Will the Entertainment Industry Bounce Back after COVID-19?
In Spring last year when the novel coronavirus-induced constraints were in place for longer and longer, it became apparent that the upcoming summer season was not going to be like before. In the majority of the globe, summer is the peak season for travel, sports, amusement parks, and entertainment.
Much-anticipated movies that were slated to be released last year between spring and summer were postponed. The most well-known of these cancellations was Marvel’s Black Widow starring Scarlett Johansson, which was touted to be the first biggest box office hit of the year, which of course didn’t happen.
The music scene didn’t fare any better. Concert festivals like Coachella that typically bring in droves of wild crowds were no match for the pandemic either. With an exciting lineup across all musical genres that included Rage Against the Machine, Calvin Harris, Savage 21, Megan Thee Stallion, Lana del Ray, and Charlie XCX, fans who were ready to rock were utterly disappointed, to say the least.
The sports industry also took a beating from the restrictions brought on by the pandemic. Major League Baseball, which was forced to run a shortened season over the summer and fall, reported $8.3 billion in debt.
All of these cancellations also amounted to an unprecedented amount of job losses as a large number of people rely on these seasonal gigs to pay their bills and put food on the table. But now that vaccinations for the virus have started on a global scale, does this mean that this year we’ll have a normal summer for the entertainment industry?
Let’s hear from the experts
Dr. Anthony Fauci, an epidemiologist who’s become somewhat of a staple figure since the pandemic started, thinks that things can start changing as soon as late spring, with cases of infection decreasing significantly as by that time enough people have been vaccinated to reach herd immunity. But it would be too optimistic to hope that we are back to normal by that time. It will take months to reach that stage.
Face the music
Even when the live music scene gets back on its feet, experts believe that health and safety protocols will still be in place. Some even predict that attendees may even be required to provide proof of vaccination, although this is of course a long shot.
For concert organizers, the biggest worry is that the throngs of music artists who didn’t get a chance to go onstage last year will all be competing with each other to book venues, and even weekdays will be crowded. Nevertheless, big-name artists won’t find it hard to reserve venues and find an eager audience.
Sadly, that can’t be said for independent music artists who have relied on the smaller venues to reach out to their audience. In fact, the Toronto Star reported that Canada’s independent music scene, from the sound recording industry to the publishing sectors, has suffered a devastated loss of $233 million in 2020, a 41 percent drop from the previous year. Even sadder news is that while established music artists may only need a few months to recover, independent artists would need at least three years to gain back what they’ve lost.
Get ready with your popcorn
Despite the exponential growth of streaming services like Netflix and HBO Max, insiders are still hopeful that movie theatres are unlikely to disappear completely from the entertainment landscape. Patrick Corcoran, vice president and chief communications officer for the National Association of Theater Owners (NATO), believes that once cinemas are allowed to open once again, people may need time to be comfortable to go back, but they are going back for sure. The pull to see a movie on the big screen is hard to deny.
Moviegoers will definitely see big changes though. Early this year, Cineplex, Canada’s largest chain of cinemas, announced that it has ended its partnership with Timeplay, the movie trivia app that allows film buffs to play before flicks start so they can get bonus SCENE points. The company has a long road ahead of it though as it continues to face one struggle after another.
When it comes to the entertainment industry post-COVID, there’s still nothing definite. However, we can all be hopeful that positive changes may come. As Dave Grohl wrote for the Atlantic, “But together, we are instruments in a sonic cathedral, one that we build together night after night. And one that we will surely build again.”