With movie premieres and concerts put on hold, the entertainment industry is facing strange and uncertain times. As an industry that thrives off of connections and gatherings that range from Broadway productions to film sets, what will happen to the world of entertainment as a world pandemic keeps people apart?
The entertainment industry is one of many industries taking a big hit during the COVID-19 lockdown. The music industry is being heavily affected by the cancellation or rescheduling of major festivals and concerts. Because large crowds are the main threat of contagion, many concerts and festivals have been paused for the foreseeable future. Although it is hard to accept you may not see your favourite artist this summer, what is more important is flattening the curve.
The last decade has been the golden age for the music industry, says Andy Gensler, executive editor of Pollstar, a research publication that covers the concert industry. With the sudden loss of concert revenue, the industry could go down by $9 billion if the situation continues this way. These numbers show the grim impact that this virus is taking on the music industry, and ultimately the artists. Performing, doing press, and even recording music can be difficult during this time.
Live events are what keep the music industry running and what accumulates the most money from spectators. Not being able to have these events is going to be a huge drawback for the industry. Album releases will also take a hit as there is no way for them to achieve the same promotional outlets as they would have in the past. Many artists are doing their best to self-advertise by using social media or through their labels, but with so many musicians being able to release music on the same day, it can overwhelm fans. There can be no in-person interviews or events that fans crave to see and attend. However, a lot of artists are doing their best to stay connected to their fans as much as possible by live-tweeting or hosting Instagram Lives.
The film industry is also facing similar problems. While some countries are loosening restrictions and resuming production, there are still many “what if’s” when it comes to the best practices of safely getting back to work. Australian soap opera Neighbours has been given the green light to resume production but with some exceptions. Chris Oliver-Taylor, chief executive of the show told ABC News that social distancing will be enforced and there will be no more than 100 people in an area of filming per day. Special camera angles will be used to make characters appear closer together and no intimate scenes will be filmed. There will also be a nurse on set.
With these new rules put in place to keep all members of cast and crew safe, it has resulted in many Hollywood movies stopping the release of major films. The fifth James Bond movie, No Time to Die, starring Daniel Craig, was set to release this year but is expected to be delayed as movie theatres stay closed.
This lends the question, how will viewing films for the Oscars work? Usually, films need to have been shown in a cinema in Los Angeles County at least three times a day for seven consecutive days. Therefore, next year’s Oscars will allow for streamed films to be eligible for the Best Picture category.
In Canada, an estimated $2.5 billion could be lost from the shutdown of production and will impact more than 172, 000 jobs, says the Canadian Media Producers Association. On the other hand, streaming services like Netflix have doubled its target subscribers within the first quarter of 2020 and it can be assumed that the number will only go up as social-distancing continues.
So where does the entertainment industry go from here? While each industry figures out their plans for reopening production, there is hope in seeing that many of our technology platforms will get us through this time. Different companies are pitching Pay-Per-View or Livestream concerts. This obviously will not feel the same as physically going to see a performance, but it is a start. For the TV world, you can keep up with your favourite talk shows as they record live from their homes or continue watching your most beloved movies until theatres reopen once again.
We are all dealing with such unprecedented times and feeling unsure of what comes next when the world gets back to “normal.” Hopefully–in due time, we will continue to see the entertainment industry flourish.
Communications student from Toronto, Ontario. A music lover, bookworm, and pop culture fanatic. Passionate about all things entertainment, sports, beauty, and fashion.