily, I have multiple revenue streams outside of tour DJing. However, if this weren’t the case, I would probably look into more local gigs or work with local venues to provide their music in some manner. Everything going on right now is very similar to what happened with the swine flu back in 2009. I try to stay optimistic that my travel schedule won’t be affected much, but I do think everyone should be asking themselves this question just in case.”
Three months in, the concern about coronavirus’ impact are possibly overstated but not without merit. DJ Scene has his own tips for staying healthy while traveling. “I’ve been carrying disinfectant wipes in my backpack for many years. I always wipe down tray tables, armrests, seatbelts, headrests, and walls if I have a window seat. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve given wipes to other people when they comment, ‘that’s a good idea.'”
When asked about a solution for fans of live sets, he offered a simple solution. “I think it’s a great time to dive into DJ mixes. Whether it’s audio or video, people can enjoy them on-demand while working out, driving, cleaning their house, etc. There are tons of new and classic content to explore. Boiler Room sets are a killer example.”
Ultimately, when thinking about this, or any terrifying situation, the idea that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure becomes relevant. Four Color Zack instead opted to quote Neil McCauley, a career criminal portrayed by Robert DeNiro in the 1995 film, Heat. “Don’t let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner. Always have an exit strategy.”