It’s August 16, 1977. An assistant rushes into Hollywood agent Sue Menger’s office saying “Elvis is dead!” Responds Ms. Mengers, “Good career move.”
In a twisted way, this symbolizes the effect the pandemic will have on the small-scale acoustic music scene. A number of places and people will simply disappear. Then again, maybe a house cleaning was in order. Too many bars masquerading as music venues clogged the scene. Too many music stores, restaurants or other retail spaces turned themselves into non-profits, pretending they were educational centers, thus drawing funds and attention away from the true long-term organizations. Sending beat-up instruments into a city school became as popular a badge of honor as saving whales. Youtube made every hack a celebrity.
Don’t shed tears for the big stars in the industry; Taylor Swift and all that level will be just fine. If anything, they get a well-deserved vacation and break from the road. The large amphitheaters and talent agencies will also survive; there’s just too much money out there sitting in bank accounts. In a year or two when it all settles down, it’ll be all systems go. But what of the smaller niche acts, those that fall into the Americana, Bluegrass, Celtic and other miscellaneous categories? It’s mixed bag, but for those starting out, the timing might just be perfect.