The Onstage Music Community Forum: Promotion in the COVID-19 World with James Moore

By on April 13, 2020

Welcome to the Onstage Music Community Forum

One thing for certain concerning the COVID-19 pandemic is that life and our collective lifestyle won’t be getting back to normal anytime soon. From lack of employment, to lack of services, to lack of answers, there’s no adjusting to this new normal because we don’t know what the new normal will ultimately become. At Onstage, we are acutely aware of the impact the pandemic is having on the artistic and music communities.

So what can we do? Well, we can listen and share. Share your fears, your hopes, your ideas, your soul. This is our, or rather, your forum to voice all of it. From the artists to the roadies to the lighting and catering crews, to the promoters and managers, venue owners, poster designers and music stores…tell us what’s happening.

You never know where the next great idea may come from, so let’s have a conversation about it all. If you know of organizations that might assist, let us know. If you’re terrified you won’t make it through the day, week, or month…reach out. We are a big community, we can do this.

Send your story, thoughts, ideas to kathg@onstagemagazine.com and include your social sites if you have any, current project links, photos, etc. We can promote as well as listen.

Today’s post comes via Canadian music publicist James Moore, CEO of the PR and marketing firm Independent Music Promotions Inc., whose book “Your Band is a Virus,” is a virtual play-by-play manual on how to promote yourself or your band.

Everyone has taken a hit. Just getting that out of the way. Some are begging right now, some are not, but everyone has taken a hit. I’m a typical small business owner, and just like tens of thousands of others, my business website was hacked during this COVID outbreak. Re-instating the site, working with my hosting company and online security team, took around 10 days, roughly 3-4 x longer than it normally would have taken if it weren’t for this outbreak, not to mention the expense. Everyone is getting attacked and everyone is overwhelmed trying to sort it all out remotely. That’s what I’m told by the stressed out workers. 

Looking at the positive, I’ve spoken to so many online security folks over the past few weeks I should be an honorary expert by now. I feel more resilient now after dealing with a double whammy like this. Opportunists are always around and at-the-ready. So, if you’re feeling shell shocked by this whole situation, keep your plugins, your php, your site templates 100 % up-to-date, because it could be worse. It’s good to have a platform and it requires vigilant protection.

Ok, so what the hell do we do now? Where are the positives?

Innovate and evolve, I think. Those who had trouble connecting with their base online previously may not have any better luck now. This is not the corona virus’s fault. Those who can get into the communal spirit and give of themselves in interesting and entertaining ways may find ways to thrive. 

Perhaps it’s time to jump further into live streaming. Yeah, I know it seems everyone with an acoustic guitar is doing it…but make it your own. Do you. Share something unique from your surroundings. Share your personality. Be real. 

There are ways to distribute your live streams to new platforms beyond just Facebook and Instagram. Services like Reshare are available for those who’d like to explore this option.

For the moment, live music is done and it’s a massive, gaping loss. But this is our current world, and for now, the stage is online. We need to react to this fact and put our natural focus on productivity.

I think that music blogs, magazines and indie news sources can do much more to improve the situation and help musicians. For example, you’ve probably noticed that a good percentage of the blogs who typically only cover festival announcements are now covering their cancellations. Day after day, they’re informing us that X festival and X festival are now cancelled. Yeah, we know guys. If they even bothered to provide any actual coverage for the artists and bands, such as reviewing their albums or turning their cancellation posts into artist round up/introduction articles, that would be productive. Much better than constant bad news. 

Which brings me to the underlying fact that music perseveres. Besides some major artists who are delaying album releases due to COVID19 (Fiona Apple is a shining example of a major artist NOT delaying her new album, and she should be congratulated for her eternal coolness), artists are still very much releasing vital new music. The way these albums are promoted is very similar to before, although of course missing the live element, and hopefully incorporating some new and novel strategies.

The artists I like to work with at I.M.P are often on the darker, introspective, experimental and left-field side of the coin. Some of them are taking it upon themselves to dig deep during this time and showcase new music in a more intimate setting. 

Alternative singer songwriter Delyn Grey has documented her process of putting together a new quarantine EP through a series of live video performances and humorous, relate-able social media posts.

Eclectic folk artist Patrick Ames is taking people on a little trip to California wine country with his “Live in the Vineyard” series. You feel as if Patrick is inviting you into his home, and therein lies the charm (and opportunity) of music during COVID19. 

These kinds of authentic performances are uplifting and certainly do connect, regardless of us all being barricaded behind our devices. 

Stay happy. Stay creative. Stay safe!

S. James Moore

Post by Kath Galasso @KatsTheory

Independent Music Promotions Social:

Onstage Music Community Forum Part 1: Tokyo Rosenthal

Onstage Music Community Forum Part 2: Cass Clayton

Onstage Music Community Forum Part 3: Maria Devigili

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