The music industry is in crisis as suspension of concerts and other events is prolonged due to COVID-19. The sense of crisis is pervasive within the industry among musicians, entertainment companies and even equipment providers.
According to an industry insider on Tuesday, a 20-year-old mid-sized sound system company recently reported cessation of business. More than 60 percent of sound system and lighting equipment companies are on the brink of shutting down as well. Industry insiders say that a discussion to improve blind spots of the current support system for fine arts is urgently needed.
The nation’s cultural organizations and various foundations have provided emergency support funds and assistance after the coronavirus triggered a crisis, but some argue that they did not help the popular music industry. An indie label expert said checking announcement boards of various cultural foundations and music centers and filing applications were the first thing he does after arriving to work. He also said support funds were usually provided to classical music sector even though he sent out applications to local cultural foundations which he has no connections with. Indie musicians say that they are not eligible for relief funds as it is hard to provide proof of their activities as an artist due to cancellation of concerts.
Many cast doubts on the effectiveness of online concerts held by the government and cultural foundations. Some government agencies created a YouTube channel only after the virus broke out and not many people know about it. A label business insider who asked to remain anonymous said, “Appearing in online concerts for 500,000 to one million won or even without compensation makes me feel like I was used to promote COVID-19 campaigns.”