What month is it? Day? I’m sure of the year and I’m sure that 2020 will be remembered as ‘The Year That Time Didn’t Matter’, but everything else seems to have been blended into a strange smoothie, equal parts depression, anxiety, Zoom fatigue and trepidation of whatever may come next. Remember Murder Hornets? Ahhh, the good old days.
The sounds of revolution and political upheaval are deafening as we do our best to navigate the muddy waters of Covid. Smoke makes the air unbreathable as fires rage across the west. Clashes between police and protesters grow increasingly more violent, activists screaming BLACK LIVES MATTER until their throat is raw and stinging from the sheer volume, the passion and of course, the tear gas.
It seems the entire world has been grabbed by the ankles, turned upside-down and, in a cartoonish display of violence, shook until everything that mattered 12 months ago is dumped into a heap of discarded plans and dreams.
While all are struggling to move through these massive chasms, the music community has been left in complete shambles. Touring has been brought to a crippling standstill, leaving artists and venues helpless, struggling to see beyond the devastation of lost income, peering into the hazy future for a glimpse of light. When will we get back to normal? Will it ever be normal again?
The landscape of our industry is rapidly changing, venues are closing their doors forever, production companies are struggling to stay afloat, record labels are facing more scrutiny as artists are questioning the entire model, and the musicians? Well, the musicians seem to be taking control. From live streams to pop up shows, the DIY movement in our industry has taken hold, with creatives finding unique ways to market themselves and their music. Artist centric record labels are springing up, equity movements are taking root in music organizations, and, perhaps most importantly, the community is involved: Rallying around one another, supporting and lifting up their fellow creatives.
The silver lining exists, even if, at times, it doesn’t seem as shiny as it could be. But isn’t that our nature? Humanity’s way is to stubbornly survive, even if everything around us is strongly suggesting we do otherwise. The phoenix-like mentality of our people is what will propel musicians into the next phase, whatever that may look like. We push on, get in where we fit in, and look toward the future to see what it might bring.
Affordable gear acquisition for venues and future touring acts is an exciting prospect for those who hope to make it out on the other side, to get back out on the open road, to open their doors for music and gatherings once again. In that vein, I was recently reacquainted with a practice that I have not really ever paid attention to outside of the quick-talking caricatures of auctioneers in old movies.
Auctions. I cannot stress this enough. Get. Into. Auctions.
Cases? Stage lights? Stands? Mixers? Amps? Computer monitors? Need that? You can find it. That and a lot more.
Directing resources to artists is important, especially for those of us in the DIY production game.
J. Stout Auctions is running a gear centric auction until October 13th. If any of this speaks to you, jump on it. This is an opportunity to work within your financial limits to build out your studios, your streaming services, your venues.
Good luck out there. Keep your heads up and your minds moving.