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MAYBE, JUST MAYBE:
SHUTDOWN TAKEAWAYS

Things are different these days, but we’re figuring it out.

If someone had told me last year at this time that the pandemic shutdown was going to… 

  1. Increase the sale and valuation of music significantly
  2. Send profits soaring, even as superstar album releases slowed
  3. Shutter the concert business while increasing the book value of Live Nation multifold
  4. And see a great many of us employed and thriving

…I would surely have asked that person to let me hit the crack pipe when it came back around.

Yet every freakishly unexpected scenario listed above has come to pass. Our business is thriving and growing—and anticipating a significant return to normalcy in the coming months.

That new “new normal” should bring about a greater appreciation of our art. Most immediately, an audience desperate for live entertainment and communal experience will drive a stratospheric comeback, possibly later this year and definitely next.

But what we’re also seeing, in the macro, is that the industry’s long trek through the wilderness ultimately led to the promised land; the Internet revolution that once devalued music and nearly broke the recorded-music biz has brought us, at last, to a hopeful new place where valuation is zooming north and opportunity abounds.

Just imagine if the pandemic had happened 15 or 20 years ago; with the retail stores we depended on closed, we’d have been cut off entirely from our consumer base. Most companies would have had to downsize radically and hold on for dear life. It would have been game over.

But because a digital-entertainment infrastructure was firmly in place, we not only survived but grew as housebound adults joined younger demos in the streaming experience.

Now we face a known unknown. Antsy though we may be for the world to reopen, we see hope on the horizon. Our children will begin school again shortly. Our days will start to get less repetitive. Probably by summer and definitely by fall, we will go out more. Entertainment venues will open and pent-up demand will spill out everywhere.

We’ve learned to weather the pandemic, emotionally and financially, as best we can. We now have political leadership that’s working earnestly to vaccinate and stimulate. Things are slowly getting better, and the speed of our return—to whatever the new “new normal” will be—has accelerated.

All parts of the business we love will be revived. We will have new music from our greatest stars and new young voices to explain our strange new world to us. And we will hear those voices together, in tiny clubs, in amphitheaters and ultimately, in arenas and stadiums.

Stay strong, everyone. Against all odds, we’re finding our way through this. Pass the pipe.

Pictured: Just prior to a recent tourney at Riviera, ultimate golf stan Rob Light forces legendary links champ Rory McIlroy to hold up a sign greeting the author of this story. On the other side of the paper, Rory desperately scrawled the words "send help." 

 

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