The coronavirus pandemic has forced several industries to make major changes in order to remain profitable, including music. With health concerns being prioritized, tours, festivals, and similar events have come to an abrupt halt. Established industry members could have the ability to maintain financial security and consistent exposure, but how are upcoming artists sustaining their influence?
Justice Plant of Bronx, NY, is a recent arrival in the industry, having obtained his first writing credits with Sony and Universal at 18 years old. The now 20-year-old has spawned a rap career, defining his style as “New Age Hip Hop.”
“It’s a style that closely blends singing and rapping,” says Plant. “808 bass heavy instrumentals with hip-hop flow and singing like melodies.”
Aside from income, Plant values the connection he builds with his fans, much of which is created in his live performances. Without this advantage, he has placed more emphasis on his online presence. Large scale promoters like AEG and Live Nation cancelled shows indefinitely in early 2020, due to the high risk and government mandates.
“I can no longer collect revenue from the shows due to social distancing rules,” Plant shares. “I have just been focusing solely on music videos because I realize that is the easiest way to engage your fan base and following due to social distancing.”
Without touring, focus is likely to be on other income and exposure opportunities. Sean Taylor, co-founder of ContraBrand Agency, says that artists should invest in monetizing their online presence. Taylor, of Decatur, GA and known on Youtube as “Brandman Sean,” considers himself a “Music Marketing Maverick”, providing tips and services to artists.
“They need to get used to selling merch and experiences online,” says Taylor. “The industry has been avoiding it for years because there was little incentive to abandon the monetization structures they had already established.”
As Covid-19 continues to reshape industry routine, Plant reminds fans to remain hopeful for future shows despite the present difficulties. He prioritizes his fans inclusion, wanting to make events accessible for all and not just some.
“That’s where the family comes together,” says Plant. “We mosh pit together, crowd surf together, but I ask them to hang tight as this all blows over and we will reunite once again.”
Athena Hamilton is a journalism major attending South Carolina State University, having completed coursework in several subjects of journalism. She delivers a moving story, often presented in her feature, news, and ghost writing services. A well versed musician, Athena also holds an extensive background in percussion performance and is a member of Tau Beta Sigma National Honorary Band Sorority Inc. Her imaginative nature binds her love of words to her relentless effort of inspiring others through every piece.