Virus has impact on musicians

By Simone Keane | posted on March 28, 2020

THE current COVID-19 restrictions have forced musicians to cancel all gigs which has threatened their livelihood.

From festivals to pub shows to weddings, parties – anything, musicians now face the prospect of not receiving any income for at least the next few months.

But there are ways in which the public can help, from buying Australian music, hanging on to tickets for rescheduled dates and even messaging support for musicians and your favourite venues.

Here, Albany musician Simone Keane discusses the impact COVID-19 is having locally on the entertainment scene.

I AM a muso based in Albany and all my gigs have been cancelled since the COVID-19 outbreak.

Wedding work has been put on hold because couples are unsure when we’re all going to come out the other side of this pandemic.

I was very much looking forward to all these gigs, not only for financial reasons but for social reasons, especially the Albany International Folk ‘n Shanty Festival which was to take place over Easter.

Playing music for the public gives me a sense of purpose and motivation.

I’m already missing the gigs I do with violinist Ellie Honeybone.

Our upcoming gig on March 29 was cancelled due to the very necessary social distancing rule.

Ellie and I had just started writing some new material together and practising some traditional Celtic pieces.

We were flourishing.

Gigging is my social outlet.

I don’t go out much to socialise, so playing music for people and performing with other musicians is my way of connecting with my community.

Luckily I decided to release another album because at least I have my latest music available online, provided people actually purchase it rather than just going to Spotify.

Independent musicians don’t make any money from Spotify.

I rely on Bandcamp and CD Baby.

Wild Thingz is my fourth album.

The title track is all about finding a hilltop to sit on and write some songs where wild animals cheer me on.

That’s about where I’m at with the COVID-19 crisis – no human audiences.

I have an earlier album called Burning that has two WAM Song of the Y ear winning tracks on it.

There’s also a very unique album called Whale Breathing, a collaboration with poet Giles Watson which is a Sea Shepherd fundraiser album – all songs are about the ocean.

There’s a very recent single available that my father Colin wrote and which I perform, called Man on the Pavement.

He showed me this song last Christmas and asked if I could do something with it.

I took it into Mick Crannage’s Albany studio and he produced it beautifully.

It’s currently getting airplay around Australia on country music radio programs.

RTRFM has been very supportive, playing a number of songs off my Wild Thingz album.

I know it’s easier for people to just go to Spotify and download music but Spotify make the money.

I’m not sure most people are aware of this.

Independent musicians submit their music to Spotify to try and get it out there, but until you get thousands of plays, musos don’t make a cent from it.

That’s why my latest album is only available in full on other platforms for now.

It would be great if the money I have lost because of cancelled gigs could be made up for.

Hard copies are available at Paperbark Merchants.

If folks are self-isolating, my albums can be purchased from the following links:

Big shout out to all the musicians doing it tough and to the venues and festival teams who support us, we’ll see you on the other side of COVID-19.