Pandemic 2020 – Covid19’s Impact on Audio Industry & Lessons

The effect of the COVID 19 crisis on the Audio Industry and what we can learn from it

I thought I’d take some time out to write about Covid19’s Impact on the Audio Industry. I will try to talk from various points of views, taking from the multiple discussions I have had with my peers and friends in this industry.  This is an important aspect that newer/budding engineers should also look into and be informed about, moving forward, in terms of how their employment market will be in a year or so. Let’s talk about how this affects different sections of the Audio Industry.

Performing Musicians:

Musicians are the ones who have taken the worst hit from this crisis in this field, since almost all public gatherings have come to halt and so have live performances/shows etc.  Live performance has been the biggest source of revenue for almost all the musicians that I know/have worked/interacted with. It’s always been a challenge for Musicians to diversify their income, but after this crisis a lot of them aren’t really left with too many options and have started looking at other avenues for income. 

Most of the musicians have now started training and mentoring full time now. I see this as a great shift since these musicians are now influencing the newer generation of musicians which lacked any form of decent music education up until now. (Now that these performers are free and have the bandwidth to train)

I am also seeing a lot of Musicians creating simple but powerful content and realising that it doesn’t take much to stay connected with your followers. The fact is, it is very expensive for musicians to create quality content (Audio and Video), but while they are engaged in putting out an album or an EP every couple of years, they can still create simple but meaningful content to stay relevant and grow their fanbase.

Audio Engineers/Studio Engineers:

Since most of the audio engineers depend on either musicians or content creators for jobs/projects we have naturally seen a decline in the demand for engineers currently. As musicians are finding it hard to generate revenue to create content they in turn aren’t employing audio engineers. The same stands true for Location as well as Film Sound Engineers. Since most shoots have been postponed indefinitely, a lot of engineers are finding themselves out of jobs.

But the story isn’t as grim, although the demand has lowered from these two avenues, the engineers I’ve interacted with have explored and found newer ways of generating revenue with their skillset.

Some of my colleagues have used the time to brush up and learn new skills like working with Audio in VR and are looking at leveraging these skills in projects not just india but beyond.  Some Audio Engineers are now looking at training corporates and other mainstream industries (Which of course deal with Audio) to train them in basics of Audio and how to use DAW’s etc. This crisis has also ironically brought people from two far out locations closer, using technologies like Zoom conferencing, remote management and Audio Movers people are now executing big projects from the comfort of their homes. In fact I know of a project where an entire film was dubbed sitting at home at your desk, recording the Artist remotely.

We at Gray Spark Audio also have worked with various clients in Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and the US etc and executed projects with great efficiency. I have had clients who thought it was impossible to work over the internet now being converted into clients who only want to work over the internet.

Music Producers/Arrangers

Again like I described previously. Music producers rely primarily on musicians for their revenue. With musicians making just enough to power through this crisis, a lot of them are finding it hard to allocate resources to creating more content and hiring their Producers, engineers, etc. This might be the case, but this pandemic has also brought forward a new wave of enthusiast/budding musicians who wanted to take music up as a career but never had a chance or the time to do so.

Music Producers are seeing a lot of new projects in this domain and the demand for them doesn’t seem to have reduced in this pandemic. We personally have executed and interacted with multiple budding and enthusiasts who have created newer music, you would be surprised how much beautiful music has been created over the past few months and the amount of satisfaction and happiness it has provided the clients. We are always grateful to be a part of this process, something that we wake up every day and get to work for.

This pandemic has taught us a few key things some of which I have highlighted above, but beyond all of this it has also taught us to be resilient and show strength even in such bleak times. We are all a small community of Musicians, Producers, Engineers, Entrepreneurs etc doing our best to mitigate any loss during this time and stay afloat. Lend a helping hand to anyone around you who might be struggling in this time and lets all of us come out of this crisis a stronger and more cohesive group of professionals.