Words by Dylan Bryant
The pandemic has ripped through our livelihoods and impacted the music industry in a way no one could have imagined. With venues closed, festivals cancelled, album releases delayed and gigs only something to dream about, it’s been harder than ever for new artists and bands to break through the noise and establish themselves in the music industry.
But with the vaccine rollout, there is now finally some light at the end of the tunnel. But what does this mean for new artists in 2021?
During the rollercoaster of 2020, one thing that became clear is how much we need music in our lives. Online performances provided us with entertainment to fill the boredom of lockdown, the announcements of new releases gave us the excitement that we needed, and emerging new artists gave us something new and fresh to fill the groundhog days that the pandemic was serving up. I for one will never turn down a spontaneous mid-week gig again.
Besides streamed concerts, socially distanced gigs, and online performances, live music was pretty much out of the question for the never-ending storm that was 2020. Perhaps, if you’re an avid gig goer, you usually discover new talent in the support acts that are so vital for these artists to get their music out there. But with exposure limited, these musicians are struggling to be heard.
Whilst more established acts, signed to major labels were able to adapt with big budget marketing, polished productions on virtual shows and a powerful social media presence, independent artists haven’t had the same support.
I spoke to Kiss FM Breakfast Producer and new music fanatic Jodie about how she thinks the pandemic has affected the route to stardom for up and coming artists.
Perhaps you found comfort in up and coming Kamal’s somewhat relatable single ‘Homebody,’ or found escape in Avenue Beat’s ‘F2020.’ Either way, I know like many others, I have been scrolling through my Spotify discover weekly for music from those musicians that are the stars of the future. Everyone loves to be first on the bandwagon, right?
“The pandemic has been a major obstacle for new artists in breaking through. In the past live shows have been the main tool in growing a fan base, and unfortunately, they haven’t been able to do this. I really feel for them with the lack of exposure they are receiving. However, there are definitely silver linings to what has been such a challenging year. Personally, I think it has helped new artists to become savvier on social media and connect with their fans in a whole new way. I also think, the new music we are hearing is better than ever due to the time these artists have to focus on the material they are working on.”
“The music industry has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic. The advice I’d give to new artists at the moment is to keep going! Don’t wait too long with holding back releases. It’s vital to keep your name fresh and keep the ball rolling.’
I also spoke to up and coming band Chaos In The Tea House about what it’s been like establishing themselves during a global pandemic. The band have already gained traction from BBC Introducing and have racked up 300,000 streams on Spotify alone.
“We’ve had to improvise, working off each other’s recordings and having meetings over zoom. We just want to stay positive and make the most of the situation we’re all in. Social media has been so important for us with staying fresh and pushing out new content. We set up an Instagram series called ‘Tea House Tuesdays’ as a way to spread positivity and keep our fans engaged. We’ve used the time to create new ideas, keep fans interested and there’s lots of exciting things to come from us!”
In the absence of the conventional milestones for new artists, they have had to adapt their plans and find innovative ways to share their music. The pandemic has significantly impacted the music industry, but one thing that remains true, is the excitement and happiness new music gives us. Go and support new bands in whatever way possible, stream, share or even buy tickets to post-lockdown shows! And in the words of Britpop legends D: Ream ‘Things Can Only Get Better’.