The Music Industry during the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Effects on Music Industry Professionals' Work and Their Use of the Digital Sphere

Mara Diana Deuschle & Lauri Jouka Ilmari Arjas

Student thesis: Master thesis


As the COVID-19 pandemic rages worldwide, the world economy and most industries are suffering the consequences of the restrictions implemented by governments. These restrictions have made it nearly impossible for artists to perform live. Thus, the cultural industries and especially the music
industry have had to endure significant losses during this period of time. Throughout the year, a multitude of reports from government facilities and trade unions have been published. While they are predominantly quantitative studies focusing on the economic effects and providing valuable insights on the macro-scale of the music industry, they fail to include the human element and understand how music industry professionals have experienced this period. Therefore, this qualitative research contributes to the discussion by answering how the pandemic has affected music industry professionals'
work processes and how they have expanded their use of the digital sphere to generate revenues. To carry out this research, six interviews have been conducted with European professionals based in Finland, Switzerland, and the UK. To gain a broad overview, all the interviewees follow different careers connected to the music industry.
The research finds that all surveyed music professionals have felt an impact on their work ever since the pandemic started. Companies that had to rely on government support during this time were focusing their time on exchanging with politicians. Moreover, professionals whose work is directly connected to the live sector have experienced an increase in workload at the beginning of the pandemic because concerts, festivals, and tours had to be cancelled or postponed. Reorganizing planned events takes time and energy; however, it creates no additional revenue. Companies not operating in the live
sector have been able to further work on contracts that were agreed upon before the pandemic. Additionally, strategically changing the company's client base even led to economic growth throughout the year. Finally, the digital sphere has not been utilized to the extent that we had predicted. Although technology has experienced a significant push forward, it should be noted that legislation around live streaming and its taxation takes longer to be implemented. This is a hindrance, especially when revenues should be made in the digital sphere during this time of social distancing.
Further research should be conducted during and after the pandemic. It is necessary to give a holistic view of the situation the music industry is undergoing. Only when the effects of the pandemic can be understood fully, precautions for future crises can be worked out, and a conversation about the future of the industry can be held.

EducationsMSocSc in Management of Creative Business Processes , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2021
Number of pages81
SupervisorsTore Kristensen