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Why COVID-19 Will Change You and Your Audience

The live entertainment industry, along with many other industries, is collapsing during this pandemic. It is leaving many unemployed, unsure, and unsettled. In a country as big as India, with a population of 1.3 billion people, 60 million lives have been affected entirely through the entertainment industry. This means that 1 out of 20 people have been hit economically based solely on the live entertainment market. But this is not just a problem for India, it is a global issue. For example, in the UK, 94% of musicians work freelance which means that their income is fixed on performing live and with all events cancelled…they are out of a job and if they are out of a job, so are many others. 

What does this mean for organizations?

Around the world, both small and big venues, stadiums, and theatres have been left vacant since the crisis hit. Many might think that when more well-known events are cancelled through larger organizations, that they might be able to recover, however, the impact on the jobs that surround the industry is fatal. For example, the cancellation of Coachella, a popular 2-weekend music festival with an average of 99,000 people attending each day, affects a huge portion of the live entertainment industry. Not only will it impact the people who were planning to work the event, like security, caterers, tech crews, and so on, but large music festivals also help to bring in tourists from all over, generating earnings for local restaurants, hotels, flight companies and so many others. And this doesn’t just apply to big music festivals but to all art and entertainment related events, leaving many unemployed and without an income.

How will the live entertainment industry recover from this crisis?

Regardless of the size of the organization, it will be difficult to find a way to bring workers back after all of the economic loss. Many organizations will want to be able to rehire their employees and stabilize the economy, however, the most important aspect to accomplish is to bring back what creates revenue: the audience. Perhaps things will go right back to normal and business will be booming once again. Maybe the audience will be exactly the same. Maybe the marketing tools will have the same effect as before – but how will you know for sure? 

Learning fast and working smarter…

In these moments, learning fast and adapting to the changes has become more important than ever before. We all need to understand how to market and to whom. In comparison, this situation could be similar to when a new theatre or venue opens; the organization needs to be quick to understand who is coming to the venue, and who is not, that way they can market to their audience in the best way. Both of these situations hold a unique opportunity to change, update, and optimize our tools.

The change that will come…

As this is something we have not encountered before, organizations will return to work unsure what the audiences will be. This is the time to communicate and set up relevant marketing campaigns, however, it will be difficult going into it blindly. If you rely on how things used to be, you’re at risk of missing your audience and you could waste both time and money on communicating to the wrong people. 

Because the audience will potentially be different, the approach may also have to be different. The best solution is to set up tools and processes to ensure that you understand and can track your audience day-to-day. This won’t be an effort that people will be able to do alone so the “time to insight” will be critical in this period. Once you can track your audience and understand what they want and what they need, it will speed up the recovery of the organization, allowing people to return to their jobs and return to the arts. 


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